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.

Dog gets worms by licking paws

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
  • Vomiting

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.

Dog kissing woman giving her worms

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
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • 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.

In Conclusion

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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About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. We just adopted a six month old Aussie doodle that came from Louisiana and we live in the Midwest. Our puppy got very sick within a month of us getting her and we found out she had hook worm. Is the shelter liable for this? We had to pay over $500 for medical treatment and feel they should have informed this to us before we got her? Seems like they didn’t check her over well.

    1. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I know how frustrating it is. You will have to read your adoption contract to see if they are liable for any treatment. Every shelter is different on how they handle situations like this. Sometimes dogs go through a shelter so fast, certain conditions don’t have time to show up in testing. So it is possible they did not know the dog was sick.

  2. Thank you for sharing this informative post. This happened to my dog once. I checked him the following day and it never appears. I make sure I thoroughly clean the area where my dog usually poop. I use scraper soap and disinfectants to clean the area.

  3. Got a dog yesterday, brother in law found her, gave her to us. Took her to vet same day I got her, sent a stool sample in. This morning I got a call saying she has round worm and hook worm. She’s on meds right away, I’m terrified my children will get worms or myself. Am I over reacting?

    1. The likelihood of your and your children getting the worms is slim but not impossible. We’ve had several foster puppies in our home that had worms and we’ve never had an issue. Just let your kids know no face licks, and if they are young children, keep hands out of mouth, wash hands often. Also, pick up the poop immediately to control any spreading.

  4. Dogs that are in contact with areas where sheep graze need more frequent worming than the average pet as sheep are an intermediate host of 4 species of tapeworm that can infect dogs. Dogs that catch Monezia granulosus can then spread the tapeworm to humans, through faeces, which can cause serious diseases.

  5. Poor Taylor, 3 kinds of worms AND Lyme disease?? That is so awful. I’m glad the worms are gone, but the Lyme Disease is more difficult to treat. Will you be blogging more about Taylor’s battle w/ that? I think it would help a lot of people. Thanks for sharing this great information!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  6. We just found out our beautiful German Shepard Puppy has roundworms. Before we knew, we let her sleep in our bed and lick our faces all night!

    The next day she pooped out alot of worms on the carpet and I cleaned it up with bleach and vacuumed after it was dy. Will this be egg-free? I rented a steam-cleaner today so I’m going to give the carpet a good cleaning all over daily until I know shes healthy.
    IS there anything more I can be doing?

    1. You are doing everything right. I’m assuming you took her to the vet and she’s being treated? Roundworms are pretty common, so no need to freak out 🙂 The eggs and worms need a host to survive, so they can’t live in your carpet. Just keep things clean and don’t let your puppy lick your face anymore. And also make sure to pick up her poop immediately, because eggs can survive in the dirt/grass.

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