How often is too much to worm our puppies?
Can worming be done too frequently? And how can we go about it in a more natural way?
We have been taught that the most effective way to control parasites is to routinely administer worming medicine. There are even schedules of the ‘best’ ages to de-worm, beginning at the tender age of 2 weeks. Then we’re advised to treat every 2 weeks until the puppy is 12 weeks old, and every 3 months thereafter. There is usually no mention of testing to see if worming is needed. It’s simply assumed that your puppy has parasites.
Maybe she does have worms. And then again, she might not. In that case, what’s the point of administering unnecessary chemicals ‘just in case’? We’re not advising that you don’t de-worm your dog. However, we are suggesting that there are other, more natural, ways to go about it.
How do we know the best time for worming?
Once we’ve observed a puppy and concluded that he just looks uncomfortable, the first step should be testing. Be sure, rather than simply reaching for the worming treatment. Each puppy or dog is an individual, affected by his own heredity, nutrition and environment. A farm dog has far different surroundings than a city dog. So, which is more likely to have internal parasites? Just as environment varies, so also do the dogs living there. It’s even evident within a single litter. One puppy may be lively and bouncy, while another is more laid back. Is it because of worms? Or just their personalities? The best way to know is to test using a fecal egg count.
Doing a fecal egg count involves analysis of a poo sample to determine the number of parasite eggs per gram (EPG). Discovering whether the EPG is low (under 250), moderate (250-650) or high (over 650) guides how, or even if, the dog needs parasite intervention.
There is a group who asserts, ‘If the animal is a puppy, it has worms.’ To a certain extent, that may be true. The dog/parasite relationship is normal and natural. It’s only when conditions favor excess growth of worms that we need to intervene. And yet, pause to be certain, rather than poking a capsule down a puppy’s throat ‘just to make sure’.
A healthy animal can have parasites (and basically all dogs do) but only develop issues if the dog is very young, very old or immune compromised. Dogs can pick up parasites anywhere, even from just one drink from a puddle after a rain shower. Be aware of the signs of a growing problem, make sure of what the problem really is, and apply controls.
Is worming medicine the only treatment?
Emphatically, No. There are natural, plant-based alternatives that support your dog’s health. Herbs, essential oils, diatomaceous earth, and homeopathic remedies are available. And, knowing the parasite life cycle is very important, to time the treatment to be most effective.
There is a lot to consider when planning to use natural treatments. For one thing, plant-based therapeutics are powerful medicine and must be used with care. Just because a treatment is ‘natural’, doesn’t mean you should use a lot of it. So, do your research or work with an herbalist or holistic vet.
Whichever method you choose, make your focus achieving a healthy balance between your dog and his worms. Believe it or not, internal parasites can actually perform a service to their host. Dr. Henry Lindlahr (one of the founders of the Nature Cure movement) related many patient cases wherein sudden parasite activity was clearly shown to benefit the host. Further, when the parasites’ job was finished, they disappeared as mysteriously as they had appeared. Why? It would seem that parasites perform an internal clean-up service to a diseased host.
Our holistic approach (to almost everything).
Feeding a prey model raw diet has a lot to do with the radiant health of all of our dogs, and our puppies in particular. Our adult dogs enjoy healthy, natural, unprocessed raw meats, eggs (including the shells), fur/feathers, and bones.
For wormers, we use rabbit feet with fur, ground raw pumpkin seeds, grapefruit seed extract, and garlic. These (and everything else in our raw diet) can all be purchased, locally or online, to make it easy for you.
Our puppies are weaned to the exact same diet as their mamas, with all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Nothing is cooked out, or deactivated, and there’s no reason to provide a special diet for them. Everybody is happy, healthy and full of energy.
Check out one of our recent puppy videos and see for yourself!