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What To Do if There Are Worms in Your Dog’s Poop

Written by: Helena Lawrence

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Time to read 8 min

If you notice that your dog's poop contains worms, it's important to take action. The most common type of worms that infect dogs are roundworms, hookworms, and tapeworms. These parasites can cause serious health problems for your dog, including malnutrition, weight loss, and anaemia. So if you're wondering what to do if there are worms in your dog's poop, the best thing to do is to take them to the vet. 


Though it may seem icky, dogs can get worms by eating the faeces of another infected animal. They can also get them from drinking contaminated water or coming into contact with contaminated soil. In addition, mother dogs can pass worms to their puppies through the placenta or milk.


Thankfully, there are a number of effective treatments for worms in dogs. Most dewormers contain chemicals that kill the worms in your dog's digestive system. Some dewormers require a single dose, while others may need to be given every month. Talk to your vet about which dewormer is right for your dog.

  • Dogs can get worms by eating the faeces of another animal.

  • They can also get them from drinking contaminated water or coming into contact with contaminated soil.

  • Worms can cause serious health problems for your pet, including malnutrition, weight loss, and anaemia.

Worms in Dog Poop: How it Happens

There are three main ways that dogs can contract worms: through the soil, through contact with other animals, and from their mother. Puppies are especially susceptible to worms because they often explore the world by putting things in their mouths. 


Any time your dog is exposed to contaminated soil or water, there's a risk of them picking up worms. That's why it's so important to keep up with their vaccinations and routine dewormings. 


Dogs can also get worms from contact with other infected animals. If your dog comes in contact with the faeces of an infected animal, they can pick up the worm eggs that are present in the faeces and become infected themselves. To avoid this, keep your dog on a leash when you're out walking them and make sure they're not playing with other animals who may be infected. 


Finally, puppies can also contract worms from their mother during pregnancy or breastfeeding. That's why mother dogs need to be regularly dewormed during pregnancy, and puppies should be dewormed starting at two weeks old. 

If your dog is prone to eating poop making sure their gut microbiome is healthy by giving them prebiotics and probiotics is a great way to help stop that behaviour.

Symptoms of Dogs With Worms

A dog’s healthy digestion is vital for their quality of life, and that means keeping worms out of their tummies! Worms are insidious parasites that can invade your dog's body and wreak havoc on their health. Unfortunately, worms are relatively common in dogs, particularly puppies.


Some types of worms can even be transmitted to humans, so it's important to be on the lookout for signs of an infestation.


Each type of worm has its own unique life cycle, but they all share some common symptoms. If you notice any of the following signs in your dog, they may have worms and should see a vet as soon as possible:

  • Pot bellied appearance
  • Coughing
  • Lethargy
  • Weight Loss
  • Poor Appetite
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Dull coat
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination

These symptoms can be caused by other health problems as well, so it's important to get your dog examined by a professional if you suspect they have worms. A vet can diagnose the problem and recommend the best treatment. 

Common Types of Worms in Dogs

Though they may seem small and insignificant, worms can pose a serious threat to your dog's health. Luckily, there are many different types of deworming medication available to get rid of them. But before you start treatment, it's important to know which type of worm your dog has. 

Roundworms

Roundworms are the most common type of worm found in dogs. They're usually white or light brown and look like spaghetti noodles. 


Roundworms are contracted through contact with contaminated soil or faeces. Puppies can also get them from their mother's milk or while they're still in the womb. If left untreated, roundworms can cause weight loss, diarrhoea, vomiting, and a pot-bellied appearance. In severe cases, they can even lead to death.

Tapeworms

Tapeworms are long and flat and look like strips of tape. They're usually white or cream-coloured. Tapeworms attach themselves to the walls of the intestines and feed off the food your dog digests. They're usually contracted by eating infected fleas or rodents. Signs that your dog has tapeworms include weight loss, diarrhoea, and vomiting. In severe cases, tapeworms can lead to anaemia or death.

Hookworms

Hookworms are small but dangerous parasites that attach themselves to the walls of the intestines and feed off your dog's blood. They're usually contracted by coming into contact with contaminated soil or faeces. 


Hookworms can cause anaemia, weight loss, diarrhoea, and vomiting. Like with tapeworms, in severe cases, they can even lead to death. If you think your dog has hookworms, it's important to take them to the vet, as they will need treatment immediately.

Whipworms

Whipworms are long and thin—hence their name—and look like whips. They're usually white or light brown in colour. Whipworms live in the large intestine and feed off your dog's blood. They're contracted by your dog coming into contact with contaminated soil or faeces.


Whipworms can cause weight loss, diarrhoea (which may contain blood), anaemia, and weakness. Like with other worms, whipworms can lead to death in severe cases. If you think your dog has this type of worm, it's important to take them to the vet ASAP, as there is no cure for whipworms once they infect your dog. 

Heartworms

Heartworms are another common type of worm found in dogs. They’re usually passed to dogs through the bite of an infected mosquito. Once a dog is infected, the heartworms will travel through their bloodstream and eventually end up in the heart and lungs, where they will mature and reproduce. This can cause coughing, exercise intolerance, and weight loss. If left untreated, heartworms can be fatal, leading to heart failure.

Coccidia

Coccidia is another common type of worm found in dogs. They are usually passed to puppies when they drink contaminated water or eat contaminated faeces. Once a puppy is infected, the coccidia will live in their intestine and feed off blood from the intestine lining. This results in bloody diarrhoea, weight loss, and dehydration. If not treated on time, it could be fatal for your pup. 


As we’ve shown above, there are many different types of worms that can affect dogs - some more serious than others. It is important to get your dog checked regularly by a vet so that any worm infestation can be caught early and treated accordingly. With prompt treatment, most dogs make a full recovery and go on to lead healthy lives!

Deworming Your Dogs

As a dog owner, you’ll know that keeping your dog healthy is one of your top priorities. Part of maintaining your dog's health is making sure they are free of parasites. As we’ve explored, intestinal worms can cause a range of health problems in dogs, including diarrhoea, vomiting, weight loss, and anaemia. In severe cases, they can even be fatal. 


Puppies are especially vulnerable to these health problems because their immune systems are not yet fully developed. Deworming medication is critical for preventing and treating infections in puppies. It is also important for adult dogs who may be exposed to parasites through contact with contaminated soil or dog faeces. Even if your dog does not seem ill, it’s important to get them checked for parasites regularly.


You’ll need to treat them promptly if they do become infected. Some types of worms can also be transmitted to humans, so it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself, your family, and your pet.

FAQs

How do I diagnose worms in dogs?

If you think your dog may have worms, take them to the vet for a diagnosis. The vet will perform a physical examination and may order a faecal test to determine which type of worms your dog has. The vet will then prescribe treatment. You can treat most worms with medication, but some, like heartworms, require more intensive treatment and can be fatal if not caught and treated early.

What are parasites in dogs?

Many different types of worms can affect dogs, some more serious than others. Get your dog checked regularly by a vet so that any worm infestation can be caught and treated early.


Intestinal worms, or helminths, are among the most common parasites in dogs. While they are usually not harmful to adult dogs, they can cause serious health problems in puppies. Therefore, it’s important to prevent your dog from becoming infected. If they do become infected, you’ll need to treat them quickly. By using monthly heartworm prevention, you can keep your dog safe from both heartworms and common intestinal parasites.


Two main types of intestinal worms commonly infect dogs: roundworms and tapeworms. Roundworms are the most common type of worm found in dogs, and puppies are particularly susceptible to infection. Roundworms are diagnosed by a faecal sample and are treated with deworming medications. If left untreated, roundworms can lead to poor growth and, in severe cases, death.


Tapeworms are less common but can still be a problem, especially if your dog ingests an infected flea. Tapeworms are segmented flatworms that live in the dog's intestines and absorb nutrients for survival.


If your adult dog has been exposed to parasites through contaminated soil or other dog faeces, it’s more important than ever to give them deworming medication. Even if your dog does not seem ill, it’s important to check them for parasites regularly. Consult your vet for a dewormer.

What are home remedies for deworming your dog?

There are a few home remedies that you can try to get rid of worms in your dog. Pumpkin seed smoothies are said to help get rid of roundworms. You can also buy over-the-counter deworming medication from your local pet store.


Whatever remedy you choose, consult your vet before giving your dog any type of medication. It is important to get the right diagnosis and treatment for your dog, as some worms can be serious and even life-threatening.

How can you prevent worms?

Once your dog is worm-free, talk to your vet about worm prevention. Many monthly heartworm prevention medications will include intestinal parasite prevention medication too, making total worm prevention easy.

Is toxocariasis serious?

Final Thoughts

Found worms in dog poop? It’s rather unpleasant but manageable if dealt with quickly.


You may notice other abnormal signs if you find worms in your dog's stool. It's fairly easy to prevent the most common intestinal parasites from affecting your dog. Depending on the type of worm that your dog has, your vet will prescribe a dewormer that will kill any adult worms your pet is harbouring.


You can also reduce the risk of parasites by stopping your dog from eating soil and other dogs' stool. While many infected dogs have normal bowel movements, you may notice physical symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, blood or mucus in the stool, weight loss, a poor coat, and abdominal discomfort or enlargement.


Your vet can recommend deworming medications to treat different types of intestinal parasites and heartworms, as well as preventative medications to ensure it doesn’t happen again.