How to Prevent Intestinal Parasites in Pets

With the warm summer weather finally upon us it is time to start talking about intestinal parasites.  Intestinal parasites are spread through the ingestion of contaminated feces and infected hosts.  These parasites can negatively affect our pets’ health as well as our own.  We recommend adhering to the following deworming protocol for dogs.

  • All adult dogs should be dewormed on a monthly basis from May 1st to October 1st.  The monthly medications that we use will kill the intestinal parasites that are of a concern in our area.  An added bonus is that these medications also prevent heartworm which is transmitted by mosquitoes.  Heartworm is not prevalent in Saskatchewan but this is added protection especially for dogs that may be traveling.  The monthly protocol is especially important for dogs that are exposed to small children or immune compromised individuals as they are at a greater risk of contracting parasites.  In some cases we will deworm every month of the year based on the lifestyle of the pet and the health status of the people they are in contact with.  We also recommend administering a broad spectrum deworming medication in the fall that will kill all intestinal parasites including tapeworms.
  • Not all pet owners wish to follow the monthly protocol through the summer.  In these cases we recommend using a broad spectrum deworming medication in the spring and fall.  At the very least all dogs should be dewormed once a year at the time of their annual check-up.
  • Regardless of the season we deworm puppies every 2 weeks until they reach 12 weeks of age.  We then deworm monthly until 6 months of age.  We recommend that puppies follow the same protocol through the summer as adult dogs.  Due to the fact that puppies are growing so rapidly we often need them to come in to be weighed before dispensing the appropriate medication for their size.
  • The deworming recommendation for cats differs due to their lifestyle.  We recommend the following protocol for cats:
  • Cats that roam freely outside or those who hunt should be de-wormed every 2 months through the summer and 1 to 2 times during the remainder of the year.
  • Cats who go outside on a harness only should be dewormed mid-summer and again in the fall.
  • Cats that are strictly in-doors and have limited parasite exposure should be dewormed once a year at the time of their annual check-up.
  • Cats that live in a home with immune compromised individuals or small children should be dewormed about 4 times a year.  If the cat also goes outside we recommend following the above protocol for the summer.
  • Kittens need to be dewormed every 2 weeks until they reach 12 weeks of age.  We then review annually based on their lifestyle.

There is a lot to think about when dealing with parasites.  Our goal is to eliminate and prevent parasitic infestations to help our pets and families live happy and healthy lives!

by Janet Hofos