Worms are a familiar, yet disgusting issue that many pet owners face. Not only do worms pose a hazard to your dog, but they’re also contagious to other pets and family members. If you have other pets in your household who are suffering for worm issues, make sure to treat them too. To find the best products for treating cats, check out our list of The Best Cat Dewormers.
Many pet parents find themselves purchasing a dewormer after diagnosis at the veterinarian’s office or when bringing home a new puppy. If your ordinarily bouncy puppy acts lethargic, you notice your dog butt scooting across the yard or you notice blood and mucus in your dog’s stool, then it’s essential to check for internal parasites.
We reviewed dozens of dog dewormers to identify the best of the best. Amazon reviews and manufacturer information regarding dosage type and side effects helped us compare the various dewormers for dogs and puppies. By looking at the active ingredients and types of worms eliminated, we narrowed down our search to 5 excellent choices.
Our top pick, Excel Safe-Guard Dewormer, stood out as a clear winner. It has triple the reviews of other products and comes highly recommended for effective and safe action against worms. With trusted ingredients and an affordable price, this treatment clears up most cases of worms in days.
The 5 Top-Rated Dog Dewormers
|Excel Safe-Guard Dewormer
|Sentry WormX Plus 7 Way De-Wormer
|Best for Budget
|Sentry WormX DS Anthelmintic Suspension De-Wormer
|Best for Puppies
|Best Natural Dewormer
|Wholistic Pet Organics Wormer
*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change
Our Top Pick: Excel Safe-Guard Dewormer
There were several contenders for our top pick, but we chose Excel Safe-Guard Dewormer because it’s considered one of the safest products on the market. It’s one of only a few dog dewormers labeled for use by pregnant dogs and heartworm infected dogs. This broad spectrum dewormer uses a popular active ingredient, fenbendazole, commonly found in prescription dewormers.
Excel SafeGuard is a 3-day treatment that targets 6 types of intestinal parasites including tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. The dosage goes by the weight of your pet which makes it easy to give an effective dose. The product listing offers several size options for small, medium or large dogs, so you can purchase what you need from 1 product page. Reviewers with large dogs and multiple pets suggest buying the largest size packets (4 grams) and measuring it out for each dog in your house. If your dog is under 40 pounds, then you’ll pay less than $10 for a 3-day treatment. The price doubles for each additional 40 pounds of dog.
Hundreds of dog owners noticed improvement within days of starting treatment. Very few side effects were noted, except for the occasional loose stool, which is a common issue in dogs with worms. Reviewers pointed out that Excel Safe-Guard Dewormer only kills one type of tapeworm. If your canine was diagnosed with the tapeworm Dipylidium caninum, caused by fleas, then you’ll need our runner-up. However, as one of the most trusted brands on the market, this is one of the safest products you can purchase for your pet.
Excel Safe-Guard Dewormer Key Features:
- Active ingredient: Fenbendazole Granules 22.2%
- 3-day treatment
- Multiple size options make it easier for multi-dog households and large dogs
- Granules mix easily into food
- Eliminates tapeworms (Taenia pisiformis), roundworms (Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina), hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum, Uncinaria stenocephala), and whipworms (Trichuris vulpis)
- Safe for puppies over 6 weeks
Our Runner Up Pick: Sentry WormX Plus 7 Way De-Wormer
We chose the Sentry WormX Plus 7 Way De-Wormer because hundreds of reviewers cited its effectiveness in treating both types of tapeworms found in dogs. This treatment also clears up roundworms and hookworms, making it a good choice if you don’t have a clear diagnosis. The active ingredients, pyrantel pamoate, and praziquantel work together to eliminate parasites with a single dose.
This fast-acting treatment results in worm elimination in the first 24 hours. It comes in a beef-flavored chewable tablet that some dogs love. A few reviewers had problems with getting their dog to swallow the pill, but that’s a common issue. The product listing offers size options for small and large dogs which makes measuring out dosages simple. Although this is a potent formula, very few side effects were noted. For around $11 you’ll get enough dewormer to treat a dog under 25 pounds.
Although Sentry WormX Plus 7 Way De-Wormer has fewer customer reviews than our top pick, it’s considered a safe choice that improves your dog’s health while targeting 7 of the average intestinal parasites. If you need to treat both types of tapeworms, then this strong product will do the job quickly.
Sentry WormX Plus 7 Way De-Wormer Key Features:
- Active ingredients: 114 mg pyrantel pamoate and 114 mg of praziquantel
- 1-day treatment
- For small dogs up to 25 pounds
- Chewable tablets can be given alone or with food
- Eliminates tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum and Taenia pisiformis), roundworms (Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina), hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense, and Uncinaria stenocephala)
- Safe for dogs over 12-weeks old
Best Budget Pick: Sentry WormX DS Anthelmintic Suspension De-Wormer
After careful consideration, we found that Sentry WormX DS Anthelmintic Suspension De-Wormer
provides the best bang for your buck. It will only set you back $5, but there is a caveat to keep in mind: it only focuses on removing large roundworms and hookworms. If your dog is suffering from either or both of these types of worms, this product may do the trick. It can also be used to prevent toxocara canis reinfestation.
This treatment is great for all sizes of dogs because you measure it out using a teaspoon. To give it to your dog, simply measure out one teaspoon of the dewormer for every 10 pounds of your dog’s weight. It’s formulated to be tasty, so they’ll likely eat it straight from their food bowl. If you’re dealing with a particularly fussy dog, you also have the option of mixing it into their food.
Sentry WormX DS Anthelmintic Suspension De-Wormer Key Features:
- Active Ingredient: pyrantel pamoate
- Removes large roundworms and hookworms
- 2-ounce liquid solution
- Treats dogs up to 120 pounds
Best Dewormer for Puppies Pick: Nemex-2
While several great choices exist for puppies, we chose Nemex-2 because it’s a respectable brand with a history of safety. Puppies require deworming on a regular schedule, so new puppy owners need to have a reliable dewormer in their cabinet. Since pups need treatment at 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10 weeks of age you want a solution that’s easy on their tiny stomachs and that doesn’t cause problems with their digestive system. The active ingredient, pyrantel pamoate, has been determined safe for use in pups aged 2 weeks and up. With more than 90% of reviewers rating this product with 4-star and 5-star reviews, it stands out as a trusted treatment.
This liquid anthelmintic suspension removes large roundworms and hookworms. Many customers say they noticed it working within 12 hours. Pups love the taste, which is why countless reviewers commented on how their pup lapped the caramel-flavored liquid right out of the bowl. No side effects were noted, as the active ingredient has been proven safe and effective on the tiniest of canines. Whether you use a dropper or a teaspoon, it’s easy to get the right dose for your pet. It’ll cost you less than $20 for a 2-ounce bottle that’ll treat smaller dogs multiple times or very large dogs one time.
When choosing a dewormer for your pup you want one that targets the worms commonly passed from a mother to her babies. Pups tend to get reinfected while nursing and from eating stuff off the ground. Since you’ll be treating multiple times, you want a treatment that’s easy to administer, is gentle on your pup’s delicate stomach, and that comes with plenty of doses. Nemex-2 uses a standard ingredient that’s flavored so puppies can’t resist drinking it.
Nemex-2 Key Features:
- Active Ingredient: 4.54 mg of pyrantel base as pyrantel pamoate per ml
- Pups love the caramel flavor and the liquid is easily dispensed with a dropper
- Removes roundworms (Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina) and hookworms (Ancylaria stenocephala)
- Safe for puppies starting at 2 weeks
- Comes in a 2-ounce or 16-ounce size
Best Natural Dewormer for Dogs Pick: Wholistic Pet Organics Wormer
Pet owners turn to natural dog dewormers for several reasons, including wanting a safe, non-chemical treatment. Owners with young puppies or older dogs with weakened immune systems choose Wholistic Pet Organics Wormer to avoid adverse side effects. Others use this product as a preventative year-round. Several reviewers suggest alternating a non-chemical therapy with chemical products for persistent worms. Pet parents feel that the familiar ingredient, Diatomaceous Earth (DE), eliminates worms and provides additional benefits. Organic wormers may improve a dog’s health, stop worm infestations, and prevent future occurrences.
The active ingredient, DE, works by drying out the exoskeleton. While proven to work well in various pests, it’s treatment in intestinal parasites is not as well-known. Reviewers suggest it works as a prevention method by providing flea and tick relief. The powder is easy to measure out, and the ingredients won’t harm your dog. You’ll pay nearly the same price, around $15, regardless of the size option. It comes in either a 4.5-ounce size or 13-ounce size. Since treatment is ongoing, it makes sense to go with the larger size.
Many reviewers saw improvement in their dog’s appearance, especially helping with a dull coat. Others saw increased energy levels. While the research is still out on the effectiveness of natural products on intestinal worms in dogs, using an organic dewormer like Wholistic Pet Organics won’t hurt your pet and may improve its overall health.
Wholistic Pet Organics Wormer Key Features:
- Active Ingredients: Diatomaceous Earth
- Uses raw, natural, whole food ingredients
- Provides flea and tick relief
- Mixes into foods and pets rarely reject their food over the flavor
- No negative side effects noted
Who Should Buy a Dog Dewormer?
It’s common for dogs to pick up internal parasites because dogs and puppies love to play in the places where worms exist. Pests live in soil, fecal matter, and other outdoor creatures. Your dog may inadvertently swallow some fleas and get infected. Plus, worms transfer from dog mothers to their puppies, which is why vets recommend treating pups at regular intervals. If your dog frequents dog parks, plays outside, or lives around cats, then occasional bouts of worms are possible. If your dog has symptoms or a diagnosis from the vet, then purchasing a dewormer is the next step.
Pet parents notice their dogs lack energy or see visible evidence of worms under their dog’s tail or in its poop. Parasites are contagious and won’t go away on their own, which makes treatment essential. Owners wishing to avoid repeat veterinarian fees or the high cost of prescription medications prefer to buy dewormers online. In multi-pet households buying online offers a budget-friendly alternative to treatments from your vet’s office.
If your pet shows symptoms of worms or you have a diagnosis from the vet, then it’s necessary to start your dog on a dewormer. Keeping a package on hand is a sure way to address this problem immediately. Nearly all dog owners will purchase treatment for worms at some point in their dog’s life. Luckily, effective treatments exist for all intestinal parasites.
Important Features to Consider
A dog dewormer should have a few important features. Here’s what to consider when selecting a dog dewormer for your dog:
- Active ingredients. There are several ingredients that are used either alone or in combination with others. Not all of the formulas work on every type of worm. For example, dewormers with fenbendazole won’t eliminate tapeworms that come from fleas, while piperazine only works on roundworms.
- Parasites targeted. There’s no sense in giving your dog granules or pills that don’t work. Most products list the strains of worms eliminated. It’s important to note that there are 2 types of tapeworms and many treatments don’t take care of both. The seven most common worms are Tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum and Taenia pisiformis), roundworms (Toxocara canis and Toxascaris leonina), hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense, and Uncinaria stenocephala), and whipworms (Trichuris vulpis).
- The number of doses. Most dewormer treatments are either 1-day or 3-day dosages, although some of the natural dog dewormers are meant to be used on a daily basis.
- How treatment is administered. There are several methods of dosing for puppies and dogs. The most popular products include chewable tablets, although many customers prefer the easy measurement of granular. Other options include tablets that may be crushed or swallowed plus several liquid treatments exist. We found 1 gel product as well.
- Side effects. No one wants their pet to suffer, so it’s important to use trusted products that won’t hurt your young pup or dog. We combed through safety information and reviews to find the best treatments. Trusted brands are easy on your canine’s digestive system and often benefit its quality of life.
- Age and weight specifications. Products are labeled by size and age of dogs. Several options exist for puppies as young as 2-weeks old and very small dogs, while others are only for dogs over 12-weeks or 10-pounds. Correct dosing increases the likelihood of it working.
- Pricing and dosing in multi-dog households. Pet parents with cats and dogs or litters of pups go through more dewormer than dog owners with only 1 dog. Treatments for worms is fairly inexpensive but adds up quick if you’re treating large dogs or multiple dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a dog dewormer and how does it work?
Quite simply, a dog dewormer rids your dog of the pesky parasites that occur after fleas, a trip to the dog park, or an adventure in the backyard. Different products use various active ingredients to target specific pests, while others cover a broad spectrum. Dewormers come in liquids, granules, chewable and crushable tablets, and gel.
Once your dog ingests the dewormer, then it works by paralyzing the worm’s nervous system. The worms release their hold inside the intestines and come out of the dog either through a bathroom visit or occasionally in vomit. For effective treatment, it’s important to note the amount and frequency of dosage. Dog owners must treat all pets in the home and thoroughly clean to avoid reinfection.
What are the signs of a dog having worms?
There are several visible signs of dogs having worms, although symptoms vary among animals. Paying attention to your dog’s environment is a good start, but it’s nearly impossible to keep young puppies from eating dirt or licking their fur during a bout of fleas. It’s important to check your dog for worms and watch for signs year-round.
Dogs with worms rub their butts on the ground, may have a swollen stomach, or parasites in their feces or vomit. Some dogs have no appetite, while others eat but can’t gain weight. Pet owners notice their dog’s general appearance suffers, with problems like dry hair and excessive shedding. It’s easy to identify tapeworms because they’re visible to the human eye. Owners see lighter-colored flecks under their dog’s tail, commonly referred to as white grains of rice or sesame seed droppings. Others report noticing these specks on furniture where their dog sleeps.
How long does it take to get worms out of a dog?
Dewormers go right into your dog’s digestive system, which is where the parasites live. Most dewormers work immediately to paralyze and remove pests. Reviewers saw results ranging from 24-hours to 1-week. The amount of time depends on using the correct product, treating multiple times for large infestations, and preventing reinfection.
As long as you use a dewormer meant for the diagnosed parasite, then you’ll notice results within hours. Since larvae grow in different stages, it may be necessary to re-treat several weeks later. Nearly all reviewers reported that problems disappeared within a week. Cleaning dog beds and furniture help prevent reinfection.
How often do you need to deworm a dog?
As soon as you notice any symptoms of internal parasites or receive a diagnosis from your vet, then you need to treat your dog immediately. Pets with ongoing infestations may require several treatments, spread out over weeks, to eliminate worms in all stages, from egg to larvae. Even without symptoms, many vets recommend deworming dogs six months and older twice a year. Due to the fun-loving nature of puppies, worms are more common in younger dogs. Vets recommend a deworming schedule starting at 2-weeks and repeated every couple weeks until your pup is 3 months old.
Feature Image credit: Laura Beach, Shutterstrock