6 foods that can ward off worms in your dog

Intestinal worms are more common in our canine companions than you may think. A variety of foods, from kefir to oats, can help keep these unwanted parasites at bay.

Worms are incredibly common in the intestinal tracts of our dogs, especially when they’re puppies. Some of the symptoms caused by these parasites include diarrhea, weight loss, inappetence, vomiting, lethargy, and a dull coat. This article presents a list of whole foods, along with a couple of supplements, that can help your dog “ward off worms.”

1. Pumpkin seeds

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pumpkin seeds are recognized for their sweet and neutral properties, and belong to the “Herbs that Expel Parasites” category, especially when it comes to pin worms and round worms.

Pumpkin seeds are packed with nutrition. They are a valuable source of zinc, which is concentrated in the very thin layer found underneath the shell. They also contain the full spectrum of vitamin E, manganese, phenolic antioxidants and antioxidant phytonutrients like lignans, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, and iron. Pumpkin seeds, as well as the extract and oil, have antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties.

When it comes to worms, curcurbitin is the key component in pumpkin seeds. It is a compound with anti-parasitic properties that has the capacity to paralyze worms in the intestines and digestive tract.

Preparation and use

  • Purchase certified organic, raw pumpkin seeds. Grind them in a food processor or coffee grinder, and add 1/4 teaspoon per ten pounds of body weight to your dog’s food. Keep in mind that raw pumpkin seeds can go rancid quite easily; they can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two months.
  • For a tasty treat or meal topper, lightly-roasted pumpkin seeds can be shared with your dog. Simply preheat your oven to 175°F. Place pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper, bake for 15 to 20 minutes, then cool. Grind the seeds or keep them whole; you can add a sprinkle of sea salt too.

2. Kefir

Often referred to as the “grain of life,” kefir is a fermented milk product that has a very long history. Kefir grains consist of casein (protein) and gelatinous colonies of microorganisms that are grown together. One absolutely amazing thing about kefir grains is that the culture is a living organism with an indefinite lifespan, so you can use the grains over and over again. Packed with probiotics, this whole food has anti-fungal properties, helps relieve flatulence, kills yeast — and has anti-parasitic properties. You may be surprised to learn that kefir contains ten strains of beneficial bacteria.

Preparation and use

It’s easy to make your own kefir:

  1. Place 1 to 2 tablespoons of kefir grains in a sterilized glass jar. Large mason jars work well.
  2. Add 2 cups of fresh milk. Try goat or sheep milk; you can even use almond or coconut milk. Room temperature works best.
  3. Gently stir with a wooden spoon
  4. Cover the jar with cheesecloth or a tea towel, then place the jar somewhere out of direct sunlight (e.g. a cupboard).
  5. Leave the kefir grains and milk to ferment for at least 24 hours, but no more than 48 hours.
  6. Pour the contents of the glass jar into a strainer.
  7. The final step is to put your strained grains into a new sterilized jar, so you are all set to begin to make your next batch of kefir. The grains can be rested in the refrigerator for up to seven days, covered in milk or yogurt. If you want to wait longer before making a new batch of kefir, simply add fresh milk or yogurt to your kefir grains.

Kefir is a great topper for any meal. It provides the gastrointestinal tract with beneficial bacteria, and contains not only probiotics, but vitamins, amino acids, and natural enzymes to help keep worms at bay. Begin with 1 teaspoon for small dogs, 2 teaspoons for medium-sized dogs, and 1 tablespoon for large dogs.

3. Carrots

Carrots are a powerhouse of nutrients. There are over 100 varieties, and each is a storehouse of nutrients. Carrots contain pro-vitamin A, also known as beta-carotene, vitamins B, C, D, E and K, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, iron, magnesium, manganese, sulphur, copper, and iodine. The beta-carotene found in carrots is the key to helping destroy the eggs of intestinal worms; additionally, the texture of carrots helps gently scour the intestinal tract.

Preparation and use

Grated raw carrots are best for parasites, and are perfect as a meal topper. Try 2 teaspoons per day for small dogs, 4 teaspoons for medium-sized dogs, and 2 tablespoons for large dogs. Alternatively, try the following recipe.

4. Coconut

Coconut is rich is digestible oils, and also provides an excellent source of fiber. Dry, unsweetened, dessicated coconut acts as a vermifuge, helping to remove worm eggs from dogs.

Preparation and use

The use of coconut in animals was pioneered by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, author of The Complete Handbook for the Dog and Cat (1955) and The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable (1952). She recommends that one dessert spoon of desiccated coconut be given to average-sized dogs, three or four  times a week, so consider 1 teaspoon for small dogs or 1 tablespoon for large dogs, or simply use as a sprinkle on meals.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric has been used for health and healing since 250 BC, when it was cited in a Sanskrit medical treatise used for Ayurvedic and Unani medical systems as an ingredient in an ointment to combat food poisoning. Curcumin, the active constituent of turmeric, has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-viral, and anti-microbial properties.

It has also been found that turmeric has anti-parasitic properties. A study conducted in 2017 demonstrated that when whole turmeric powder was suspended in olive oil, “parasite worm burden” was lessened to a significant degree. Another study showed that curcumin alone inhibited Giardia proliferation.

Preparation and use

  • An infusion of turmeric is one way to provide a revitalizing tonic that helps fight parasites in your dog. Simply take 1 teaspoon of organic turmeric powder and place it in a strainer in a cup. Fill the cup with freshly boiled filtered water. Cover the cup with a plate and leave it to infuse (steep) for five to ten minutes. For dosage, 125 ml can be used with a small dog, 250 ml for medium to large dogs, and 500 ml for giant breeds.
  • Alternatively, add a sprinkle of turmeric to your dog’s meals, and try a drizzle of first-pressed olive oil to go along with it.

6. Oats

Oats are classified as one of the world’s healthiest foods.  They are nutrient-dense and provide sustained energy. Even when oats are hulled, they still retain all their fiber and nutrients.

Oats contain manganese, selenium, tryptophan, phosphorus, vitamin B1, dietary fiber, magnesium, and protein. Oats, oat bran, and oatmeal contain a special type of fiber called beta-glucan, shown to lower cholesterol, helping to reduce the risk of heart disease, and supporting the immune system’s response to bacterial infections, viruses, fungi, and parasites.

Preparation and use

Add ½ teaspoon of organic oat bran to a small dog’s diet, 1 teaspoon for a medium-sized dog, and 2 teaspoons for a large dog, or give the following recipe a try.

Supplements for intestinal parasites

Grapefruit seed extract

Grapefruit seed extract first came into use in the 1970s, when immunologist Dr. Jacob Harich was looking for an alternative to antibiotics that was non-toxic and would help the body resist bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. He found what he was looking for in the seeds and connecting tissue of the grapefruit.

GSE exhibits significant antimicrobial activity at low concentration. It is great for diarrhea and helps treat a variety of parasites and viruses. It is particularly beneficial as part of your arsenal for fighting Giardia. My kitchen cupboard and first aid kit are never without it.

To use: Add 1 drop per ten pounds body weight to your dog’s food.

Oil of oregano

Oregano has a long and colorful history. The ancient Greeks were among the first to use this herb for its medicinal properties. Wild oregano is rich in calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, potassium, copper, boron, and manganese, as well as vitamins A and C, and niacin.

Oil of oregano is often referred to as “the cure in the cupboard.” Its two phenols, carvacrol and thymol, give it potent antiseptic, fungicidal, and worm-repellant properties.

To use: Simply add 1 to 3 drops to your dog’s food to help ward off worms.

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