If you’ve just brought home a new and bouncy puppy, you are likely wondering how much dewormer you will need to give him. Besides; you don’t want to get this wrong! You’ll want to ensure you give an effective dose, while at the same time, ensuring you do not risk overdose! Well, here is exactly how you should approach it.
So, how much dewormer should you give a puppy? The recommended dose of dewormer depends on the deworming medication – follow the instructions and get advice from your vet. There is no one dosage for all drugs and puppies.
Ultimately, this is not something you are going to want to guess.
Nor is it something you should try to guestimate based on recommendations found online.
Instead, it’s going to come down to context and something you really should run by a vet.
Only someone with that level of knowledge and expertise is going to be able to make some more concrete recommendations.
Nevertheless, there’s a lot to consider here – and you’ll learn a lot more about the process in the rest of this article!
So keep reading; it’s essential for proper deworming for your pup at home!
How Much Dewormer Should I Give My Puppy?
How much dewormer to give your puppy depends on his weight as well as the amount of active ingredient of dewormer per ml or mg of medication. Read the label of your chosen medication rather than rely on online charts, which are usually brand-specific.
Weigh your puppy before giving him any dewormer. Puppies grow quickly, so you’ll need to weigh him each time a dose is due.
Once you’ve weighed your puppy, check the dosage chart written on the medication. Never give your puppy too much, as an overdose can be harmful (see below.)
You want a dewormer that covers intestinal worms like tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms, as well as heartworms (yes, there are worms that live inside your puppy’s heart!)
All puppies have worms to some degree. It’s also worth knowing that dewormers don’t prevent worms: they kill them.
Follow the suggested dosage, with no more or no less, and stick to a regular worming schedule (see below.)
Note: There are many dosage charts online for calculating dewormer amounts for your puppy based on his weight and the amount of active ingredient in the product. However, each dosage chart is specific to the type of medication used. There is NO online dosage calculator that you can apply to all dewormers for puppies. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on the label of your product.
Can You Overdose A Puppy On Dewormer?
Sadly, you can overdose a puppy on a dewormer. If your puppy receives 10 to 20 times the recommended dose of certain medications, this can cause toxicity. Some dogs are hypersensitive to some ingredients in dewormers, such as ivermectin (an active ingredient in many dewormers.) Too much ivermectin can go right to their brains and cause damage or even death.
What To Know About Overdoses
Overdosing a puppy on a dewormer can lead to serious health problems. Your dog might vomit or show other signs of digestive problems such as diarrhea.
Symptoms might appear in an hour or over a longer period of time. If you suspect you’ve given your puppy too much dewormer, get him to the vet.
Sometimes your dog will need to vomit to expel the excess toxins from his system, but it isn’t safe to induce vomiting yourself.
Your puppy could suffocate if it isn’t done properly, so take him to the vet so that your vet can help effectively and quickly.
A Word On Ivermectin
If you are using medication that kills many different parasites, including worms, it may contain ivermectin.
Ivermectin is highly effective – it is also used to treat ear mites and other parasites – but some dogs are genetically sensitive to it.
Here is a list of breeds where ivermectin sensitivity is more common:
- Border Collie
- Silken Windhound
- Old English Sheepdog
- Mixed breeds that include genes from herding breeds
- Australian Shepherd
- Longhaired Whippet
- German Shepherd
- Shetland Sheepdog
Just because your puppy is one of the above breeds doesn’t mean he’ll be sensitive to ivermectin.
The only way to know for sure is by testing for the mutant MDR1 gene. Your vet can take a sample from your dog’s cheek and send it to a laboratory.
How Do You Deworm A Puppy At Home?
There are many different deworming solutions available for puppies. You can give your puppy chewables, spot-on treatments, or tablets. Some are available over the counter, whereas others require a prescription from your vet.
Before You Buy A Dewormer
The best practice is to consult with your vet on what type of dewormer to buy and the best schedule for your puppy.
Your vet can help you with any potential problems that may come up. Having said that, deworming your puppy at home is fairly straightforward.
Take your puppy to your vet for a checkup so that your vet can check your puppy as well as his stool.
Bring a sample of your dog’s stool in a sealed plastic bag, taken on the day of the appointment.
Your vet will be able to recommend the best dewormer for your puppy based on the findings: different worms require different types of treatment.
Most dewormers cover the most common types of worms (gut worms, tapeworms, hookworms, and roundworms.)
Purchase The Right Dewormer
Your vet may sell deworming medication, which you can buy right away.
Ask your vet whether you’ll need a prescription or if you can use an over-the-counter option (make sure the label says suitable for puppies).
Many home supply stores and all pet shops will sell dewormers.
Expect to spend around $35 USD.
There are spot-on treatments such as Advocate and Revolution that you apply to the back of your puppy’s neck that can treat not only worms but other parasites as well.
Check with your vet if one of these would be suitable for your puppy.
Administer The Dewormer
If Using A Syringe
If you need to fill a syringe yourself, dip the top into the medication.
Pull back the plunger until the vial is filled to the amount that your vet has prescribed (or that is suggested on the packaging, according to your puppy’s weight.)
Some syringes come pre-filled, which can make the process even easier. Just check the amount is correct for your puppy’s weight.
Put the tip of the syringe at least 2 inches inside your puppy’s mouth before dispensing the liquid. Your puppy should swallow it quickly.
If Giving Your Puppy A Pill
If you are giving your puppy a pill, check if he needs to receive it on an empty or full stomach.
Different medications have different requirements, so the best thing to do is to check the label carefully.
In order for any medication to be effective, you need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Your puppy won’t necessarily happily gulp down a tablet, so you’ll need to distract him.
Wave a toy in front of his face, snap your fingers, or hold a treat in front of his nose.
Quickly give him his medication, and follow it up with a reward.
Reward him with cuddles or a game if he needs to have an empty stomach for the medication to work.
Sometimes it’s easiest to give your puppy his dewormer while he’s sitting on your lap.
You can hold your puppy using one arm while using your free hand to distract him and slip the pill into his mouth.
You’ll want to slip your fingers in between your puppy’s lips at the front of his mouth. Use a gentle pressure to open his jaws carefully before tipping the tablet into his mouth.
When putting the tablet into his mouth, make sure you place it about 3 inches back so that he can’t spit it back out.
Fortunately, puppies are easily distracted!
What Is The Best Time To Deworm A Puppy?
The best time to deworm a puppy depends on the type of medication you are using. For medications that require a puppy to have a full stomach, the best time to deworm a puppy is after a meal and when he is properly hydrated to help minimize any potential feelings of sickness that the medication might cause. For medications that require an empty stomach, it’s best to deworm your puppy in the morning so that the medication can act on the worms without food substances present.
However, you may suspect your puppy has come to you already carrying worms, in which case you’ll need to act quickly.
Here are some common signs that the worms are causing him problems:
- Poor coat or fur
- Small segments of food that resemble rice in his stool (or spaghetti-like worms)
- Coughing or other respiratory problems
- Vomiting or diarrhea (or both!)
- Listlessness or weakness
- Weight loss
- Swollen belly
If your puppy is healthy and happy, the best time to deworm him is after exercise.
If your puppy has already had a good run, he’ll be easier to settle to give him his medication.
Worming should be done year-round, but it’s important not to neglect the warmer months when worms are most commonly found.
How Often To Give Dewormer To A Puppy?
Until your puppy is 12 weeks old, he should be wormed every two weeks. Once he is 12 weeks old, he needs monthly worming until he is 6 months old.
After your puppy has passed the 6-month mark, he can go onto an ‘adult dog’ worming schedule: every three months.
Ask your breeder or the rescue center how often they wormed your puppy. Make sure you know when the last dose was so that you can continue the same schedule.
Dewormers have no residual effect even though they’re effective after one dose.
In other words, you have to keep up your puppy’s treatment so that each generation of worms is killed as they hatch.
Deworming a puppy is something that absolutely must be done.
But it should not be done without careful consideration.
Not just what dewormer medication to give, but how much and when too.
This is why you should discuss this process with your vet.
Besides, what could be a harmful overdose in one puppy may be an appropriate amount for the next.
So don’t take any chances.
Book an appointment, and leave this to the experts.
Learn from this? You may be interested in reading my other related guides:
- Puppy Not Eating After Deworming [Why And What You Must Do]
- What Happens If You Give A Dog Too Much Wormer?
- [4 Best] Home Remedies for Parvo in Puppies and Dogs
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.