Do you know the signs if your dog had worms?
There are several types of intestinal worms your dog can get, and different types of worms can affect your dog in different ways.
The good news is, there are natural, safe ways to get rid of worms, without resorting to chemical dewormers like Milbemax.
These can be just as effective but as always don't be completely put off by what you read in the press there is still a place for the chemical kind but treating naturally should always be the first call.
A few signs to look out for
A dog with a strong immune system is less likely to be a host for any kind of parasite.
Dogs get some worms occasionally, but if your dog is healthy with a strong immune system, they probably won’t make him sick.
In this case you may never know he even had the worms because he will probably just poop them out naturally, and you won’t see any symptoms.
Approximately 80% of the immune system is in the gut, so giving your dog the best diet you can will help keep worms away. Feed your dog a natural, whole foods, preferably raw meat based diet.Natural foods to help prevent worms
Fruit and vegetables
Foods like grated raw carrot, watercress, greens, squash, fennel, papaya or pumpkin can help make your dog’s intestinal tract less attractive to worms. The orange veggies also provide vitamin A, which can help eliminate roundworms.
Feed any of the above fruits and vegetables you like; give at least ½ tsp of each veggie or fruit per 10 lbs of your dog’s body weight, twice daily. Don’t overdo the orange veggies or your dog may get orange poop!
Dried coconut is a vermifuge, meaning it can help eliminate tapeworms from the body.
Sprinkle on food, giving 1 tsp for small dogs, 2 tsp for medium dogs and 1 Tbsp for large breeds.
Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes
probiotics help maintain a good balance of healthy gut bacteria and can strengthen your dog’s immune system and help him keep worms at bay.
You can feed foods like kefir or fermented vegetables,
Digestive enzymes also provide additional support for your dog’s digestive system to help him eliminate parasites.
For both probiotics and digestive enzymes, if you use a product made for dogs, follow the package dosing recommendations. If you use a human product, assume it’s for a 150 lb person and adjust according to your dog’s weight.
Trace minerals are also excellent for balancing the gastrointestinal system.
Add a pinch of trace mineral salt (such as sea salt or Himalayan Pink Salt) with each feeding.
Make sure you buy an authentic sea or Himalayan salt as there are many impostors!
Apple Cider Vinegar
A naturally alkaline system kills parasites.
About ¼ to 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar added to your dog’s food or water every day can help keep his system alkaline.
You can test your dog’s pH using test strips (available online or at pharmacies).
Hold the strip in your dog’s urine stream for 1 to 3 seconds. The ideal pH for your dog is between 6.5 and 7. Since the pH varies throughout the day, it’s best to test several times over a 24 hour period and take an average.
Natural Worm Treatments
Here are some of the more common herbal and other natural treatment options.
Keep in mind that none of these herbs should be overused; don’t use more than the recommended amount without consulting with a holistic veterinarian or herbalist.
Caution: With the exception of pumpkin seeds and black seed, none of these remedies should be used during pregnancy or lactation.
Raw, organic pumpkin seeds can help prevent or expel worms. You can grind them and place them in your dog’s dish. Ground seeds will mix well with ground meat.
Give ¼ teaspoon per ten pounds of your dog’s weight.
Pumpkin seeds are safe to use, even during pregnancy.
Black seed or black cumin seed ( nigella sativa) comes from the mid-east and parts of Africa.
It has been used for centuries by indigenous populations and is known as “the cure for everything except death.”
Black seed will get rid of most types of worms and is completely safe.
Depending on the size of your dog, use ½ to 1 teaspoon of black seed in food per day. The seeds can be heated first to eliminate the bitter taste.
Whole seeds are best, but if using black seed oil, halve the above dose.
Garlic is safe and is good for your dog when fed in moderation.
Garlic can boost the immune system and help fight worms and giardia.
In fact, a recent scientific study found garlic to be just as effective as the toxic chemical veterinary dewormer, Ivermectin. (Ayaz et al, Recent Pat Antiinfect Drug Discov. 2008 Jun).
Garlic helps rid the stomach wall of mucus and makes it less hospitable for worms. It also contains an amino acid called allicin, which is effective against roundworms and hookworms.
Peel and chop the garlic and allow it to sit at room temperature for a minimum of 15 minutes, which allows the allicin to be released.
Feed in the following amounts:
Small dogs ¼ clove twice a day, medium dogs ½ clove twice a day, large dogs ¾ clove twice a day, giant breeds 1 clove twice a day.
Caution: don ’ t use garlic if your dog ’ s taking cyclosporine or blood thinners.
Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
DE can reduce the number of worms in your dog although it may not be as effective for tapeworms.
When using DE for your dog, use food grade, not pool grade DE.
Feed small dogs 1 tsp per day and dogs over 55 pounds up to 1 Tbsp per day.
Make sure it’s well mixed in his food as inhaling DE can irritate your dog’s lungs.
DE can also be sprinkled sparingly on the skin to prevent fleas and thus tapeworm.
This herb can work to prevent and expel both roundworms and whipworms.
It may not work as quickly as other herbs but it is effective and has anti-inflammatory properties, which calm the intestinal tract when parasites cause discomfort such as bloating, gas or cramps in your dog.
Chamomile is best used as a glycerin tincture.
Give 0.25 to 0.50 ml per 20 lbs of body weight, twice daily.
Give the tincture directly into your dog’s mouth or place in his drinking water.
Cloves are effective against microscopic parasites such as giardia and coccidia.
Give one clove per 10 lbs of body weight once daily, or a small pinch of clove powder in food.
Freshly crushed leaves will kill the eggs of parasites.
Caution: Do not give cloves to pregnant females as they can cause miscarriage. Cloves can be highly toxic given in large doses and you should also be careful when using them on small dogs.
Olive leaf extract will help flush parasites out of your dog’s intestinal tract.
Oleopurin is a unique compound contained in the fruit and leaves of olive trees. The health benefits of olive oil are well known and scientists have found that it’s oleopurin that provides these health benefits.
Olive leaves contain high amounts of oleopurin, so olive leaf extract is a very efficient way of giving your dog the health benefits of olive oil without giving him a lot of oil!
Olive leaf extract is sold in different strengths of oleopurin. To treat intestinal worms, look for olive leaf extract containing 12% oleopurin or higher.
Give your dog this olive leaf extract for eight weeks, in the following amounts.
300 mg twice per day for small dogs, 500 mg twice per day for medium dogs and 1000 mg twice per day for large dogs.
Give neem leaf twice a day for one week to eliminate intestinal parasites (but not tapeworm).
Use 150 mg per day for small dogs, 250 mg for medium dogs and 500 mg for large dogs.
Slippery elm is a gentle laxative that can help your dog get worms out of his system. It can also soothe any irritations the worms cause in the digestive tract.
This makes slippery elm a very good supplement to give alongside other treatment options.
Mix the powder into food or some yogurt, ⅛ tsp per 10 lbs of body weight.
Liver, Kidney and Lymph Support
Any time you’re treating worms it’s a good idea to support the liver and kidneys as well as the lymph system, to help move fluids and process worms that are absorbed by the blood.
Giving milk thistle seed at the same time as other treatments can help protect the liver. Milk thistle is best given in a tincture, starting at ¼ tsp per 20 pounds of body weight.
Parsley , a favorite herbs for so many things, acts as a lymph and fluid mover as well as a de-wormer (vermifuge).
Make a parsley tea using ⅛ to ¼ cup of fresh parsley to 1 cup of water. Heat the water and steep for about five minutes. Give your dog 1 tsp of parsley tea for every 10 lbs of weight daily for no more than 10 days.
Caution: do not use parsley if your dog has kidney issues.
When dosing your dog with herbal wormers, it can be more effective to give them ten days on, five days off, and then ten days on.
It takes ten days to kill the worms.
When worms die off, however, they will lay eggs to propagate the next generation.
It takes about five days for the eggs to hatch so the treatment needs to be repeated to kill the new offspring.
You may wish to bring another stool sample to your vet after the treatment series to confirm the worms are gone.