Did you ever wonder why each year when you take your dog to the vet for her checkup, you are asked to bring in a stool sample? Yup, you guessed it, they are checking for parasites aka worms in your dog’s poop.
It is very common for puppies to have worms. As a foster home for dogs, we see this a lot in our foster dogs. In fact, I think almost half of our dogs have had some type of worms. I’ve gotten accustom to looking at their poop when they first come to our home.
Our current foster dog, Taylor, was diagnosed with having hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms… all at the same time! This poor little 6-month-old puppy not only had three types of worms but also Lymes disease.
The Different Type of Worms in Dogs
Hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms are the four common type of intestinal worms found in dogs. To read more about each individual worm, I recommending reading Intestinal Worms in Dogs and Cats on the PetMD website.
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How Did My Dog Get Worms?
There are many ways your dog could have gotten worms. The most common way dogs get worms are:
- Eating contaminated soil: Your yard, the dog park or just about anywhere can be infested with worms, your dog could pick up the worm eggs or larvae from the ground on to his paws or from eating the dirt. If your dog likes to dig, he could easily pick up the worm larvae/eggs on his paws. Learn how to stop your dog from digging.
- Licking paws after walking on contaminated soil or stepping in poop, most dogs will clean their paws by licking them. Cleaning your dogs paws after leaving the dog park is a great way to lesson the risks. We use these pet grooming wipes.
- Drinking water from a contaminated bowl with the stool from infected dogs. If you take your dog to doggy daycare or the dog park, you may see water bowls out for dogs to drink from. I highly recommend bringing your own travel water bowl just to be safe.
- Nursing mother dogs can pass whipworms and hookworms to her puppies. This is why all puppies go through a series of deworming after being born.
- Fleas and mosquitoes: I was surprised to learn that they are actually carriers of some worms.
- Shelters can be a breeding ground for worms, with so many stray dogs coming and going it’s difficult for these places to not have worms pass from one dog to another. If you’ve recently adopted a dog of any age, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on his stool, and any signs of having worms.
What Are The Signs of a Dog Having Worms
Occasionally, you will be able to see little white worms that look like rice or flat white worms in your dogs’ poop.
But your dog can have worms even if you don’t see anything in his poop. The worms can be in the egg or larvae stage and you will not be able to see it with the naked eye. Your vet must look under a microscope to diagnose what type of worms your dog has.
Some symptoms of worms are:
- Diarrhea or loose stools
- Weight loss
- Dry hair and overall poor appearance
How To Get Rid of Worms In Puppies
The treatment for dog worms is a dewormer solution prescribed by your vet. For our foster dogs, the vet gives us a white powder dewormer that goes right onto the dog food. Taylor had his treatment for 3 days and it killed all of the worms and now he is worm free!
I found it very interesting that there are ways to combat worms naturally with home remedies. I found this resource of 13 Everyday Foods To Get Rid Of Dog Worms.
But I highly recommend talking to your vet about alternative remedies, as you don’t want to mess around with these disgusting little buggers. If left untreated, worms can be fatal to your dog.
Can a Dog Give You Worms?
Unfortunately the answer is YES, your dog can transmit worms to humans. It’s a disgusting thought, but children are the most vulnerable because they play on the floor where the dog could leave traces of infected feces. Although unlikely, it’s also possible if your dog licks his behind or eats his poop and goes and kisses you or your child on the mouth, he could transfer worm eggs or larvae to you.
If your dog has worms and you are afraid he may have passed it on to you, look for these dog worms in humans symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in your stool
- Intestinal cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Itchy rash
How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Worms
Pick up the dog poop in your yard daily. Okay, I am guilty of leaving our poop pile up in the backyard in the winter months. Living in Wisconsin, it’s hard to get motivated to go outside every time the dogs go poop. And if we don’t pick it up immediately it freezes to the ground. So do the best you can to keep your yard clean.
Unfortunately, dog parks can be a breeding ground for diseases, worms included. We still love taking our dogs to the dog park weekly, but it’s always a good idea to clean their paws before coming home. I started using these pet grooming wipes and really like them. Stick them in the back of your car or at the front door so when you walk in with your dog, you just need to grab and wipe. Also avoid sharing water bowls with other dogs you don’t know.
I pray that you never have to worry about worms in your dog, but don’t panic if he does. It’s pretty simple to treat and just like our foster dog Taylor, a few days of treatment and he can feel better and be back to his energetic self.
Inspect your dogs’ poop, if you suspect at any time that he may have worms, all you need to do is bring in a stool sample to the vet to confirm.
P.S.S. Comment below to share your experiences with worms and your dog. The more we share the more we can help others in our Rescue Dogs 101 Community.
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