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Best Over-the-Counter Dewormers for Dogs 

You’ve probably seen this scenario a hundred times. Your dog goes outside, rolls around in the dirt, sniffs other dogs’ poop, puts its nose in the soil, and even grabs a stick or two to bring home for safekeeping.  

It’s just basic puppy-nature. They can’t help it. The problem is all of these things expose it to all kinds of larvae and eggs in the environment which can lead to worm infections. It’s very hard to keep your dog away from potential sources of contamination.  

The best you can do is have a good over-the-counter dewormer when infection comes knocking. The real question is: what qualifies as good? Or an even better question: what over the counter dewormer is the best? Let’s find out.   

Symptoms of Worm Infections 

Worms are not only disgusting and unpleasant, but they can take a toll on your pup’s health. It’s important to always keep an eye out for signs or symptoms of a worm infection. Here are a few common symptoms that might warrant an over-the-counter dewormer for dogs.  

  • Appetite changes 
  • Potbelly appearance 
  • Fatigue and lethargy 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Weight loss 
  • Butt-scooting 
  • Excessive anal licking 
  • Poor coat appearance and fur that lacks luster 

The Best Over-the-Counter Dewormers for Dogs 

Now that we have some basic understanding of what worms can do to your dog’s health, let’s look at the best products that can fight them.  

1. Safeguard 4 Canine Dewormers 

First up is the Safeguard 4 Canine Dewormer. This over-the-counter dewormer might be extremely simple and easy to use, but don’t underestimate its effectiveness.  

Safeguard can eliminate several types of nematodes as well as a particularly annoying type of tapeworm. If your dog is suffering from roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, or tapeworms, this is one of the best over-the-counter dewormers you can try.  

Safeguard 4 comes in the form of fine powder or granules that are kept in small, air-tight packets. This makes administration easier because all you have to do is empty the packet onto your dog’s food and mix it in. Your dog won’t even know it’s there! 

The important thing to remember is that, like most over-the-counter dewormers, Safeguard 4 has a specific dosing regimen. You’ll need to administer Safeguard for 3 consecutive days for it to work its magic.  

This is to ensure there aren’t any residual worms, larvae, or eggs still hiding out in your dog’s tummy.  

Dosing  

Another important thing you need to consider is how much Safeguard 4 to give your pup. Unlike most over-the-counter dewormers for dogs, Safeguard doesn’t come with a rocket-science dosing formula.  

There’s a simple rule of thumb. Administer 1 gram of Safeguard for every 10 pounds your dog weighs. For example, if your pup weighs 25 pounds, you’ll need about 2.5g of Safeguard 4. Simple, right?  

Safety Profile 

Now, we’re talking about an over-the-counter dewormer for dogs that can get rid of roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. It’s pretty effective, which means it might be too strong for some pups, right? Wrong. It’s perfectly safe.  

Safeguard 4 is one of the few over-the-counter dewormers that are selectively toxic to worms while completely harmless to dogs. In fact, it’s considered safe for adults, puppies from the age of 6 weeks, and even pregnant dogs!  

That says a lot because very few over-the-counter dewormers are proven safe for young pups and pregnant mothers. In other words, you can fight those pesky worms all you want without having to worry about your furry buddy’s safety.  

Active ingredient and Spectrum of Activity 

The secret ingredient behind Safeguard 4’s effectiveness is fenbendazole. It’s been on the market for quite some time now and has been proven to be reliable and safe. Safeguard 4 is a perfect over-the-counter dewormer in case of these infections: 

  • Canid roundworms (Toxascaris leonina) 
  • Dog roundworms (Toxocara canis) 
  • Dog hookworms (Ancyclostoma caninum) 
  • Northern canine hookworm (Uncinaria stenocephala) 
  • Dog whipworms (Trichuris vulpis) 
  • Rabbit tapeworms (Taenia pisiformis) 

Pros 

  • Excellent reviews from satisfied dog owners who have tried it 
  • Very effective at getting rid of worms including roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms 
  • Easy to use and simple instructions 
  • Simple dosing method 
  • The active ingredient has been around for some time and has been proven to be reliable 
  • Excellent safety profile 
  • Great taste that is easily tolerated by dogs 

Cons 

  • Might cause some mild nausea in very rare cases, although this is a normal side effect for most over-the-counter dewormers. 

  

2. Durvet Triple Dog Dewormer 

While Safeguard 4 is pretty effective, it’s not the only impressive over-the-counter dewormer for dogs on the market. Durvet Triple Dog Dewormer is a close competitor.  

Durvet comes in the form of a small, high-quality chewable tablet. It’s famous for fighting roundworms, hookworms, and most importantly, seven different strains of tapeworms. This is the main factor that sets Durvet apart from Safeguard 4.  

If you’re dealing with tapeworms, then you definitely want the over-the-counter dewormer that specializes in 7 different strains, in contrast to just one. That being said, Durvet doesn’t seem to be the best choice when it comes to whipworms.  

These chewable Durvet tablets come in packs of 12. You won’t need all 12 of them for one course of treatment but chances are you might need to repeat a dose or two in a few weeks so it’s nice to have a little extra 

Dosing 

Determining the right dose for your dog is super easy. If your dog weighs between 25 and 50 pounds, it needs one tablet of DurvetIf it weighs between 50 and 100, give it two tablets. If your dog is somewhere around 150 pounds, it’ll need 3 tablets of Durvet 

Dogs weighing more than 150 pounds- yes you’ve guessed it- will require 4 tablets of Durvet to get the job done. In other words, all you need to do is weigh your dog and you’ll know the number of tablets to give it.  

Now, chewable tablets aren’t quite like powders or granules. You can’t mix them with food because there’s a small chance your pup won’t eat them. Luckily, Durvet is delicious. You can literally give it to your pup as a treat and it’ll practically ask for seconds.  

Safety Profile 

Durvet is pretty safe, but it’s not recommended for very young pups. You should only administer it to dogs 12 weeks or older. Also, you should stay away from pregnant or nursing dogs. Durvet hasn’t been tested on them so it’s better to stay safe.  

Active Ingredient and Spectrum of Activity 

The reason Durvet is such a powerful over-the-counter dewormer is that it contains not one, but two active ingredients: pyrantel pamoate and praziquantelBoth are extremely effective and cover a wide range of worm infections including: 

  • Dog tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum) 
  • Rabbit tapeworms (Taenia pisiformis) 
  • Canid roundworms (Toxascaris leonina) 
  • Dog roundworms (Toxocara canis) 
  • Dog hookworms (Ancyclostoma caninum) 
  • Northern canine hookworm (Uncinaria stenocephala) 
  • Canine and feline hookworm (Ancyclostoma braziliense) 

Pros 

  • Great taste so administration isn’t a hassle 
  • Excellent reviews 
  • Powerful against several infections 
  • Covers a wide range of tapeworm species, unlike most over-the-counter dewormers 
  • Easy dosing method 

Cons 

  • Safety hasn’t been tested for pups younger than 12 weeks, pregnant dogs, and nursing pups. 

 

3. Sentry HC WormX Plus Dog Dewormer 

If you like the idea of chewable tablets but want an over-the-counter dewormer for a young pup, Sentry HC WormX Plus might be the best choice for you.  

Much like Durvet, Sentry HC comes in the form of delicious chewable tablets that can be given to your pup as a treat. It’s effective against several types of worm infections including roundworms, hookworms, and pesky strains of tapeworms.  

While there are special versions of Sentry HC for dogs that weigh more than 25 pounds, these tablets are mainly designed for small pups weighing between 6 and 25 pounds. In other words, Sentry HC is marketed for small pups with stubborn worm infections.  

Dosing 

The dosing regimen for this over-the-counter dewormer is quite simple. If your dog weighs between 6 and 12 pounds, one tablet of Sentry should do the trick. If it weighs between 12 and 25 pounds, you’ll need 2 tablets, instead. See? Simple.  

Another great thing is that you only need to administer this over-the-counter dewormer once a month. Basically, you just give your pup a tablet or two and forget about the worm problem.  

Active Ingredient and Spectrum of Activity 

Much like Durvet, Sentry HC contains two active ingredients: pyrantel pamoate and praziquantelThis over-the-counter dewormer is uniquely formulated to be effective against:  

  • Dog tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum) 
  • Rabbit tapeworms (Taenia pisiformis) 
  • Canid roundworms (Toxascaris leonina) 
  • Dog roundworms (Toxocara canis) 
  • Dog hookworms (Ancyclostoma caninum) 
  • Northern canine hookworm (Uncinaria stenocephala) 
  • Canine and feline hookworm (Ancyclostoma braziliense) 

 

Pros 

  • Effective and reliable  
  • Easy to use 
  • Needs to be taken just once a month 
  • Great for young pups 

Cons 

  • Safety profile hasn’t been tested on pregnant or nursing dogs 

 

4. Sentry WormX Double Strength Dewormer 

If you’re not so keen about granules and chewable tablets, here’s another great over-the-counter dewormer in the form of a liquid suspension. You can pour it right into your eager pup’s mouth or simply mix it in with its food.  

Sentry WormX is effective against hookworms and roundworms. It might not be the best choice if you’re dealing with tapeworms. That being said, it’s loved by dogs and dog owners alike!  

Dosing 

Sentry WormX is pretty easy to use once you know the proper dose your pup requires. Here’s a simple rule of thumb. For every 10 pounds your pup weighs, give it 5mL of Sentry WormX. That’s roughly 1 teaspoon.  

Luckily, if you don’t have a spoon handy, there’s no hassle. Sentry WormX comes with a measuring cup that allows you to give accurate doses at all times. Much like the last over-the-counter dewormer from Sentry, this one only needs to be given once a month.  

Safety Profile 

You can give Sentry WormX to puppies and dogs weighing up to 120 pounds. It’s quite safe and has been proven to be reliable. That being said, it hasn’t been tested on pregnant or lactating dogs so you should check with your vet in these cases.  

Active Ingredients and Spectrum of Activity 

Sentry WormX contains just one active ingredient: pyrantel pamoate. Perhaps this is the reason it has a smaller spectrum of activity than its older brother Sentry HC, which had praziquantel along with pyrantel.  

That being said, this over-the-counter dewormer still works against several worm infections including:  

  • Dog roundworms (Toxocara canis) 
  • Canid roundworms (Toxascaris leonina) 
  • Dog hookworms (Ancyclostoma caninum) 
  • Northern canine hookworm (Uncinaria stenocephala) 

Pros 

  • Easy to use and simple instructions 
  • Only needs to be administered once a month 
  • Great for fighting hookworm and roundworm infections 
  • Suitable for young pups and dogs up to 120 pounds 
  • Comes with a measuring cup for easy dose estimation 

Cons 

  • Doesn’t work against some types of worms 
  • Safety hasn’t been tested in pregnant and lactating females 

 

5. Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer for Dogs 

As you’ve probably guessed from the name, this over-the-counter dewormer for dogs is specifically made to fight tapeworm infections. Anyone who’s heard of Bayer knows that it’s on a whole other level in the world of pharmaceuticals. It only makes the best of the best.  

This over-the-counter dewormer is just another example. While it doesn’t have a very large spectrum, you can be sure that if your dog is suffering from tapeworms, it’ll get the job done! 

Dosing 

Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer comes in the form of tiny tablets that can be given directly to your dog or crumbled and mixed with its food. Each bottle of this over-the-counter dewormer for dogs contains 5 tablets.  

     Like most dewormers, the correct dose depends on your dog’s weight. Here’s a quick rundown:  

  • Less than 5 pounds: half a tablet 
  • 6-10 pounds: 1 tablet 
  • 11-15 pounds: 1.5 tablets 
  • 16-30 pounds: 2 tablets 
  • 31-45 pounds: 3 tablets 
  • 46-60 pounds: 4 tablets 
  • Over 60 pounds: 5 tablets 

It might seem complicated but it’s actually quite simple. Just find out how much your dog weighs and you’ll instantly know how many tablets to give it.  

Active ingredient and spectrum of activity  

This over-the-counter dewormer for dogs contains just one active ingredient: praziquantel. That’s all you need if you’re specifically targeting tapeworms. Some of the most common tapeworm infections Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer can help with include: 

  • Dog tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum) 
  • Rabbit tapeworms (Taenia pisiformis) 

 

Pros 

  • Dogs love the taste  
  • It gets rid of tapeworms which usually cause a stubborn type of infection 
  • Easy to use 
  • Simple dosing instructions 
  • Made by a world-leader in pharmaceuticals 
  • Safe for young and small pups 

Cons 

  • Only works against tapeworms 

 

How to Choose the Best Over-the-Counter Dewormer for Dogs 

When it comes to over-the-counter dewormers for dogs there are tons of options on the market. It’s not always easy to pick the perfect one for your dog’s case. However, there are a few things to keep in mind that’ll make your decision much easier to make.  

Active ingredient 

The first thing that separates one over-the-counter dewormer from another is its active ingredient(s). Each active ingredient has its own range of activity and covers certain species of worms.  

If you already know or suspect your dog might have a specific type of worm infection, then you’re better off choosing a product that selectively eliminates those worms. There are tons of products on the market but generally speaking, you’ll find most contain one of three active ingredients. 

  • Fenbendazole: perfect for roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. However, it’s not very powerful against tapeworms.  
  • Pyrantel Pamoate: great for roundworms and hookworms. You’ll usually find it in a combination with praziquantel to expand a product’s activity spectrum.  
  • Praziquantel: best choice when you’re dealing with tapeworms.  

 

Safety Profile 

Safety is another important factor to consider. Before you pick which over-the-counter dewormer you want for your dog, you need to think if its active ingredient is safe for your pup.  

For example, out of the 3 most popular active ingredients, you’ll find that fenbendazole is the safest for pregnant and lactating dogs. Pyrantel and praziquantel, on the other hand, aren’t recommended in these cases.  

You should also consider how young your pup is. Most over-the-counter dewormers for dogs are only safe from a certain age.  

 

Dosage form 

While dosage form isn’t the decisive factor when it comes to over-the-counter dewormers, you might want to consider your pup’s preferences. Some dewormers come in the form of tablets, liquid suspensions, powders, granules, and chewable tablets.  

Powders and liquids are usually not very palatable, with the exception of a few products on the market. Chewable tablets, on the other hand, are made to be like a treat and have great taste.  

 

Conclusion 

Dog owners have been struggling with worm infections since the beginning of time. These pesky worms just don’t know when to quit. That being said, worms may be natural and unavoidable, but you need to eliminate them as soon as possible.  

Pick a good over-the-counter dewormer for your dog and don’t let those little earth-crawlers take a toll on your pup’s health.  

 

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