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Is Horse Dewormer Safe for Dogs?

I was told by a Jack Russell Terrier breeder that it would be ok to give my Jack Russel Terrier Liqui-Care P. for worms. I know this stuff is for horses. Is this ok or not? Thank you!
– CO, Michigan

Dear CO,

If you’re a fan of my Ask the Vet blog, then you know I’M not a fan of giving dogs products made for horses and vice versa. So the short answer to your question is: no, giving your Jack Russell a horse dewormer is NOT okay.

The long answer is that horse dewormers are way more concentrated than dog dewormers. The product you specifically mentioned, Liqui-Care P, is designed to be given at a rate of 6ml per every 100lbs body weight. For a 1,000 pound horse, that’s 60mls, easily doable with a large syringe. But for a 10lb Jack Russell, that’s only 0.6ml, a small amount to have to be sure to measure correctly. And since this particular dewormer is a suspension—meaning it has to be shaken or stirred first because it has a tendency to separate—you have to be that much more careful when it comes to measuring.

My advice is to stick with a product specifically made for dogs and puppies. Most of the canine dewormers that contain the same active ingredient—pyrantel pamoate—are designed to be given at a rate of 5ml (one full teaspoon) per every 10lbs of body weight, a convenient amount to give to a small dog.

One other thing to think about: since pyrantel pamoate controls the roundworms Toxocara and Toxascaris and as well as the hookworms Ancylostoma and Uncinaria, why not use a heartworm preventative like HeartGard Plus which not only controls these parasites but also heartworm, a much more deadly threat?

Lydia F. Gray, DVM, MA SmartPak Staff Veterinarian and Medical Director Dr. Lydia Gray has earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), and a Master of Arts focusing on interpersonal and organizational communication. After “retiring” from private practice, she put her experience and education to work as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s first-ever Director of Owner Education. Dr. Gray continues to provide health and nutrition information to horse owners through her position at SmartPak, through publication in more than a dozen general and trade publications, and through presentations around the country. She is the very proud owner of a Trakehner named Newman that she actively competes with in dressage and combined driving. In addition to memberships in the USDF and USEF, Dr. Gray is also a member of the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association (IDCTA). She is a USDF “L” Program Graduate and is currently working on her Bronze Medal. Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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18 comments on “Is Horse Dewormer Safe for Dogs?
  1. wentworth says:

    need we mention Ivermectin poisioning in herding dogs? our Australian shepard almost died from thios. thanks

  2. Alex Crenshaw says:

    I have to say that it is good to have someone say something about this. I worked somewhere that it was popular to sell paste horse wormers to be used for dogs. This just really worried me and while the drugs are the same it just seems way to easy to accidentally overdose such a drastically smaller animal! Thanks for addressing this issue!!!

  3. Cindi says:

    A friend of mine lost her very much loved collie from it and found it is very deadly to certain dog breeds. I would NEVER even think of giving our dogs any horse products. Different kind of animals and so much smaller in size.

  4. Jessica says:

    You can actually test you dogs to see if they have the MDR-1 mutation which is the problem with some herding dogs and ivermectin (and other p-glycosubstrate drugs, like the antibiotic erythromycin for example). I’ve had an Australian shepherd and a rough collie both tested, both turning out to be heterozygous for the gene, and they have no trouble taking normal doses of ivermectin like the dosage in canine heartworm drugs. The collie did have a reaction the first time she was treated with erythromycin, however. Simple solution to the ivermectin/herding dog question- just have your dog tested!

  5. Loura says:

    I’ve used horse dewormer on my dogs on several occasions without any issues. I would not recommend it for anyone that hasn’t had training in drugs, dosages and side effects. There can be serious repercussions if you miscalculate the dosage.

  6. ledtwo says:

    I’m a breeder for Chesapeake Bay Retrievers I use Strongid on my puppies, works great and never had an issue. Oh works great on my horses too.

  7. Sherri says:

    The vet asks, “Why don’t you use something intended for dogs – such as Heartguard?” I am guessing the answer to that is pretty obvious… it comes down to dollars. I wouldn’t have stumbled across this question here, if I wasn’t asking the same question – is it safe? Can I do it? Can I save myself a lot of money? You can buy horse wormer over the counter – Heartguard, need to go to a vet or get a script from a vet to buy online. So, if you do the math, I think you can imagine why the question was posed in the first place. I have a better question – if we know many formulations of wormer are safe for dogs (we’ve been giving them to dogs for years), why do vets have to prescribe them and why can’t they open up the marketplace to make the prices more competitive and affordable. If I can worm my 1000 lb palamino quarter horse for $7-12 with over the counter wormer – why can’t I do the same for my 2 Goldens and my Bernese Mountain Dog. Very frustrating!

    • pupover says:

      Because there are so many more dog owners than horse owners–the opportunity to make money off a larger market–that’s my opinion.

  8. Christie Lubbering says:

    what about using a horse dewormer for a Mastiff that is 140 ponds. I find it to be more cost effective and ok to measure for this size dog

  9. Kim Haban says:

    Horse dewormer paste is formulated for a horse whose intestines are 100 ft in length it takes 2 days for paste to pass through, dogs have very short in length intestines it travels too fast to work properly they basically poop most of it out before it can kill any worms. if your vet tells you its ok to use a horse wormer i would be getting another vet! The companies that make these wormers will be the first to tell you NO!

  10. Robert says:

    I think safeguard was used not only for horses but people found out that by increasing the dosage because of the shortness of the dogs digestive system, Saeguard could be used for dogs. Not all dogs, but most. By specifying DOGS safeguard could increase profits. It is all about money, not the wellbeing of the dog. I have used horse wormer on puppies for many years and saved a lot of puppies lives and didnt need to have a vet tell me if they had worms or not, or what kind. It doesnt matter, and so what if some impoverished vet didnt get the fee to tell me what kind of worms they were.

  11. walkey says:

    I just gave my pregnant dog horse dewormer I gave her a little bit I put it on the tip of my finger I want to know will the puppies be safe I don’t want them to die

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Thank you for your question. We recommend contacting your dog’s veterinarian. With such precious cargo on board, pregnant animals really do need to be “handled with care” and your vet will be the best resource to determine the ideal course of action, as well as to set up a parasite control program for your dog going forward.

      – Dr. Lydia Gray

  12. pam kelley says:

    I used to raise rotty’s. I gave them horse worker all the time. I was told by another breeder the only breed that can not take it is the collie breed. Or a dog that is part collie.

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi Pam, You are absolutely correct that you need to be extra careful when providing dewormers to herding breeds like collies, as they can be particularly sensitive to certain active ingredients. That being said, we advise against providing dewormers designed for horses to any breed of dog. Since these dewormers are much more concentrated, have a tendency to separate, and do not specifically target parasites that are particularly deadly in dogs, the best suggestion we can give is to work closely with your small animal veterinarian to design a deworming program specifically for your dog.

      – Dr. Lydia Gray

  13. mjones says:

    I gave our Blue Heeler horse wormer and now it seems he is blind or seeing double. Is there a treatment for this?

    • SmartPak SmartPak says:

      Hi mjones,

      We’re sorry to hear about what is going on with your dog. We recommend contacting your veterinarian to determine the best course of action.

      – Dr. Lydia Gray

  14. Joe Haynes says:

    Our dogs got a hold of our Safegaurd Equipellets and it appears as though 1/3 of the bag is now gone. We can’t be certain how much each may or may not have eaten vs how much the mini horse may gotten. We live quite a ways out and I’m out of work with a significant back injury so an emergency vet visit isn’t financially feasible. What do I need to look for/be concerned about?

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