Natural, Herbal Wormers and Worming Aids for Dogs and Cats to Prevent and Treat Infestations

natural herbal wormers for dogs and cats
★ 10 min read
In this article:
1. Symptoms of an intestinal parasite infestation
2. Common intestinal parasites in dogs and cats
3. If you think your dog or cat has an intestinal parasite infestation
4. Support overall body health
  1. Support the body's natural defences
  2. Signs of an intestinal parasite infestation
  3. Common intestinal parasites
5. Supplemental food to support worming
  1. Fluids to add worming treatment and prevent blockage
  2. Food to support worming treatment
6. Natural herbal wormers
  1. Garlic
  2. Grapefruit seed extract
  3. Pumpkin seed
  4. Cloves
  5. Goldenseal
  6. Black walnut

Conventional wormers are toxic synthetic chemical-based pesticides that harm your dog and cat's immune system, increase toxic load on the liver and kidneys, disrupt the endocrine system, disrupt gut health, harm the heart, and cause harm to the neurological system. In contrast, natural, herbal wormers help reduce your dog and cat's toxic load and support overall health. 

1. Symptoms of an Intestinal Parasite Infestation

One or more symptoms may present:
Digestive Issues
  1. Bloating
  2. Cramps
  3. Constipation
  4. Diarrhea
  5. Dehydration 
  6. Gas
  7. Greasy stools
  8. Nausea 
  9. Parasites (dead or alive) in stool
  10. Swollen lymph nodes
  11. Vomiting
  12. Weight loss
  13.  Consuming a lot of food but not putting on weight
Skin Issues
  1. Excessive scratching or licking around the anus, or base of tail
  2. Rash on the body
  3. Rash around anus or base of tail
  4. Scudding, scooting

2. Common Intestinal Parasites in Dogs and Cats

  1. Giardia
  2. Flukes
  3. Hookworms
  4. Round Worms (common round worm – Ascaris)
  5. Tapeworms
  6. Strongyloides – a type of round worm also known as Threadworm, Pinworm, Seatworm, etc.
  7. Trichinella  - a type of round worm that causes trichinellosisor trichinosis.

3. If You Think Your Dog or Cat Has Intestinal Parasites

Take a stool sample and have the sample tested for worms (this is called a worm count).

Once you have the results of the worm count...
If the test is positive for worms:
  1. Start treatment with a natural worming protocol (see further below).
  2. Support your animal's overall health (see further below),
If the test is negative:
  1. Don't worm your animal. 
  2. You can help maintain a parasite-free state by including appropriate supplemental foods, go to this article

4.  Support Overall Body Health

A healthy body is not attractive to parasites. The key to preventing repeated infestations of intestinal worms - support the overall health of your companion animal.
  1. Feed your dog or cat a species appropriate diet.
  2. Avoid including toxin and carcinogenic substances in the diet.
  3. Replace  conventional flea, tick, mosquito preventatives with natural alternatives.
  4. Don’t over vaccinate your dog or cat – only vaccinate for what is truly necessary and have titter tests done to ascertain when repeat inoculations are required.
  5. Avoid use of antibiotics and other conventional medications unless your animal is in a life-threatening emergency situation. Choose natural care for all other situations, e.g. ear infections, diarrhea, urinary tract infections, etc.
  6.  Choose health care products (e.g. shampoo, dental chews and toothpaste that are  toxin and carcinogen-free.
  7. Don't use chemical-based cleaning products in your home.
  8. Don't use chemical-based pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers in your yard, on your grass, trees, garden, etc.
  9. Wash road-salt off of your dog and cat's paws.

5.  Supplemental Food to Support Worming

If your dog or cat has a very minor infestation of intestinal parasites, the chance of intestinal blockage due to parasite die off is low.

However, if your dog or at has a significant infestation chance of intestinal blockage is significant. 

Adding appropriate fluids can prevent complications, prevent dehydration and provide essential nutrients.

Fluids to Aid Worming Process and Prevent Blockage

Bone Broth
for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens
Bone broth supports health in multiple ways, and its simple to make.
Health benefits of bone broth, and;
For the bone broth recipe.

Short Cooked Broth
for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens

You can also choose to make short cooked broth instead of bone broth.
For the short-cooked bone broth recipe:
Parsley Water
for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens

If your dog or cat has liver problems, kidney or gall bladder problems or is pregnant or lactating do not use parsley water. Parsley is high in oxalates and can cause issues for dogs or cats with renal issues.

Add parsley water to your dog or cat’s food during deworming treatment. Parsley is rich in many nutrients, it is also a natural diuretic.
  1. Boil 1 quart of water
  2. Add one bunch of fresh parsley (curly parsley, Italian flat leaf parsley, etc.) to the boiling water
  3. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool
  5. Remove the parsley and discard it
  6. Pour the liquid into a glass jar and store in the refrigerator
  • 1 tbsp parsley water (for every 10 lbs of body weight) once a day for 10 days.
Rooibos Tea
for dogs, puppies, cats and kittens

For dogs and cats with renal issues, use Rooibos Tea instead of parsley water. 
Health benefits of Rooibos tea, and;
How to use rooibos tea:
Food To Support Worming Treatment
When treating your dog or cat for worms it is important to include foods in their diet that naturally:
  1. Help with the expulsion of the parasite (foods ‘scrub’ the weakened worms out of the digestive tract).
  2. Boost the immune system.
  3. Sooth inflamed intestinal walls.
  4. Help to kill parasites and prevent re-infestation.
Select at least one of the foods below to include in the worming protocol.
Carrot or Garden Beet (not sugar beet)
for puppies and dogs
Add to each meal one of the following (fresh, grated or finely chopped – organic is best) to help cleanse the digestive tract and scrub parasites away in combination with using a dewormer.
Daily Dosage
  • Carrots ½ tbs to 2 tbs a day
  • Beets ½ tbs to 2 tbs a day

Papaya, fresh pureed
For dogs and puppies
Papaya contains four natural anti-parasitic compounds that have strong worm-killing properties. Naturally occurring enzymes in papaya also aid digestion.
More about the health benefits of papaya for dogs and puppies.
 Daily Dosage 
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbs.
For dogs, puppies, cats and kittens
Turmeric helps reduce inflammation of the intestine walls caused by worms.
More about the health benefits or turmeric,
Dosing instructions,
Cautions, etc;

Yogurt or Kefir
 For dogs, puppies, cats and kittens
Plain, natural yogurt and kefir, no additives, sweeteners - are rich in beneficial probiotics (microorganisms) that help to keep disease causing microorganisms at bay while replenishing the intestinal tract with friendly flora.
Health benefits,
How to select appropriate products,

3. Natural Herbal Wormers

  1. Garlic
  2. Grapefruit Seed
  3. Pumpkin Seed
  4. Cloves
  5. Goldenseal
  6. Black Walnut Hull
When treating an infestation of intestinal worms, a typical worming protocol is: dose for 7 days up to 10 days, then withhold dosing for 7 days. Then dose for 7 up to 10 days. Then stop dosing.
Choose one or several of the natural wormers listed below, based on your dog or cat's personal situation.

Garlic (Allium sativum)
For dogs and puppies over 6 months of age
Garlic is an effective immune system booster and is also effective in preventing and treating infestations of intestinal worms and giardia.
In 2008, a scientific study was done in which Garlic was tested against Ivermectin. Garlic proved to be an effective natural alternative to conventional synthetic-chemical pesticide worming agents such as Ivermectin.
For more information on garlic for dogs, go to this article.

How to Include Garlic in Your Dog’s Diet 
  • You can decide to give your dog garlic just during worming treatment, or;
  • You can add garlic to your your dog's daily diet if she self-selects it.
  • Learn about self-selection in this article.
  • Chop, mince, crush or press the garlic and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before giving the garlic to your dog or cat;
  • This gives the allinn and alliinase sufficient time to undergo the enzymic reaction that creates allicin.
Recommended Daily Dosage for Dogs
  • 1 clove fresh garlic (or 1 tsp minced/finely chopped) per every 30 lbs of body weight per day.
Interactions, Cautions
  • If your dog is on a blood thinner:
    • Garlic can slow down blood clotting, garlic may increase the efficacy of the blood thinner warfarin.
    • The dosage of the blood thinner may need to be adjusted.

Grapefruit Seed – Pulverized Seed or Extract
For dogs, puppies and cats and kittens

The benefits of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) were first noted in 1972 by physicist Dr. Jacob Harich who observed its broad spectrum use as an antibacterial and antiviral remedy. You can read more about Dr. Jacob Harich and the history of GSE here.

Grapefruit seeds contain active ingredients that are anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and more. Grapefruit seed extract is known to be excellent for treating internal diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, it is used topically to treat and remedy skin diseases, external injuries and fungal infections.
  • University of Georgia researchers found that GSE is an effective antiviral, antifungal and anti-parasitic agent for fighting many viral and bacterial infections, including E. coli.
  • Additional findings have proven that GSE is a highly effective treatment for:
  • 800 bacterial and viral strains.
  • 100 strains of fungi, and.
  • A multitude of single and multi-celled parasites. 
GSE is also an immune system booster. It contains:
  • Hesperidin (a bioflavonoid), well known for its potent immune system benefits;
  • Vitamin C, Citric  Acid, sterols and multiple additional antioxidants that aid the immune system’s ability to battle infections. 
It is important to note that GSE extract is NOT a truly natural substance. GSE extract is a highly processed substance, processing includes the use of synthetic chemicals. 

For additional health benefits, cautions and interactions go to
this article.
Grapefruit Seed Can be Administered Two Ways for Deworming
  • Pulverized seeds can be used as an ingested treatment sprinkled on top of food;
  • Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) drops can be mixed into the food.

Liquid GSE:
  • Minimum dosage - 0.5 drops per every kg (per every 2.2 lbs) of body weight;
  • Maximum dosage - 10 to 15 drops per every 10 lbs of body weight 3 times a day;
Pulverized GSE:
  • 8 mg per every kg (per every 2.2 lbs) of body weight.

Pumpkin (Pepitas) Seed or Oil
For dogs, puppies, cats and kittens


Pumpkin seeds (shelled) and pumpkin seed oil provide:
  • Antimicrobial support
  • Antioxidant support
  • Nutrient support
  • Natural wormer
Use raw, shelled pumpkin seeds - certified organic raw is best. 
For worming purposes, use pumpkin seed along with another natural wormer. Pumpkin seed on its own will not resolve an infestation of worms.

  • Grind the pumpkin seeds to a fine powder (you can use a mortar and pestle, a coffee grinder, a food processor, etc.);
  1. Add the ground pumpkin seeds to your dog or cat's food once a day for two weeks.
  2. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, vitamin A and are high in protein.
  3. You can also choose to add pumpkin seed to your dog or cat diet on a regular, daily basis.
  4. For more information on the benefits of pumpkin seeds go to this article.
Choose pumpkin seed or pumpkin seed powder
Pumpkin seed powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 lbs of body weight
Pumpkin seed oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon for every 10 lbs of body weight.
  • Ground pumpkin seed should be stored in the refrigerator.
  • If storing for many months, it is best to freeze the ground seeds to avoid loss of health benefits.
Not for puppies, cats and kittens

Cloves have many health benefits and have been used for both their medicinal and culinary properties by humans dating back 2000 years.  Their benefit in the fight against internal parasites is two-fold:
  • Cloves contain a compound that increases the white blood cell count which boosts your dog’s immune system – a healthy dog is not a good host for a parasite infestation;
  • Cloves contain potent antibacterial properties and anti-parasitic properties.
As cloves are potent they should not form part of a dog’s regular year-around daily diet. The use of cloves should be restricted to a several week period once or twice a year.
  • Small dogs – use ¼ of a whole dry clove, crushed and mixed into food once a day for a week, then skip a week and repeat dosage one more time.
  • Medium size dogs - use ½ of a whole dry clove, crushed and mixed into food once a day for a week, then skip a week and repeat dosage one more time.
  • Large size dogs - use 1 whole dry clove, crushed and mixed into food once a day for a week, then skip a week and repeat dosage one more time.
Use certified organic if at all possible.

Cautions – do not use whole dry or fresh cloves, ground, powdered cloves, clove oil on pregnant dogs as clove is a uterine stimulant

For dogs and cats

Goldenseal is an antimicrobial agent and digestive aid that enhances the medicinal qualities of herbs that it is blended with. Goldenseal contains berberine, a compound that works against parasites such as giardia, liver fluke and pinworms.

Preparation and Dosage:
  • Goldenseal dosage as noted in table below under - blend the appropriate amount of cloves and golden seal and mix into food.
Body Weight
Maximum Dosage of Golden Seal per day
1-10 lbs
a small pinch
less than 1/4 cup, 1-3 times/day
1/2 capsule, 1-3 times/day
1-3 drops, 2-3 times/day
10-20 lbs
a bigger pinch about
1/4 cup, 1-3 times/day
1/2-1 capsule/tablet, 1-3 times/day
3-5 drops, 2-3 times/day
20-50 lbs
2 pinches-1 teaspoon
1/4-1/2 cup, 1-3 times/day
1-2 capsules/tablets, 2-3 times/day
5-10 drops, 2-3 times/day
50-100 lbs
2 pinches-2 teaspoons
1/2-1 cup, 1-3 times/day
1-2 capsules/tablets, 3-4 times/day
20 drops, 2-3 times/day
Over 100 lbs,
up to 1 tablespoon
up to 1 cup 3 times/day
adult human dose
adult human dose

Black Walnut Hull (Juglans nigra)
Not for puppies and kittens

Black walnut hull:
  • Must be used with caution as they have high levels of tannin and alkaloids.
  • Is not to be used as a regular supplement on a long-term daily basis. 
  • Black walnut hull should only be used:
  • when worming is required or
  • periodically to help keep your dog worm-free
  • Do not use of a prolonged period of time. 
  • Example of dosing schedule for worming: dose 7 days on 14 days off, then repeat. Then stop use.
  • Example of dosing to help maintain an intestinal worm-free state: dose 3 days per month.
  • First time use: start with 1 drop per day then increase by an additional drop per day to the maximum amount per body weight.
  • Tincture form (regular strength, do not use extra strength):
    • 1 drop for every 10 pounds of body weight
  • Capsule form:
    • ¼ of a 500mg capsule for dogs 5 to 25 pounds
    • ½ capsule for dogs 25 lbs and up

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld

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