When and how should you deworm your dog or cat?

Fleas, which live in the fur, feed on the animal’s blood; and tapeworms, which reside in your gut, take advantage of the dog’s or cat’s nutrients. They are just some of the parasites, internal and external, that become guests of our companion animals and that affect their health. In some cases, a lot.

In addition, they can transmit diseases to humans or other animals. “Fleas and ticks can transmit infections through their contact with blood. Intestinal parasites, many times, do not give symptoms to dogs, but larvae or eggs can come into contact with people and we could have diseases associated with this contact ”, says Albert Lloret, a veterinarian specializing in internal medicine.

How often does the pet have to be dewormed?

Animals can catch fleas in any season

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Deworming the animal, therefore, is the key to preventing various problems, but how often does it have to be done? Some people think that doing it once in summer and once in spring is already protected. Experts, on the other hand, believe that there is not enough. “In our climate, fleas are no longer a seasonal parasite. We have fleas all year round. Therefore, good flea prevention has to be done throughout the year ”, explains Lloret, who is also a teaching collaborator at the Fundación Hospital Clínico of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

The age and lifestyle of the dog determine how often it needs to be dewormed. “We deworm puppies very often, once a month up to six months, because the mother, with the milk, if she is a carrier, has transmitted parasite larvae”, comments this veterinarian.

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In the adult dog it is different. “It is recommended to do it between three and four times a year on average. It is the most prudent thing to do. It must be done more often if it is about animals that go outside more, such as cats that can eat birds or mice, or dogs that go a lot to the forest. There are also dogs that like to eat the feces of other canids. With a city dog, on the other hand, who lives in an apartment and practically does not go out, you don’t have to do it so often ”, says Lloret.

Pills or pipettes? The great question

And what is the best for deworming: pills or pipettes? Today deworming can be done à la carte. According to this veterinarian, the drugs are “very effective and very safe in mammals.” “They are products that are very toxic for parasites but extremely safe for animals in correct doses,” says Lloret. There are presentations in monthly pills and “despite being a pill, it also has an external deworming effect”. “It is a drug that goes into the blood and when the flea or tick sucks the blood of the animal it dies little by little”, explains the vet.

Animals can be dewormed in various ways

Animals can be dewormed in various ways

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The same products exist in the form of pipettes: “They are applied on top of the animal’s skin in a place that cannot be touched and it also fights internal and external parasites.” Lloret adds that “necklaces and pipettes complement each other”, as well as “necklaces and pills”. There are necklaces that even give, in addition, a “good repellent action against mosquitoes or insects, such as the sandfly, which is the transmitter of leishmaniasis.” “There are no efficacy comparison studies, but all these products are very effective,” says the vet.

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A very common mistake, and totally contraindicated, is to use a product of these intended for a dog for a cat. “Many deworming products have the same name but they come with different presentations and different doses, depending on the weight of the animal. It is important to follow the advice of the veterinarian and the indications of the product, “says Lloret.

“We do not have to give a cat a product that says it is only for dogs, although the same product exists with doses of dogs and cats,” he indicates to prevent frequent errors. “If a pipette is suitable for a four-kilogram dog, it will not be suitable for a four-kilogram cat. We see intoxicated cats because the person has put a collar or a pipette on them that was for dogs. Felines have different susceptibilities,” Lloret points out.

Fleas and ticks in humans

Although fleas will always prefer animals over people, because they have more hair, if the animal has many fleas, the house could become infested and then “we would become the flea’s guests.”

The most common way in which humans get infected with animal parasites is usually this: “A flea can bite us or a tick can end up hooking us. This happens because the dog or the cat approaches us. But I can also go to the mountains and get caught by a tick and get a disease. “


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“The danger of a tick is not exclusive to having a cat or a dog, because they are environmental parasites. Having a dog or cat without fleas or ticks means that we have less risk of being bitten or hooked by one of these parasites”, he assures Lloret.

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Fleas can pass to humans

Fleas can pass to humans

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In the case of intestinal parasites it is different: “The possible contagion of an intestinal parasite is not by having touched a dog or a cat, but by having ingested the excrement, which is not normally done”.

And he adds a warning: “If my dog ​​is not dewormed, I take him for a walk and he poops in a playground or on the street, he may be contaminating the environment through the parasite’s eggs, which can remain infective for months. If the child of someone who does not necessarily have a dog or cat plays on contaminated soil and then puts his hands in his mouth, he could be infected. “


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“Therefore, when we deworm dogs and cats against intestinal parasites, basically what we are doing is a social action and we achieve that the environments are less contaminated. It is the concept of one health, a single health ”, Lloret concludes.

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