As pet owners, you try your best to keep your furry companions in prime health conditions. However, like us, our pets too are bound to fall prey to illnesses, diseases, and infections. Intestinal worms, for instance, affect both cats and dogs harming their health and increasing their discomfort. Read on to find out how your dog can get exposed to worms? What are the common symptoms? How to treat and prevent worms in dogs?
Worms in Dogs
Worms in dogs not only affect their health but can also pose serious threats to you and your family. Therefore, before you embark on a diagnosis and treatment path, it is important to understand worms in more detail. Typically, there are 4 main intestinal worm species that you need to be aware of. These are,
Tapeworms are segmented worms and reside in the infected dog’s small intestine. They resemble tiny crawling white rice grains and are usually seen in dog poop or near the anus.
The infections are usually asymptomatic. Having said that, they can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, sudden weight loss, or irritation near the bottom area.
Pets are usually affected by eating the secondary hosts. An infected pet can pass out worm eggs through its feces, keeping the worms mobile for some time. Grazing animals, lizards, or even rodents can ingest these eggs and become secondary hosts. Your dog can get infected when it eats these secondary hosts. Pet fleas are the most common carriers of a tapeworm known as the ‘flea tapeworm’.
Tapeworms in humans are extremely rare. Like dogs, people can also get infected if they ingest any tapeworm eggs. It is a highly dangerous infection and can lead to cysts in our bodies.
Like tapeworms, roundworms are also intestinal worms that are common in dogs as well as cats. They affect puppies more than adult dogs, often becoming a serious life-threatening illness.
There are usually no obvious symptoms in adult dogs. Infected puppies, on the other hand, show symptoms including lethargy, vomiting, dull coat, diarrhea, and stunted growth.
Normally puppies contract the infection through milk or in utero. Like in the case of tapeworm, infected feces can easily find its way into the soil. Here it can contaminate the area or a toy that can infect your dog while sniffing the ground or while playing with the toy.
If ingested, the larvae can cause havoc in the human body resulting in life-threatening conditions.
Whipworms mostly affect only dogs. The shape of this worm resembles a whip, hence the name, Whipworm.
Mild infestations in your dog may not display any symptoms at all. However, heavy infections can cause severe damage to your pet’s intestines. This can lead to diarrhea with blood, mucous, and even straining.
Whipworm can be transferred through infected dog feces. If your dog accidentally ingests an infected dog’s feces, it can get whipworm infection as well.
Dog whipworms can’t be transferred to humans. There is little to no risk of contracting this disease from your furry friend.
Hookworms are true parasites. They dig their sharp teeth into your pet’s intestine lining and feed on the poor animal’s blood. Once again, the symptoms are more visible in puppies than adult dogs.
Infected puppies can display symptoms, including acute diarrhea with a loss of blood. This can lead to anemia in your pup. The illness must be treated as soon as it is detected. It can be a serious life-threatening condition in pets.
Apart from ingesting them, hookworms can also penetrate your dog’s skin and enter its body. Dogs can also contract this worm if they ingest an infected animal. It is common for puppies to contract hookworms through infected milk.
You can contract hookworms even if you don’t own a pet infected with it. For instance, walking barefoot on soil contaminated with hookworm larvae can lead to severe itching as the worm burrows into your skin.
While heartworms are considered as the most dangerous types of parasite for your dog, it is also one which can be easily prevented. As the name indicates, this worm multiplies within your dog’s heart affecting lungs, heart and other organs as well. It can cause death if left untreated.
An infected dog shows very subtle symptoms until the disease has substantially progressed to an advanced stage. Coughing is one of the foremost symptoms of heartworms in dogs.
Mosquito bites transmit heartworms. As dogs require enough outdoor activity, it is nearly impossible to avoid mosquitos altogether. As a result, most veterinarians recommend regular preventive medications.
Heartworms are rarely transmitted from dogs to their owners. So, humans are safe from this infection.
Popular Treatments for Worms in Dogs
It is very important to get rid of intestinal worms as they can lead to cross-infection and harm other members in your household. Worms can be particularly dangerous for children, often causing liver and lung diseases.
There are a host of treatments available to rid your dog of worms. It is, however, very important to confirm the worm to begin the treatment. Since most worms reside in your dog’s intestines, this should be the first place to check for any infections.
Top 5 Popular Worming Treatment Products
Excel Safe-Guard Dewormer
This is our top pick, as it is one of the most effective and safest deworming products available in the market today. In just a 3-day treatment timeline, the product targets 6 common forms of worms in dogs. The Excel Safeguard dewormer is also available in several options depending on your dog’s size and weight. Further, it is one of the few products available in the market today that are safe for use for pregnant dogs as well as dogs infected with the deadly heartworm.
- Safe for 6-month old puppies as well as dogs
- Short 3-day treatment cycle.
- The product cannot treat tapeworm Dipylidium caninum that is caused by fleas and is common among dogs.
Sentry HC WormX Plus
Sentry HC WormX Plus clears up most worms, including both types of tapeworms. Therefore, this treatment is very effective if you don’t have a clear diagnosis in place. The medication includes active ingredients praziquantel and pyrantel pamoate to kill the treat the patient with a single dose.
The product comes as chewable tablets in beef flavor that can be given directly or mixed with food. Additionally, it can treat dogs within a weight range of 25 pounds to 150 pounds.
- Fast-acting treatment with results within 20 hours
- Easy to administer chewable tablets
- Few side-effects
Nemex 2 is the best product for treating worms in puppies. Since puppies require more frequent deworming than adult dogs, Nemex 2 is a safe and reliable option. In fact, you can give it to puppies as young as 2 weeks.
Nemex 2 is a liquid anthelmintic suspension that is especially effective in removing hookworms and roundworms in puppies. The caramel-flavored liquid is irresistible for most pups and has no side-effects. Most patients feel relief within the first 12 hours itself. Nemex 2 is especially helpful for treating worms that are transferred from mothers to their pups.
- Safe and reliable product with no side-effects
- Ideal for treating worms in puppies.
- Not very effective on adult dogs
PetArmor Sure Shot 2X
PetArmor Sure Shot 2x is the most-effective budget-friendly product available in the market today. This dewormer is made using the same products as other popular brands but it is priced much lower. This FDA approved liquid wormer treats 4 common species of worms in dogs. It is also extremely safe for puppies as young as 2 weeks. On the higher end, it can treat an adult dog up to 120 pounds. Its attractive price makes it an ideal option for families with multiple dogs or pets.
- It can treat the most common worms in puppies as well as adult dogs.
- An easy-to-administer liquid solution.
- It does not treat all worms, so you must keep other dewormers as well.
Wholistic Pet Organics Wormer
The Wholistic Pet Organics wormer is an organic product that does not include any chemicals and their harmful side-effects. Therefore, it is most suitable for older pets with a weak immune system or young puppies. It is also given to dogs as a preventive wormer treatment.
- Organic and safe for dogs with weak immune systems
- It offers flea and tick relief as well.
- This is one of the few products that come without any negatives.
Foods for Getting Rid of Worms in Dogs
If you are looking for organically removing worms in your dog, then certain foods can help you achieve this. They are certainly a safer option in comparison to deworming. Incorporating some of these in your pet’s regular diet can help you keep worms at bay.
Fermented foods help build a healthy digestive system. They also boost your dog’s immune system against worms and help the pet stay healthy. Introduce them in small quantities and slowly increase the intake.
The dairy-free version of fermented kefir is an excellent choice for maintaining your dog’s gut health. Just 1 to 3 teaspoons a day (depending on the dog’s size) is enough to begin with.
You can add chopped or grated cucumber to your beloved companion’s food and watch it build a healthier and more robust digestive system. Apart from cucumber, carrots and beetroots also have similar health benefits.
A quarter spoon of ground pumpkin seeds is an excellent way to treat worms in your dog.
Papaya is full of papain. It is an enzyme that helps get rid of worms in your pets.
Like papaya, pineapple also contains an enzyme called bromelain that helps improve gut health by digesting proteins.
How to Prevent Your Dog from Contracting Worms?
Dogs are animals that sniff, slurp, and lick everything they come across. This makes them an ideal host for worms and parasites. While you can’t change your dog’s nature, you can certainly prevent the onset of worms in their bodies. You can do this by keeping your home and yards clean. Apart from this, you can follow these simple steps to make sure that worms don’t affect your beloved pet.
- Include checking form worms in your regular checks at the veterinarian clinic. Make sure that these checks are more frequent in the case of puppies.
- Regularly implement anti-flea medications on your dog’s skin. This can include a flea collar as well. You can also give ingestive medication to counter and prevent harmful fleas.
- Regularly administer heartworm medication as recommended by your veterinarian.
- Make sure that you follow proper poop pickup and disposal procedure.
- Maintain personal hygiene by washing your hands regularly.
Regular deworming of your dog can reduce its chances of contracting worms. It can also help keep you and your family protected from possible infections.
What happens if a dog has worms?
Common symptoms of worms in dogs include vomiting, lethargy, and diarrhea.
Can you see hookworms in a dog’s stool?
Adult hookworms can be seen as small spaghetti-like parasitic worms in your dog’s stool. They are usually off-white or tan in color.
Can you contract worms from your dog?
Yes. You can contract some types of worms like roundworm, tapeworm, or hookworm from your infected dog.
How can you test for worms in dogs?
Your veterinarian can diagnose worms in your dog by testing a stool sample.it will be checked under a microscope to detect any presence of worms.
How can you tell if your dog has tapeworms?
It is very easy to spot tapeworms in dogs. They look like little grains of rice in your dog’s feces. You may even spot them stuck near your pet’s groin area.
How long does it take for worms to leave the dog?
Most deworming treatments start working immediately. However, you may be required to give more than one dose to eliminate worms as well as their eggs in your pet’s body. It is best to consult a veterinarian before embarking on any treatment method.
How do adult dogs get worms?
Adult dogs get worms by sniffing around contaminated soil or eating infected food. They can also get infected when their skin comes in contact with certain types of worms like the hookworm.
While worms are a common parasitic disease in dogs, they should not be taken lightly. If not treated on time, worms can cause extreme damage to your pet’s internal organs. In severe cases, worm infestation may even result in your pet’s untimely demise. Therefore, it is very important to consult your veterinarian the moment you suspect an attack of worms in your pet’s body. Most intestinal worms can be easily treated without discomforting the infected dog. But they must be treated instantly.
Some treatments can be more expensive than others. For instance, treating heartworm disease can be expensive as well as inconvenient for the pet. Therefore, prevention is the best form of cure for worms in dogs. However, it is very important to consult a veterinarian before you embark on any form of medication or treatment for your dog.