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Worms in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment

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Worms in dogs should not be taken for granted. Not only can they cause diseases in dogs, they can infect humans too.

Hence, awareness of the general warning signs of having these intestinal parasites is a big help when it comes to prevention and treatment. It can reduce health risks and stop its spreading.

In this article, we’ll dive into the details about worms in dogs, covering symptoms, treatment, and prevention.

What are Worms in Dogs?

Worms are parasites that can come basically everywhere. They can come from fleas, from sniffing and licking the ground where dogs get chances of ingestion of contaminated soil and eating other infected animals, and even an infected mother can transfer worms to its unborn puppies in her womb via the placenta before they are even born.

However, though it is usual for our pooch when left untreated, it will lead to serious problems and, worse, can become fatal.

5 Types of Worms in Dogs

The following are the five types of worms that commonly yet differently affects pet dogs.


Roundworms are characterized by their spaghetti-like appearance. Many puppies get roundworms from their mother, and they’re often born with them. This is why regular deworming is a must for young puppies.

Symptoms in affected dogs include pot-bellied appearance, poor growth, and diarrhea. Other symptoms in dogs are weakness, vomiting, belly pain, dull coat, weight loss, and malnourishment.

This can be diagnosed by a fecal sample and is treated with deworming medications, as supervised by a veterinarian.


Tapeworms look flat in appearance like fragmented grains of rice.

These worms live in the small intestine of dogs and can be acquired through eating infected fleas or consuming wild animals that are infested with such worms or fleas. Once they hatch, the eggs of these worms attach to the lining of the dog’s intestine.

Signs and symptoms include failure to grow, irritability, decreased appetite, shaggy coat, diarrhea, intestinal blockage, evidence of this parasite in feces or vomit, and anemia.

The treatment is the same as other intestinal worms.


Hookworms are parasites that are short in length and suck blood with their teeth. They can cause anemia, which can be fatal to puppies. These worms can survive in soil for several months.

Signs and symptoms of this hook-like parasite include bloody diarrhea, pale gums, weakness, weight loss, and a dull coat. These can be treated through deworming medications, usually administered twice.


Whipworms can be found in the cecum and colon, where they release their eggs in the feces. They can be contracted by consuming contaminated soil, food, water, feces, or animal meat. These parasites are very resilient and can remain alive for up to five years, even in warm or humid settings.

Signs and symptoms of whipworms in dogs include weight loss, dehydration, anemia, pot-bellied appearance, and diarrhea that may contain blood or mucus.


Heartworms should be included in the list as they are a type of worm that can be concerning since they may go unnoticed when their population is low.

These parasites resemble threads and are transmitted to dogs through mosquito bites. Afterward, they migrate to the lungs and heart of the dog where they can reach a length of 12 inches, and may live within the dog’s body for 5 to 7 years.

Tests such as the heartworm antigen test, microfilariae test, and chest radiographs (x-rays) can be done to treat parasites. Signs and symptoms of heartworm include a cough that is worse with exercise, exercise intolerance, syncope (fainting), weight loss, lethargy, anorexia.

Left untreated, it can cause pulmonary thromboembolism (a blot clot in the lungs), right-sided congestive heart failure, and even death.


It’s important to be aware of the symptoms and preventive measures for worms in dogs. Dogs should be regularly treated with deworming medications, especially puppies.

If you suspect that your dog is showing signs of having worms, it’s best to visit a veterinarian as soon as possible for proper examinations. Regular testing of stool, flea control, and proper hygiene is the best measure to get rid of any intestinal worms your dog has contracted.

For more information on worms in dogs, visit the PetFitness blog!

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