Are Over-the-Counter Medications Effective for Treating Puppy Worms?

Worms in a puppy is common, but it's important to get him started on a dewormer. But the question is whether to treat with over-the-counter medication or to get medication from your veterinarian. Both can be effective, but the key to ridding your puppy of worms is properly identifying the worm.

Identifying the Parasite

The key to ridding your puppy of worms is to identify the type of parasite he has. To do this, you must take a fresh stool sample to your veterinarian for examination. The stool is examined under a microscope to determine the type of worms inhabiting the puppy's intestines. Proper medication can then be determined.

Types of Worm Medications

  • Broad spectrum worm medications contain active ingredients such as praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate or febantel in order to attack the parasites. Over-the-counter treatments often only address the adult worms and do not attack other phases of parasitic life.
  • Parasite specific dewormers are also available, providing only the necessary medication to rid the puppy of the particular parasite identified.
  • Heartworm medication is available through prescription only. It not only prevents heartworm disease but also controls adult roundworm and whipworm infections.
  • While over-the-counter worming medications are effective in addressing the adult parasite populations, they frequently require monthly treatments in order to maintain a parasite-free intestinal tract.