This information is for owners of pet dogs. For information on worming farm dogs, please click on the next tab "Advice for Farmers".
Dog faeces can cause serious diseases in sheep through the contamination of grass (the main food source for sheep) and water. Dog waste on grazing land can pass worms and parasites to other dogs, sheep and wildlife, so it is just as vital to clear up after you dog in the countryside as it is in the town. The eggs of worms and parasites can survive on the ground for a long time (some up to three years!) so dog mess must even be cleared from fields that do not currently have livestock grazing in them. It is also important to keep your dog thoroughly wormed all year round.
Diseases transmitted to sheep through dog faeces can be fatal, and can cause unpleasant effects such as impaired vision and neurological symptoms. Some can cause a sheep’s meat to be condemned, making the animal worthless. Sheep are valuable assets and the loss of a sheep or of the value of a sheep’s meat is a significant financial blow to a farmer.
Tips for worming your dog
- Worming your dog at least every three months not only benefits your pet, but also other dogs, people (particularly children), wildlife and livestock.
- You dog may be carrying intestinal worms without showing any symptoms, so don't assume he or she does not need worming. If left untreated you may notice vomiting, lethargy, a dull coat, a pot-bellied appearance, lack of appetite, or your dog may ‘scoot’ its bottom along the ground.
- Drontal is one wormer product that dog owners can select, which kills every type of intestinal worm commonly found in UK dogs and cats with a single dose, so speak to your vet about the different products available and which worms they kill.
- Once you have selected a wormer product to use, make sure you provide the right dose for the size of dog.
- Other ways to reduce worm infections in dogs include rigorous kennel hygiene, avoiding feeding unsterilised pet food and discouraging your dog from scavenging on carcases. Routinely treating for fleas can also help, as fleas can carry tapeworm larvae.