The Signs of Worms in Dogs - Types, Symptoms and Treatments

worms in dogs
worms in dogs

Flea infestations on dogs are pretty easy to spot. It won't be long before you see one rummaging through the dog's fur or hopping on you. The signs of worms in dogs can be a little more subtle. You often only realize that your dog has worms after the parasites have taken hold and your dog's symptoms have become quite noticeable. Here we will look at some of the worm parasites that can invade your pet, what the symptoms are, what to do about it and preventing the same thing happening to you and your kids.

The main types of worms that affect dogs are Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and heartworms. All of these worms, with the exception of heartworms, live in the dog's digestive system. Let's see what the signs of worms in dogs actually are in terms of the symptoms they cause and how they should be treated.


Roundworms are the most common canine worm infection. They can grow to be 5 - 10 cm long, they are thin vermicelli like worms with a tapered end. They can be white or brown.

Symptoms are mainly vomiting loose bowel movements. Worms can sometimes be seen in the dog's stools and can, in extreme cause a blockage in the dog's bowels. Small puppies can often be infected by their mother's milk and, in some cases, can be born with the worm larvae having caught them in utero.


Hookworms 'hook' onto the walls of the dogs intestine with their mouths and feed from the dog.

Symptoms include blood in the stools, anemia and occasional irritated or dry skin.


These are very tiny worms which resemble a whip in shape - the head being the whip and the tail being the whip 'handle'. When a dog only has a small infestation, symptoms may not be noticeable but that changes when the infestation grows and the intestine wall becomes inflamed.

Symptoms include lethargy, weight loss, loose stools, anemia, blood in the stools and gas.


Tapeworms are long, segmented flatworms which have a pronounced head with suckers and grooves used to attach to the dog's intestine. Broken or still moving parts of the worm may be present in the dog's bowel movements.


Heartworms do not live in the gut but rather the respiratory system of the dog and are a much more serious problem. The presence of the parasites is very hard to spot until serious symptoms become apparent. The larvae are passed to the dog through a mosquito bite and make their way to the heart where they start to breed and mature.

Symptoms include a bad cough, shortness of breath, weakness and lethargy, chest pain and even fainting.

So what do we do when we see the signs of worms in dogs? For all of the worms except the heartworm, treatment is relatively straightforward. You will need to visit your vet and make sure that the diagnosis is correct. Your vet will then tell you which treatments you should use and the dosage rates.

 Many of the worming remedies are orally administered and can be bought over the counter but a few will need a vet to prescribe. It is very important to get this advice from a vet rather from your own guesswork or from Google.

In the case of Heartworms, prevention is far better than a cure as, even if the situation is caught early and your dog survives, it could well be left with a weakened heart. During the treatment, the dog will need injections and may have to stay at the vet. There are preventative vaccines and pills you should use if you live in a region where heartworm is common.

Some of the parasites which infest dogs can be passed to humans, often children who may be playing in sand or soil contaminated by old excrement. You should make sure that your kids always wash their hands well after playing outside and especially before eating. Also, be sure to wash vegetables and fruits before eating.

The Signs of Worms in Dogs - Types, Symptoms and Treatments The Signs of Worms in Dogs - Types, Symptoms and Treatments Reviewed by DogRedLine on June 23, 2018 Rating: 5

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