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How to Choose the Best Dog Dewormer for Your Furry Friend

If you own a dog, you're likely aware that worms are one of the most prevalent health issues they can experience.

Worms are parasites that reside in the intestines of your dog and depend on the dog's blood and nutrients.

They can cause numerous symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, anemia, and even death.

There are numerous methods to treat and prevent worm infestations in dogs, and using a dog dewormer is among the most effective.

A dog dewormer is a medication that eliminates worms and other internal parasites, restoring the dog's health and well-being.

However, selecting the best dewormer for your dog requires consideration of several factors, such as the type of worms your dog has, its age, weight, breed, health condition, and lifestyle.

It's important to consult with your veterinarian before using any dog dewormer to ensure its safety and suitability for your dog.

This article aims to help you select the most effective dewormer for your dog. We will discuss some of the best products available and provide advice on how to prevent worms in dogs.

By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of how to protect your dog from these annoying parasites.

icon Vet Approved
icon Reviewed & Fact - Checked by

Deborah R. Fletcher (DVM)

Veterinarian

The information provided is current and up-to-date, in line with the latest research conducted in the field of veterinary medicine.

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1. What is Dog Dewormer and How Does It Work?

Border Collie Dog looking at view of river at the mountains

A dewormer for dogs is a medication that eliminates worms and other internal parasites. It can prevent and treat worm-related infections, diarrhea, vomiting, and other health issues.

A broad-spectrum dewormer can treat the four most common intestinal parasites in dogs: roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Fenbendazole is a prevalent component of broad-spectrum dewormers for dogs.

Some dewormers for dogs target tapeworms, which are flatworms that attach to the intestines of dogs. Praziquantel is a prevalent component of tapeworm-specific dewormers for dogs.

Some dog dewormers are oral, meaning they come in pill or chewable tablet form and are administered orally. Others are topical, meaning that you can apply liquids or gels to your dog’s skin.

Common active ingredients found in dog dewormers include:

  • Febantel or fenbendazole, which are used to treat roundworms, hookworms, lungworms, whipworms, and some uncommon species of tapeworms,
  • Ivermectin is a preventative against heartworms that is also effective against hookworms and roundworms.
  • Pyrantel Pamoate, which is effective against roundworms and hookworms in the intestines,
  • Praziquantel is the drug most often used to treat tapeworms.

The following are some examples of dog dewormers, along with their brand names and benefits:

  • Interceptor Plus is a chewable tablet that prevents heartworms and treats roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.
  • Trifexis is an oral parasite preventative that protects against heartworms, treats roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, and also eliminates adult fleas.
  • Drontal Plus is a broad-spectrum medication for the treatment of tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.
  • Advantage Multi for Dogs is a topical parasite preventative that protects against heartworms, treats roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, and also eliminates adult fleas and prevents flea infestations.

2. How to Choose the Best Dog Dewormer for Your Dog

Before administering any dewormer to your dog, it is essential to consult your veterinarian. They can perform a fecal test to determine the type of worms your dog has and which treatment will be most effective.

A fecal test is a simple procedure where your veterinarian examines a stool sample from your dog under a microscope.

This allows them to identify the ova or larvae of the various worms and prescribe the appropriate medication for your dog’s specific condition.

Consider the following factors when selecting a dewormer for your dog:

2.1 Age and weight of your dog: Some dog dewormers are not safe for canines younger than 3 weeks or weighing less than 2 pounds. Before giving any medication to your puppy, always consult the label or your veterinarian.

2.2 Your dog’s weight: The dosage of dog dewormers depends on your companion’s weight. Always weigh your dog before administering medication, and follow the instructions precisely. Both overfeeding and underfeeding can harm your dog’s health.

2.3 Breed of your dog: Certain dog breeds, such as Collies, are more sensitive to dewormer components like ivermectin. Before giving any medication, consult your veterinarian to determine if your dog has any breed-specific health issues or allergies.

2.4 Condition of your dog: Some dewormers are not suitable for pregnant or nursing females or dogs with heartworm, liver, or kidney disease. Always inform your veterinarian of your dog’s medical history and current condition before giving any medication.

2.5 Your dog’s lifestyle: Depending on your dog’s lifestyle, certain dog dewormers may be more convenient and effective than others.

Dog on Mountain

For example, if your dog is very active and enjoys playing outside, consider using a monthly parasite preventive that provides protection against multiple parasites.

If your dog is very picky or difficult to medicate, consider using a topical or chewable product that is easy to administer.

The following are some guidelines for administering dog dewormers safely and effectively:

2.6 Follow the instructions: Always read the label or package insert of the dog dewormer and carefully follow the instructions. Additionally, make sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions regarding the frequency and duration of your dog’s medication administration.

2.7 Dose correctly: Always administer the correct amount of medication based on your dog’s weight. Also, ensure that your dog swallows the pill or tablet whole and that topical medication is applied to the appropriate area of their skin.

2.8 Monitor for side effects: After administering a dog dewormer, closely observe your dog for any signs of adverse reactions or side effects. Common adverse effects include nausea, diarrhea, irritation, lethargy, and loss of appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms, immediately contact your veterinarian.

2.9 Repeat as needed: Always complete the entire course of treatment prescribed by your veterinarian. Additionally, repeat the fecal test after treatment to confirm that all worms have been eliminated. As a precaution, also follow your veterinarian’s advice on how often to deworm your dog.

3. The Best Dog Dewormers on the Market

Two dogs having fun in the water at the beach

There are numerous dewormers for dogs on the market, but not all of them are equally effective, safe, and reliable. To help you choose the best dewormer for your dog, we evaluated some of the top-rated and veterinarian-recommended products based on their features, pros, cons, and prices.

For your convenience, we have included links to online retailers where you can purchase these items. Before buying any dog dewormer, always consult your veterinarian and, if required, obtain a prescription.

Here are our recommendations for the best dog dewormers:

Product FeaturesProsConsPrice
Interceptor PlusBroad-spectrum chewable tablet that prevents heartworms and treats roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapewormsSafe for puppies 6 weeks or older and pregnant or nursing females; easy to administer; beef-flavored; monthly dosageRequires a prescription; may cause vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy in some dogs; not effective against fleas or ticks$7.50 per tablet
TrifexisOral parasite preventive that prevents heartworms and treats roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms; also kills adult fleasSafe for puppies 8 weeks or older; easy to administer; beef-flavored; monthly dosage; protects against multiple parasitesRequires a prescription; may cause vomiting, itching, or lethargy in some dogs; not effective against tapeworms or ticks$18.50 per tablet
Drontal PlusBroad-spectrum tablet that treats tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipwormsSafe for puppies 3 weeks or older; reliable and fast-acting; kills all parasites within 7 days; low risk for side effectsRequires a prescription; may cause vomiting or diarrhea in some dogs; not effective against heartworms or fleas$10.00 per tablet
Advantage Multi for DogsTopical parasite preventive that prevents heartworms and treats roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms; also kills adult fleas and prevents flea infestationsSafe for puppies 7 weeks or older; easy to apply; monthly dosage; protects against multiple parasitesRequires a prescription; may cause irritation or hair loss at the application site; not effective against tapeworms or ticks$15.00 per tube

1. Interceptor Plus

Interceptor Plus is among the most effective broad-spectrum dog dewormers. It prevents and treats heartworm disease, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.

Interceptor Plus is a chewable tablet that contains milbemycin oxime and praziquantel as active ingredients. Milbemycin oxime eradicates embryonic heartworms and prevents them from maturing into adults. Praziquantel dissolves tapeworms by separating them from the intestinal lining.

Interceptor Plus is safe for dogs and puppies over 6 weeks old and weighing at least 2 pounds. It is also safe for pregnant and lactating women. It is easy to administer because it is a beef-flavored chewable tablet that most dogs enjoy. It is given once a month, ideally on the same day each month.

Interceptor Plus requires a veterinarian’s prescription. Some dogs may experience adverse effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy. It is ineffective against fleas and lice, so you may need to use a different product to treat these parasites.

Interceptor Plus costs around $7.50 per tablet, depending on the dog’s size and weight. It is available for purchase from Chewy, Petco, Walmart PetRx, and other reputable online pet pharmacies.

2. Trifexis

Trifexis is another oral parasite preventative that prevents and treats heartworm disease, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. It also kills adult fleas and prevents infestations.

Trifexis is a chewable tablet that contains spinosad and milbemycin oxime. Spinosad kills insects by inducing convulsions and death. Milbemycin oxime eradicates embryonic heartworms and prevents them from maturing into adults. By interfering with their nervous systems, it also destroys roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

Trifexis is safe for dogs and puppies over 8 weeks old and weighing at least 5 pounds. It is easy to administer because it is a beef-flavored chewable tablet that most dogs enjoy. It is given once a month, ideally on the same day each month.

Trifexis is only available with a veterinarian’s prescription. Some dogs may experience adverse effects such as vomiting, itching, or lethargy. It is ineffective against tapeworms and fleas, so you may need to use a different product to treat these parasites.

Trifexis costs around $18.50 per tablet, depending on the dog’s size and weight. It is available for purchase from Chewy, Petco, Walmart PetRx, and other reputable online pet pharmacies.

3. Drontal Plus

Drontal Plus is one of the most effective broad-spectrum dog dewormers. It treats tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms.

The active ingredients in Drontal Plus are praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate, and febantel. Praziquantel destroys tapeworms by detaching and dissolving them from the intestinal lining. Pyrantel pamoate eliminates roundworms and hookworms by paralyzing them and causing them to be excreted in feces. Febantel is lethal to whipworms by interfering with their metabolism.

Drontal Plus is suitable for dogs and puppies at least 3 weeks old and weighing at least 2 pounds. It is dependable and quick-acting, killing all parasites within seven days. Most dogs tolerate it well, and it has a low risk of adverse effects.

Drontal Plus requires a prescription from a veterinarian. While some dogs may experience adverse effects such as vomiting or diarrhea, it is generally safe to use. However, it is ineffective against heartworms and fleas, so you may need to use a different product to treat these parasites.

Drontal Plus costs approximately $10.00 per tablet, depending on your dog’s size and weight. You can purchase it from Chewy, Petco, Walmart PetRx, and other reputable online pet pharmacies.

4. Advantage Multi for Dogs

Advantage Multi for dogs is one of the most effective topical parasite preventives available. It treats and controls roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, three types of intestinal parasites, and prevents heartworm disease. Additionally, it eliminates adult fleas and prevents infestations.

The liquid formulation of Advantage Multi for Dogs contains two active ingredients: imidacloprid and moxidectin. Imidacloprid eliminates parasites by interfering with their nervous systems. Moxidectin eliminates embryonic heartworms and prevents their maturation into adults. It also destroys roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms by interfering with their nervous systems.

Advantage Multi for Dogs is suitable for dogs and puppies over 7 weeks old and weighing at least 3 pounds. Applying it is easy: you just squeeze the contents of the tube onto your dog’s skin between their shoulder blades once a month, preferably on the same day.

Advantage Multi for Dogs requires a prescription from a veterinarian and may cause adverse effects such as irritation or hair loss at the application site. However, it is generally safe to use. Keep in mind that it is ineffective against tapeworms and fleas, so you may need to use a different product to treat these parasites.

Advantage Multi for Dogs costs approximately $15.00 per tube, depending on your dog’s size and weight. You can purchase it from Chewy, Petco, Walmart PetRx, and other reputable online pet pharmacies.

4. How to Prevent Worms in Dogs

Golden Retriever sitting by a cliff with a beautiful Canadian Mountain Landscape

Preventing worms in dogs is preferable to treating them. Worms can cause severe health issues for your dog and infect you and your family. Therefore, it is essential to prevent worms in dogs by following these guidelines:

1. Keep your dog’s environment clean

You should regularly sanitize your dog’s bedding, toys, and food and water containers. You should also promptly and properly eliminate your dog’s excrement. This will reduce the likelihood that your dog will consume worm eggs or larvae from the soil or excrement.

2. Avoid infected animals and excrement

Keep your dog away from animals that carry worms and areas where they may have defecated. Additionally, prevent your dog from consuming raw meat, bones, or garbage that may contain worm eggs or larvae.

3. Use monthly parasite preventatives

Interceptor Plus, Trifexis, or Advantage Multi for Dogs are monthly preventatives that offer protection against multiple varieties of worms. These products will eliminate any existing worms and protect against future infestations. Before using any product, consult your veterinarian and carefully follow their instructions.

4. Regularly consult with your veterinarian

Take your dog to the veterinarian for a checkup and fecal exam at least once a year. This will allow you to detect and treat any nematodes that your dog may have. Also, follow your veterinarian’s advice on how often to deworm your dog as a preventative measure.

For more information on the best dewormers for dogs and how to choose the right one for your furry friend, check out our comprehensive reviews.

5. Conclusion

dog at beach

In conclusion, choosing the best deworming treatment for your dog can be a crucial step in their overall health and well-being. It is essential to consider factors such as the type of worms your pet may have, their age and weight, and any potential side effects of the treatment.

Consulting with your veterinarian is always a great idea, as they can provide guidance on the most effective and safe deworming options for your specific dog. Additionally, reading reviews and doing research on trusted brands can also help you make an informed decision.

Remember to always follow the instructions on the deworming treatment packaging and monitor your dog for any adverse reactions. Regular deworming schedules and preventative measures recommended by veterinarians can help keep your dog healthy and parasite-free.

Overall, taking the time to choose the best deworming treatment for your dog can make a significant difference in their overall health and quality of life. By staying informed and proactive about your pet’s health, you can help ensure that they live a happy and healthy life by your side.

Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler

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