How Can Deworming Your Puppy Keep Your Children Healthy?

Here's Why Deworming Your Puppy is Important if You Have Children at Home  by Glenn Anderson   |Published 07-27-2022

Being a parent and a pet parent simultaneously can be a wonderful life experience. You see the babies grow up together, learning to love and trust each other.

Growing up with a pup can aid your child's cognitive and emotional development, making them more positive and empathetic.

Having a pup around is particularly helpful for only children. They feel less lonely and become more social and responsible.

a small dog is licking the face of a small child.

Despite all the positives, there are some negatives too. Puppies can bring home parasites and diseases. This is why worming your puppy is essential if you have children at home.

The Importance of Deworming Your Puppy

Did you know that puppies are more infectious than full-grown dogs? Puppies are adorable, and you cannot resist picking them up or petting them. But, they do tend to spread more diseases, which can be hazardous for people with weaker immune systems.

Why is it crucial to deworm your puppy? They carry numerous parasites like tapeworms and roundworms.

These worms grow and breed inside your pup's intestine. Their eggs pass out of the dog through their feces.

Sometimes you can see the worms or their eggs in your dog's feces or stuck to their coats. If you read this article about tapeworm segments, you will be horrified by how people have found traces of worms on their beds. Even if you can't see the worms, it doesn't mean they don't exist.

Can Puppies Give Children Worms?

Pets do expose their owners to many zoonotic diseases. Babies and children still developing immune systems can react differently to these diseases. Some have almost no effect, while others can become seriously ill.

The majority of puppies are born with some worms or get them after birth. Newborn puppies usually have both hookworm and roundworms. They may also be infected with other types of internal parasites including giardia and coccidia.

Even if they aren't born with it, they can acquire it during nursing by accidentally ingesting worm eggs. Within weeks a massive population of parasites starts living in the puppy's system, leading to widespread contamination.

The infection in their intestines due to the parasite is not limited to your puppy's body.

These eggs can be anywhere on your puppy since dogs tend to lick themselves everywhere. The worm eggs spread all over them and can be passed through petting, licking, and any other type of contact.

Puppies don't just have eggs on them; they also populate the areas and objects your child is in contact with.

Common Zoonotic Disease

This list of zoonotic diseases are considered the most common forms of disease that our dogs pass on to us.  Not all of them are worms, but some are:

  • ringworm (caused by fungus Microsporum canis)
  • salmonellosis (bacterium)
  • leptospirosis (called Weil's Disease in People)
  • Lyme disease (bacterium passed by black legged tick)
  • campylobacter infection (bacterium)
  • Giardia infection (intestinal protozoan)
  • cryptosporidium infection
  • roundworms (intestinal worm)
  • hookworms (intestinal worm)
  • tapeworms (intestinal worm)
  • scabies (skin mite)
  • harvest mites (skin mite)
  • rabies (caused by a virus)

What Happens if You Don't Deworm Your Puppy?

Both puppies and humans will suffer the consequences if you don't worm your dog. Worms can cause serious health problems in canines and humans.

What Worms Do to Puppies

If you don't worm your puppy, you risk getting gravely ill. If you don't treat worms, they can damage your puppy's internal organs.

A belly full of worms can make your puppy ill beyond repair. While some worms might give your puppy minor health problems, more severe parasites like heartworm can kill them.

A puppy infected with worms will show signs of illness. If they lose consciousness, there is a high chance that they might not survive. So, it would help if you treated worms before they become deadly to your puppy.

What Worms Can Do to Humans

Puppies will pass these worms to their owners, and young owners are more at risk. Puppies can give children hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and ringworms. While some cause mild health issues, others can cause severe conditions.

OLM:  Ocular Larva Migrans

If your child has ingested worm eggs, they can get a zoonotic infection called Toxocariasis. One kind of Toxocarisis is Ocular Larva Migrans(OLM).

When a human consumes an infected egg, it hatches in the intestine, then continues to wander in the system. If the larvae get trapped in their eyes, it causes severe inflammation. OLM can cause a permanent partial loss of vision.

VLM:  Visceral Larva Migrans

Another type of toxocariasis is called Visceral Larva Migrans. Roundworms cause VLM infection. Children are more susceptible to this infection. If the brain or heart gets infected, it can cause death, but that is rare.

Severe VLM infection symptoms include irritability, itchy skin, shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, abdominal pain, and fever. Possible consequences of VLM in humans are Encephalitis(Brain infection), worsening of eyesight or even blindness, problems with heart rhythm, and difficulty breathing.

Cutaneous Larva Migrans

Hookworm infections can also occur in people when the hookworm larvae pierce the skin and cause red itchy tracks under the skin along with inflammation. Referred to as cutaneous larva migrans, this often occurs when people sit or walk on contaminated soil or sand with bare feet.  This is a problem in children because they like to play in sand, not knowing that it has been contaminated.

There is one type of hookworm that can maneuver into deeper tissues causing more damage to the intestines and other organs. 

Should I Get Rid of My Pup if It Has Worms?

People who have children can get fearful when they see that their puppy has worms. Suspecting that your puppy has worms can be scary, especially when you know how it endangers your children.

However, that doesn't mean you should get rid of the puppy! A lot of dogs end up being abandoned because owners become fearful, and it is crucial not to get scared and make a rash decision.

It would help if you remembered that some dog lovers go to lengths to bring a puppy home. Dog owners who are allergic to dogs end up adopting hypoallergenic dogs like Poodles or Maltese just because they are canine lovers.

If they can deal with their in-built issues, worms are nothing. Growing up with a puppy will positively impact your child's development.

How Do I Know if My Puppy Has Worms?

Puppies can carry a lot of worms in their system. Suppose a puppy harbors more worms than its immune system can handle. In that case, some symptoms will appear and increase as they become more ill.

One common symptom you will notice is a change of appetite. Roundworms might cause a change in feeding habits. This can go either way. Your pup might lose appetite or become too hungry because worms take away their nutrition. This can cause rapid weight loss.

The presence of tapeworms and whipworms can also cause unexplainable weight loss. Puppies are supposed to be energetic, so seeing your pup acting sluggish can be a symptom of worms.

These parasites can cause skin irritations. If you see them very itchy, trying to itch themselves on objects, but they don't have fleas, chances are they have worms. Worms can also give them a dull, dried-out coat. It can also cause hair loss, and you might even see rashes.

More severe symptoms include coughing, bloating, diarrhea and vomiting. Check their vomit and diarrhea, and you might see worms there.

What Should I Do if My Puppy Has Worms?

If you think your puppy has worms, the first thing to do is to confirm it. It would be best if you took your puppy to the vet. Your vet may ask for a fresh sample of feces for testing. Collecting a small amount would be enough.

After your doctor examines and confirms your puppy has worms, they might prescribe deworming medication. This can include an oral dewormer or an injectable one. They might also prescribe topical medicine, which you have to use monthly.

You can also find over-the-counter medication, but it is better not to use any without getting a vet's advice. It can jeopardize your dog's health if you don't get the dosage and frequency right.

Deworming Schedule and Aftermath of Deworming

Your vet can set up the proper deworming schedule for your pup. Make sure you stick to the plan for these medications. The first deworming should occur when your puppy is two to three weeks old. After that, they should be dewormed every two weeks until they are twelve months old.

After twelve weeks, you will need to deworm your pup monthly until it's six months old. You can shift them to the adult deworming schedule once every three months or according to your veterinarian's recommendations

You may find worms in your pup's stool for two to three days after deworming. This can continue for a week if they have a lot of roundworms.  Roundworms look similar to thin pieces of cooked spaghetti.

Tapeworms may appear as tiny segments that look similar to grains of rice.  Sometimes you may also see the entire worm which looks like a string of rice.  They might experience mild side effects like salivation, diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of appetite.  

If your puppy has hookworms or whipworms, you will not likely see any because they are too small.  

Are There Natural Ways to Prevent Worm in Puppies?

There are some natural ways to prevent worms or reduce worms in puppies. While these may not ensure full deworming, they can help prevent worms and keep your puppy healthy.

Fiber is a natural dewormer, which is why some puppy-friendly fruits and vegetables help eliminate worms. Consider adding carrots, papayas, bananas, and apples to their diet.

Adding crushed cloves to your dog's food once a week can help naturally deworm them. Do not give this to a pregnant dog. Turmeric is also a natural dewormer, so you can add it to their food. You can find turmeric-infused dog treats that can help get rid of worms.

Most people know that pumpkin is very healthy for dogs. But did you know that pumpkin seeds can also help them? Pumpkin seeds contain a compound that paralyzes worms, which makes it easier to pass them through poop.

Final Thoughts About Deworming Your Puppy

Deworming your puppy is crucial if you have children. Puppies are more susceptible to worms and can easily pass worms to humans through touch. They can also contaminate areas, exposing your children to harmful parasites.

Skipping out on deworming puts your children and your puppy's life at risk. If you see any symptoms of worms in your puppy, take them to a vet. They will prescribe the right medication and help you fix your deworming schedule.

Author Bio:  Deworming Your Puppy

Glenn Anderson has been a freelance writer for years. A pet enthusiast and a flag-bearer of organic eating, a fitness freak, and obsessed with all things food, plants, and animals. He also loves writing and discussing things that make him happy.

Child and DogDeworming Your Puppy Can Keep Your Children Healthy

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, beagles, English bulldogs, carin terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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