Deworming pets keeps them free from intestinal worms and heartworms that may shorten their lifespan, cause illness and require expensive veterinary treatment. Deworming generally costs just a few dollars per month.
Types of Worms
There are four main types of intestinal worms in dogs and cats: large roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms. Heartworms are another parasite that require monthly preventative, especially in dogs.
The easiest way to ensure your animal is taking the right dewormers is to ask your veterinarian to check a sample of your pet's stool, then treat for the worms that are present. This should be done annually, because animals that spend time outside or with other animals can easily fall victim to new parasites.
All adult dogs should be on a monthly heartworm preventative. The simplest form---such as Heartgard---only affects heartworms and costs about $3 to $6 per month. But others like Heartgard Plus, Tri-Heart Plus and Iverhart Max have multiple drugs in one dose that can also kill roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms. Most of these don't cost much more than the basic form: a single dose for an adult dog also runs about $3 to $6 a month.
Heartworm preventatives require a veterinarian's prescription because it's important to test for the presence of heartworms before starting a dog on preventative. Most other dewormers require prescriptions as well because the drugs can be dangerous if an animal is given an accidental overdose.
Just two deworming drugs---pyrantel pamoate and piperazine---are available without a prescription. Pyrantel pamoate is safe for puppies as young as two weeks and is available under a number of brand names including Nemex-2, Prowormer-2 and D-Worm Tablets, for about $2 to $7 for an adult dose. Piperazine costs slightly less but only is effective on roundworms, not hookworms. Neither of these work drugs works on tapeworms.
Cats can also contract heartworm disease, and preventatives are available for them, as well: Heartgard for Cats costs about $4 to $5 per month. The broad-spectrum heartworm preventative Interceptor kills intestinal worms as well for about $3 to $5 monthly. Revolution, which prevents fleas and mites as well as heartworm and intestinal worms, costs $10 to $15 monthly.