Worming Day Has Come and Gone

There are a few days in the year that I really DO NOT look forward to, and George’s worming day is one of them. To be fair, George doesn’t like it either. In fact, he hates it,  which is probably what makes me so uncomfortable with it.

I am a bit ambivalent about the whole worming theory anyway. I know people who only worm their dogs when and if it is necessary, i.e. when and if the dogs have actually got worms. I admit I can see some logic in it. We don’t treat our kids or ourselves for all sorts of conditions before we’re actually confronted with them – you know, just in case! – so why should we do that to our pets?

I also know people who worm their dogs as much as 4 times a year, as per their vet’s instructions. The justification for this has to do with the incubation and life cycle of various types of worms and the damage that these can cause to the dogs or, potentially, any humans that they may come in contact with. The aim is to provide the dog with all-year-round protection. That makes sense, too.

Having considered both extremes, I find that I sit somewhere in the middle. Although I’m not a big fan of stuffing my dog with chemicals when he can do without them, I’m not comfortable with the idea of no protection at all, either. We live in a city with a large dog population, so George is exposed to whatever the other dogs are carrying. We also live near a nature reserve, so he’s exposed to whatever the wildlife are carrying, too. On top of this, he is a super sniffer/licker…

If we only had George’s health to consider, the above arguments might not have been enough. After all he’s never ever had any worms (or eggs). And believe me, I always check! But we’ve got Brianna to think about, plus her friends and our little nephews. They all love George and like to share cuddles and kisses with him. And we can’t risk infecting them with nasty worms, can we? So we took all these worries to out vet and asked for his advice. 

This is how we came to the solution of worming George twice a year. Two days of hassle are much better than four days of hassle. But I still don’t look forward to them. I’ll tell you why.

At the vet’s and some whippet breeders’ advice, we give George Drontal Plus worming tablets. There have been reports of whippets developing bad reactions to other types of tablets, so we decided to stick to what seems to be the best choice. For his weight, George is supposed to take 1 1/2 tablets. And this is where the stress begins.


The tablets are flavoured, therefore supposed to appeal to dogs and tickle their taste buds. Apparently, some dogs would do anything to get their paws on one of these. Well, unsurprisingly, my dog disagrees. He dislikes the tablets so much that he tries to hide as soon as he hears me open the packet.

In the early days, we tried to offer George the tablets as a treat, trying not to make much fuss about it. He didn’t eat them. Then we broke them into small pieces and hid them in his food. He didn’t eat that day. Next, we crushed them into a fine powder, which we sprinkled in his food. Again, he went hungry. Knowing how much he loves his liver cake, we tried these steps once more, replacing his food with the liver treats. The result was the same. A hungry dog, two stressed owners and quite a few wasted tablets.

In the end, there was only one thing left to try…Shoving the tablets down his throat! Luckily, it worked, so we’ve stuck with it ever since. It’s still not a very pleasant experience, but it does the trick. Here’s what happens when it’s worming time.

I take the tablets out of the packet and George tries to make himself invisible in his bed. His dad nudges him out and sits him on his chair (same chair you’ve seen in many of our photos). I break up the tablets in two and stick 3 of the 4 halves on the tip of my finger, using a bit of water. Then I approach George and ask him to open his mouth, which he doesn’t want to do. So I gently open his jaws myself and shove the tablets at the back of his mouth, as far as I can reach. My husband closes George’s mouth tightly and holds his head back, stroking his neck until he swallows the tablets. If I’ve managed to push them far enough, they go down straight away and the whole process is finished within seconds. If I miss the target, then George will try to chew and spit them out, which makes it a messier job.


Either way, the whippet gets his right dose of medicine and my husband and I can relax for another 6 months. When it’s all done, George is rewarded with a few ‘good boy’ liver treats (which he checks carefully first) and then spends the next few hours sulking. 

Normally, he’d make friends with his dad by the end of the day, but would continue to be upset with me – “the tablet person” – for another day or two. Last week, however, when we wormed him again, he put up less of a fight and decided to forgive me within the hour. I’m happy. Maybe my boy is growing up. Maybe he’s slowly accepting that he has to take those tablets. Maybe worming doesn’t have to be such a chore after all.



Filed under Health

23 responses to “Worming Day Has Come and Gone

  1. Sounds like George is resolved to the inconvenience. And if it means more liver treats, well, maybe it’s not sooo bad! And I can understand how you want to protect everyone, including George, so seems to make good sense to go through the process. Your compromise of 2x/year is ideal. I think worming is a much more routine process for puppies here in the states (at least to my knowledge). If a dog gets worm between your pill schedule, are there noticeable signs that are treatable?

    • As as I said in the post, George has never had worms, so I don’t know about this first hand. But from what I’ve read and what the vet said, you’ll definitely know if your dogs have got worms. First of all, the dogs will get an itchy bottom and try to rub it on the grass whenever they get the chance. Then they’ll most likely go off their food and some would even be sick or develop diarrhoea. Also, there should be worms/eggs visible in their poop (if you’ve got the stomach to look carefully). I believe all this is treatable…

  2. Your story sounds all too familiar! My husband and I have had the most difficult time coaxing Maple to take her worming tablets, which she absolutely detests. We explored every possible means of disguising the worming tablets in her food. After many failed attempts, however, we had no other choice but to administer the tablet manually by inserting it down Maple’s throat. Maple’s a tiny gal with a small mouth cavity and short trachea, so the procedure was over in a split second. But that didn’t make us feel any better! Next time I’ll have to remember to reward Maple with some liver treats, like you do for George. Hopefully the liver treats will stop her from holding a grudge against us…

    • Poor Maple, she’s the same as George, then! Poor you, too…We’re the same, fighting the guilt feelings afterwards. It’s for their own good, though…

  3. Oh darn, I thought Worming Day would be some British holiday like Boxing Day or something.

    Glad George is getting used to the routine!

    • 😀 😀 You would, wouldn’t you! Sorry to dissapoint you 😛 It’s funny, this time I wasn’t trying to ‘trick’ the reader… I thought it was a pretty straightforward and ‘clear’ title 🙂

  4. I know how you feel. I really hate having to ‘force’ something on my dogs like that. Lucky for me I can get worm pills down them by hiding them in extra special treats, my thing is toenails:( I’m glad George is coming round to loving you again sooner these days!

  5. Poor George. Our dogs hate taking pills too, and Roxie’s on a long stretch of antibiotics because of her dental surgery. I gave heartworm pills to all three of mine tonight. The best way I’ve found to pill a dog is to put it in something sticky, like cream cheese or peanut butter. I usually try to stick it to the roof of their mouths and it’s so gooey they can’t spit it out. Works like a charm! (for me anyway) Good luck to you and George!

    • You know, peanut butter or cream cheese sounds like a great idea. George likes any type of cheese anyway, and I’m sure he’d love peanut butter…I’ll try that next time and see how it goes. Thanks for the tip, Kristin. x

  6. Poor George…but also smart George. I love reading how George kept refusing his food knowing there’s something in it… (But George, eating your food with the tablet’s powder is much easier for everyone than the last trick your mom did).

    I wonder if turtles need worming too…hmm. I hope they don’t. I have enough experience pushing through antibiotic to Kame’s mouth. It needed 2 people to do that.

    • Yeah, you tell him, Novroz, he might listen to you…
      2 people to give Kame an antibiotic?? Gosh, she’s one strong girl, isn’t she? For your sake, I hope turtles don’t need worming 😉

  7. We are fortunate that Sia will take any medication right out of our hands without hesitation. Corran however, is another matter all together. He takes his meds just like George, and he always knows when it’s time. If he even gets a whiff of a pill, he’ll hide under my van, the deck, bushes or anything else he can flee under. I always have to grab him by the waist, put him on my shoulder, bring him in and hold him down. I totally sympathize with you Didi.

    • Oh, it’s so nice to find someone who’s in the same boat and can fully understand your struggle…Thanks, Lionel, that makes me feel better, although I’m sorry to hear that Corran’s causing you the same problems George is causing me … We haven’t had to put George on our shoulders yet, and hopefully we won’t have to. He doesn’t like being picked up either 😦

  8. I was given a great tip for getting a dog to swallow after you have inserted a pill. Hold the mouth closed and gently blow on the dog’s nose. This causes them to lick their nose and swallow. I have no idea why, but it works for us. Good luck! Jane

  9. lifewith4cats

    His refusals to eat them Is probable a sign of great inteligence if you think about it. His super sniffer can probably pick out the pesticide smell and his instincts tell him not to eat. Kinda like in some of the old woodsman tales I read about smart foxes who out wit the trapper by not taking poison meat.

    Im working my way through the archives to get what I missed.

  10. Helen

    Hi there – poor old George! I give my dog a combined flea and worming treatment that you just put on the back of his neck – but I have just thought maybe like you were saying this isn’t suitable for whippets? It certainly saves a lot of hassle and hurt doggy feelings though 🙂

    • Hi, Helen, and thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I really like the idea of a worming treatment that you can just put on your dog. It sounds much easier. I’m not sure it would work on whippets, though, because of their very thin fur. Maybe the treatment wouldn’t stay on long enough to work to its full effect? It may be silly, but I don’t think I’d trust it enough…

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