How to Prevent and Treat Worms in Pets


It is important to worm your pets regularly as even healthy looking animals can carry them – here we’ve put together a guide on how to spot, treat and prevent worms in pets.

Worms can be serious to your pet’s health. Some types can also be spread between pets and people. It may be difficult to spot symptoms of your pet having worms. Which is why it’s important to have a regular treatment in place. 

How Do Pets Get Worms? 

Animals can pick worms up in a variety of ways, from: 

  • Other infected animals.
  • Eating the larvae or eggs of worms (e.g. in infected faeces or in grass).
  • Eating raw meat, infected prey animals or parasites.
  • Kittens can also have roundworm passed to them in their mother’s milk.

Signs of Worms in Pets 

Common signs of worms in pets can include: 

  • Visible worms in their faeces or vomit, or even around your pet’s bottom.
  • Your pet has started losing weight.
  • Their fur is becoming dry and coarse.
  • Your pet has an increased appetite, weakness and/or diarrhoea.
  • In severe cases, infected puppies and kittens can also have a distended abdomen or ‘pot belly’.

How to Treat Worms in Pets 

  • Treatments can come in a variety of types. These include spot on, creams, syrups and tablets which you can apply yourself at home. Click here to find your local WCF store where you can purchase treatments in store.
  • Different worms may need different treatments. This is because not every product will kill all types of worms. You can ask your vet which treatment is safe and suitable for your pet.
  • Whilst it’s wise to speak to a vet for advice, there are a lot of brands available over the counter so you don’t necessarily need to purchase the treatment from your veterinary practice.

How to Prevent Worms in Pets 

There are lots of steps you can take to prevent your pet from getting worms: 

  • Treat pets from a young age and continue regularly when they’re adults.
  • Cats and Dogs should be wormed roughly every 3 months. Worming for animals such as horses, who spend more time outdoors is recommended more frequently, although it’s always best to check with your vet.
  • Prevent tapeworms by using a flea treatment regularly, as fleas can carry tapeworm eggs.
  • Good pasture management is required for horses, ponies, donkeys and rabbits to prevent them from eating the larvae and eggs of worms.
  • For rabbits, avoid giving them greens collected from areas where wild rabbits or rodents may have been, in case their food becomes infected.
  • Clean up after your pet and dispose of faeces carefully.
  • Disinfect food and water bowls regularly.

If left untreated, worms can cause your pet to become seriously unwell. It’s always best to treat them regularly. Whilst we hope this guide brings you some useful information and tips, your vet will always be the best person to advise which type of treatment and method you should use for your pet. The RSPCA also have useful advice on dealing with worms. Click here for more information and articles on your cat's and dog's health.