Can You Deworm a Dog After Vaccination? [Dual Protection]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

When we talk about preventive healthcare for dogs, vaccinations and deworming play a vital role in keeping your dog healthy and happy.

But what happens when these two essential treatments overlap? Can you deworm a dog after vaccination? That’s the million-dollar question pet owners often grapple with, and I’m here to provide the answers you need.

Yes, you can typically deworm a dog after vaccination. Veterinarians often administer deworming and vaccination treatments simultaneously during routine wellness visits.

In my post today, I’ll explore the significance of timing when it comes to vaccinations and deworming, lay out common concerns that you may have, and offer practical guidance to help you navigate this critical aspect of canine care.

So, buckle up and join me as we uncover the ins and outs of protecting your beloved pet from both infectious diseases and pesky parasites.

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What is Deworming for Dogs?

What is Deworming for Dogs?

Deworming, a crucial component of canine healthcare, addresses the issue of internal parasites infesting a dog’s gastrointestinal tract. 

Among the most common parasites are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms – each posing different risks to a dog’s well-being.

In a world teeming with microscopic invaders, our four-legged companions are no strangers to these unwelcome guests.

Deworming, also known as worming, is the process of administering medication to eliminate pesky parasites from a dog’s system.

When this is done properly, you significantly improve the health of your dog and also help prevent the transmission of parasites to other animals and even humans.

Deworming schedules vary based on factors like age, lifestyle, and geographic location. 

Puppies, for example, are particularly susceptible to parasites due to their developing immune systems. 

This means that they usually have to undergo a more rigorous deworming regimen (starting at just a few weeks of age).

On the other hand, adult dogs may receive deworming treatments every three months or annually, depending on their risk of exposure. 

The lifestyle of your dog plays a big part in determining the frequency: Outdoor enthusiasts or those who frequent dog parks will require more frequent treatments than homebodies.

Your vet will recommend the most suitable deworming schedule and medication for each dog’s unique circumstances.

With a diverse array of deworming products available, you as a pet owner have options like tablets, liquids, and even chewables to suit your dog’s preferences.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Dog behavior change after vaccination

Types of worms that can affect dogs

Dogs can be affected by a variety of internal parasites, commonly known as worms. These worms can cause discomfort and health problems if left untreated. 

The most prevalent types of worms that can infect dogs are as follows:

  • Roundworms (Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina): Among the most common intestinal parasites in dogs, roundworms are spaghetti-like in appearance and can grow up to several inches in length. Our puppies are most vulnerable to roundworm infections, and they usually in a pot-bellied appearance, weight loss, and diarrhea. These parasites can also be transmitted to humans, posing a risk of organ damage and vision loss.
  • Hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum, Ancylostoma braziliense, Uncinaria stenocephala): These small, thin worms latch onto a dog’s intestinal wall, feeding on blood and causing anemia, especially in puppies. Hookworms can penetrate the skin, leading to skin irritations and itching. They can also infect humans through skin contact with contaminated soil.

According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC), approximately 2.38% of dogs in the United States are infected with hookworms.

  • Whipworms (Trichuris vulpis): Resembling a whip, these worms inhabit a dog’s large intestine, causing inflammation and irritation. Symptoms of whipworm infection include diarrhea, weight loss, and dehydration. While whipworms rarely infect humans, they can be challenging to eradicate in dogs.
  • Tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum, Taenia spp., Echinococcus spp.): Tapeworms are flat, segmented worms that attach themselves to a dog’s intestinal wall. Dogs can become infected by ingesting fleas or consuming prey infected with tapeworm larvae. Tapeworm segments, resembling grains of rice, may be visible in a dog’s feces or around their rear end. Some tapeworm species can infect humans, causing serious health problems.
  • Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis): Although not an intestinal parasite, heartworms pose a significant risk to dogs’ health. Transmitted through mosquito bites, heartworm larvae migrate to the heart and pulmonary arteries, where they mature into long, thread-like worms. Over time, these worms can cause severe heart and lung damage, and even death. Preventative medications are key to protecting dogs from heartworm infections.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Gave my dog heartworm pill early

Symptoms of worm infestation in dogs

How do you know if your dog is infected by worms? 

Well, you are likely to notice a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. 

Some symptoms are specific to particular types of worms, but others are more general indicators of a parasitic infection. Here are some you need to watch out for:

  • Diarrhea: Frequent loose or bloody stools can indicate the presence of worms, such as roundworms, hookworms, or whipworms.
  • Vomiting: Dogs infected with roundworms or other parasites may vomit, sometimes even expelling worms in the process.
  • Weight loss: Despite a healthy appetite, dogs with worm infestations may struggle to gain or maintain weight due to the parasites consuming nutrients.
  • Pot-bellied appearance: Puppies with a heavy roundworm infestation can develop a swollen, pot-bellied appearance.
  • Coughing: Dogs with a severe roundworm or heartworm infection may develop a persistent cough as the worms affect the respiratory system.
  • Anemia: Pale gums, lethargy, and weakness are signs of anemia, which can result from a hookworm infection depleting the dog’s blood supply.
  • Scratching or licking rear end: Dogs with tapeworms may scoot on the ground or excessively lick their rear end due to irritation caused by tapeworm segments exiting the body.
  • Visible worms or segments: There’s no clearer indication than seeing worms in a dog’s feces or near its rear end. Roundworms resemble spaghetti, while tapeworm segments look like small grains of rice.
  • Dull coat and skin irritations: A worm infestation can cause a dog’s coat to lose its luster and may lead to skin irritations or itching, especially in the case of hookworms.
  • Changes in appetite: A dog’s appetite may increase or decrease due to the presence of internal parasites.
  • Fatigue and lethargy: Dogs with worm infestations may become less energetic and more prone to fatigue.

Suspect that your dog has a worm infestation?

I highly recommend bringing your dog in for a check-up.

Your vet can perform a fecal examination to determine the presence of parasites and recommend an appropriate deworming treatment.

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Deworming schedule for dogs

Deworming schedules can vary depending on factors such as the dog’s age, lifestyle, and location. 

Here’s a general guideline for deworming dogs:


  • Begin deworming at 2-3 weeks of age.
  • Continue deworming every two weeks until the puppy is 12 weeks old.
  • From 12 weeks to 6 months, deworm the puppy every month.
  • Once the puppy is over 6 months old, transition to an adult dog deworming schedule.

Adult dogs:

  • For most adult dogs, deworming is recommended at least every three months (four times a year).
  • If you’re someone who brings your dog out to dog parks or the great outdoors often, you need to be on high alert. 
  • Your pet is at a higher risk of exposure to parasites and may need more frequent deworming, such as monthly treatments.
  • Some heartworm preventatives also protect against certain intestinal parasites, which may impact the deworming schedule.

Pregnant and nursing dogs:

  • Got an expecting girl? Great news! But also more concerns for you now, including how and when it should be dewormed.
  • Remember to bring this up to your vet during a regular visit so that they can customize a schedule for your doggy.

Senior dogs:

  • In general, senior dogs will follow the deworming schedule recommended for adult dogs but just speak to your veterinarian to ensure the chosen deworming product is safe for older dogs.

Don’t forget, the above information is guidelines only and not set in stone.

Your veterinarian will provide the most accurate and appropriate deworming schedule for your dog, taking into account factors such as the dog’s age, lifestyle, health, and the prevalence of parasites in your region. 

What is Vaccination for dogs?

What is Vaccination for dogs?

Vaccination for dogs is a preventive healthcare measure that protects them from various infectious diseases.

By stimulating the immune system to recognize and combat pathogens, vaccines help reduce illness severity or prevent it altogether, contributing to a healthier, longer life for our canine companions.

Core and non-core vaccines are administered based on a dog’s specific needs and risk factors.

By understanding how vaccines work, you can learn to appreciate their role in safeguarding their furry companions from infectious diseases.

So, let’s take a closer look now and learn about what goes on behind the scene.

Doggy says, you might be interested to read this too: Dog shaking after vaccination

How do vaccines work?

Vaccination is a preventive healthcare measure that protects dogs from various infectious diseases, some of which can be life-threatening. 

The way they work is by stimulating a dog’s immune system to recognize and fight specific pathogens, such as viruses or bacteria, without catching the actual disease.

It’s kind of like building an armor for your dog which will come in super handy when faced with these diseases.

Doing so will help to reduce the severity of illness or prevent it altogether, contributing to a healthier and longer life for your dog.

Common vaccines for dogs

There are two main categories of vaccines for dogs:

Core vaccines: These vaccines are considered essential for all dogs, regardless of their lifestyle or where you live in the world. They are meant to protect against severe and highly contagious diseases that pose a significant risk to a dog’s health or are transmissible to humans.

Core vaccines include:

  • Canine distemper
  • Canine parvovirus
  • Canine adenovirus (hepatitis)
  • Rabies

Non-core vaccines: These vaccines are recommended based on a dog’s specific risk factors, such as lifestyle, environment, and geographic location. They protect against diseases that may not be as severe or widespread but still pose a threat to certain populations of dogs.

Non-core vaccines include:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough)
  • Canine influenza (dog flu)
  • Leptospirosis
  • Giardia
  • Lyme disease

Consider reading this too: Does Lysol kill kennel cough?

Vaccine Schedule for Dogs

A dog’s vaccination schedule typically starts with a series of vaccines administered during their first few months of life, followed by booster shots at specific intervals throughout their lifetime.

This process usually starts at around 6-8 weeks of age, with booster shots given every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is around 16 weeks old. 

Adult dogs may receive booster vaccinations every 1-3 years, depending on the specific vaccine and recommendations from your veterinarian.

Is It Safe to Deworm and Vaccinate a Puppy at the Same Time?

In most cases, it is safe to deworm and vaccinate a puppy at the same time.

Many veterinarians combine these treatments during routine wellness visits to ensure puppies receive comprehensive preventive care, and it’s also more convenient for dog owners too.

However, there are certain situations where your veterinarian might recommend spacing out the treatments.

For example, if a puppy is in poor health, dealing with an ongoing medical issue, or experiencing a particularly heavy parasite infestation, it may be better to address these concerns first before administering vaccinations.

Should I Deworm a Dog Before Vaccinating It?

In general, it is not necessary to deworm a dog before vaccinating it, as these treatments can typically be done at the same time without causing significant adverse effects.

Many veterinarians combine deworming and vaccination during routine wellness visits for puppies and adult dogs.

However, there may be situations where deworming a dog before vaccinating it is recommended.

For instance, if a dog has a heavy parasite infestation, severe anemia, or other health concerns related to the infestation, a veterinarian might advise addressing the worm problem first.

In such cases, clearing the infestation could help the dog better respond to the vaccination and reduce the risk of potential complications.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can deworming before vaccination improve the effectiveness of vaccines?

Deworming before vaccination may improve vaccine effectiveness in certain cases, particularly if a dog has a heavy parasite infestation or health concerns related to worms. By clearing the infestation first, it can help a dog better respond to vaccination.

Are there any risks associated with deworming medication?

Deworming medications are generally safe, but some dogs may experience mild side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy. In rare cases, an allergic reaction may occur, causing more severe symptoms. Always consult your veterinarian before administering a deworming medication, and closely monitor your dog for any adverse reactions.

In Conclusion: Can You Deworm a Dog After Vaccination?

The delicate dance between deworming and vaccinations is an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. 

As we’ve explored in this post, it’s typically safe to deworm a dog after vaccination, but individual circumstances, the dog breed, and health may call for a more tailored approach. 

I don’t wanna sound naggy, but both deworming and vaccinations will require professional advice from your vet!

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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