Does My Dog Have Worms?

October 10, 2019

dog worms

Keeping your dog worm-free should be one of the basic health tasks for all canine owners. The tricky part is that detecting worms isn’t always an easy task, and some pooches have them for weeks even months before their owner realizes their dog needs deworming.

So, it is crucial for you to know all about dog worms and what they are able to do to your furry friend.

(RELATED: Is My Dog Overweight?)

Types Of Worms And Symptoms

There are 5 types of worms that might be living inside your dog’s body:

  1. Hookworms
  2. Tapeworm
  3. Heartworm
  4. Whipworm
  5. Roundworm

Here are some of the most important details you as a responsible dog owner must know about each of these ugly nuisances.


These little yet terrifying rascals live in your dog’s small intestine and drink his/her blood. Scary stuff, indeed. Hookworms can even cause anemia, and are able to kill young pups if they catch hookworms when they are very little.

Symptoms: pale gums, dark and tarry feces.

Hookworms can also affect people, with the larvae crawling just under the skin causing a red itchy rash.


Tapeworms are not nearly as scary as hookworms since they don’t cause any major health issues except an itchy bottom.

Symptoms: rice-like tapeworm segments on his droppings.


Interestingly enough these bad boys are spread from canine to canine via mosquitoes! Heartworms don’t seek residence in your pooch’s gastrointestinal tract, instead they live in the large blood vessels carrying blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs. This is why these worms tend to cause blood clots, inflammation, and often interfere with blood flow.

If it isn’t treated, the result may lead to:

  • heart failure with coughing,
  • fluid accumulation
  • and ultimately, death.


Whipworms are usually found in your dog’s caecum (appendix) and large intestine. The eggs of these worms are extremely hardy which enables them to survive in the ground for years.

Symptoms: inflammation of the intestine, diarrhea containing blood and mucous.


Roundworm mainly attacks puppies, and the tricky part is that our poor unsuspecting pups can even be infected while still nursing or even while in the womb!

If these are not discovered early, they can cause an intestinal obstruction which can make your dog seriously ill. However, these are quite large worms and therefore easy to find in your dog’s feces or vomit. Roundworm larvae can also hurt humans, causing eye and liver damage.

Symptoms: ill thrift, vomiting and diarrhea.

How To Treat Worm Infestations

Unfortunately, there is no worming treatment that is 100% effective, plus these treatments don’t usually work on immature worms that are still developing in Fido’s body.

The most stubborn of all worms mentioned above is the heartworm. These are much more difficult and tricky to treat and get rid of because killing these worms may cause even more inflammation in your dog’s blood vessels, while your pooch’s symptoms may also worsen significantly.

We recommend worming your dog three to four times a week, but it is always the safest bet to pay a visit to your local vet. Rhyme not intended!

(ALSO CHECK OUT: Diabetes In Dogs: Complications And Emergencies)

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