Ugh, it's bad enough that your cat had worms, but now that she's parasite-free your dog's got them. If you still have any worming medication left over from your cat's treatment you could be tempted to just give it to your dog, but that might not work out.
If you compare the ingredient list of dog and cat worming medications you'll notice that some contain the same ingredients. Drugs like praxiquantel are available under different brand names, but can be found in worm medications for both dogs and cats.
Just because dog and cat worm treatments may appear identical based on the ingredients they're formulated with doesn't mean that it's a good idea to treat your dog with your cat's medication or vice versa. Worming medications that are pet-specific are that way for a reason. Sometimes the difference between the medications is the amounts of the ingredients used. The dosing amounts will be different, too, based on your pet's size. There are preventative medications for heartworm for both dogs and cats, but while dogs can be treated with injections once they're infected, cats cannot be treated the same way if they get heartworm. In some cases a medication that's effective for a dog is toxic to cats, so it's wise to let your vet prescribe worming medications for your dog and cat rather than treating them yourself.
The type of worms your dog and cat suffer from are an issue when it comes to treating one pet with medication prescribed for another. If your cat had roundworms and your dog has tapeworms your cat's medicine won't be effective in ridding your dog of the parasites no matter how well it worked for your cat. If any of your furry "children" are afflicted with worms, always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet. Your family vet is the best person to determine which type of worms your pet has and prescribe the appropriate medication and advise on dosage amounts.
Prevention: Best for Dogs and Cats
The one thing you can do that will be effective for both your dog and cat is to take preventative measures to keep them from getting any type of worms in the first place. Almost all kittens and puppies are born with worms and they can get them from their mothers when they nurse too. That's why routine veterinary puppy and kitten care includes worm medication. After 12 months of age have your vet test your pets' stool yearly to ensure they haven't been invaded by the little parasites, and when possible limit their chances of eating birds, mice or other animals that could be carrying worms. Other parasites can be another way for your dog or cat to contract worms. Eliminating fleas is a big step in preventing worms for your dog and cat.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- ASPCA: Dog Care: Heartworm
- ASPCA: Cat Care: Heartworm
- WebMD: Roundworms in Cats
- VeterinaryPartner.com: Roundworms: Dogs and Puppies
- The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Health Books
- Susy Harper; Service Specialist, Alta Animal Hospital; Pocatello, Idaho
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.