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Health FAQ

My dog is eating his own poop – it’s disgusting! What can I do?

As off-putting as it seems, there is a natural explanation for this less than endearing behaviour. The eating of faeces is known as ‘coprophagia’ and is most often seen in puppies (they mimic the behaviour of their mother who will eat their faeces to keep the nesting area clean).

Most puppies quickly grow out of it. But occasionally an adult dog will indulge in a spot of farm manure or another pet’s poop. Yum.

The best way to avoid this behaviour is simply to remove the opportunity! Keep your garden poo-free and gently pull or call your dog away from temptation when you’re out for a walk.

Sometimes coprophagia is caused by a dietary imbalance, so check that you’re feeding your dog the right amount and type of food to suit his needs.

How often should I worm my dog?

Dogs are prone to two types of worm: the roundworm and the tapeworm. It’s not always obvious when your dog has them, so worming him regularly is the best precaution.

Puppies should be wormed as soon as they’re old enough, so ask your vet when, and which wormer to use.


Commonly found in puppies and kittens, roundworms (Toxacara) can also affect adult dogs and cats. The worms are carried by the mother and passed on to her offspring before they’re even born. That’s why you should get your puppy wormed as soon as your vet recommends.

Roundworms are usually cream coloured and spaghetti-like in appearance. Your dog can pass them at either end if he’s severely affected. And it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s a risk of human infection, especially in children. So for everyone’s sake it’s important to get the worming done.


A bit like small grains of rice in appearance, tapeworms can often appear around your dog’s bottom. There are several different types that can infect dogs and cats and one of these is carried by fleas. If your dog ingests a flea while he’s grooming, you can see how easy it is for him to pick up worms as well.

Ask your vet about the most appropriate treatment for your dog. They come in pastes, powders, tablets and liquids so there’ll be one that he’s comfortable with.

I think my dog has fleas – what should I do?

Fleas are an ecto-parasite which means they live outside the body. In the UK, the cat flea is the most common, but they will happily live on your dog – and you – all year round.

But don’t panic. Although fleas are a nuisance, they are a common problem and easy to deal with. There are lots of effective flea treatments available and what you use depends on the size and type of pet. Just make sure you treat all the dogs and cats in your household at the same time.

As fleas can carry tapeworms, and your dog could easily swallow a flea while he’s grooming, it makes sense to worm him if you discover he has fleas.

Vigorous vacuuming is also a good idea as flea eggs can be hard to spot on carpets and bedding. And a good squirt of flea spray will help you make absolutely sure you’ve got things under control.

Why does my dog need vaccinations?

As well as giving him vital protection against diseases, taking your dog for vaccinations means your vet gets to see him for regular check-ups. Both are really important to keep your best friend at his healthy happy best.

A puppy’s first vaccination is usually given at around 8 weeks with a second at 10-12 weeks. He’ll be fully protected 2 weeks after the second dose, and yearly vaccinations will maintain his immunity.

It’s well worth the visit to keep him safe from :

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Parainfluenza
  • Infectious hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Bordatella bronchiseptca (kennel cough)

Although your dog will be vaccinated against kennel cough as a matter of course, it’s especially important to make sure he’s protected if he has regular contact with other dogs at training classes or shows, or if he’s due to stay in kennels.

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