Why Worms are so bad For Your Dog and How to Treat Them


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Five types of parasites or more commonly known as worms are problematic as they infect dogs. There are heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. The type of worm that will infect canines depends on the area you live. Here is why these worms are so bad for your dog.RoundwormsRoundworms usually spread during pregnancy or in feces or nursing and are capable of causing serious problems in dogs. If puppies get infected by roundworms, it can be fatal. As roundworms eat the food of your canine, it can cause the following symptoms:

  • Belly pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dull coat
  • Potbelly
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss

HookwormsHookworms usually live in the canineโ€™s small intestine and suck the hostโ€™s blood. Adult canines get hookworms when they clean themselves or through its skin. These worms pass on to the puppies if their mother is infected. Canines that have hookworms exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Anemia
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflammation of small intestine
  • Lining of ears, lips, and nostril become pale
  • Poor appetite

If canines donโ€™t receive treatment for hookworms on time, it can be fatal.HeartwormsHeartworms infect canines when mosquitos bite them. Hookworms can grow up to 14 inches and live in the arteries that carry blood to the lungs and the heart of the canine. When heartworms infect canines, they cause the following symptoms:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Bulging chest
  • Difficult or rapid breathing
  • Dry and soft cough
  • Nosebleed
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Weight loss

If the canines donโ€™t receive treatment for heartworms, they will attack the heart and block the flow of blood. As a result of this, the canines will collapse, suffer from shock and their red blood cells get destroyed. Within a few days, the infection will prove fatal.WhipwormsThe area where large and small intestines meet is where you will find whipworms. They feed on their hosts by sucking their blood. Canines pick them up by grooming or from contaminated soil. Whipworms can cause the following symptoms in canines:

  • Anemia
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Large bowel inflammation
  • Weight loss

Whipworms cause serious problems when there is a large number of them.TapewormsWhen canines swallow fleas or lick themselves, they can get infected by tapeworms. Tapeworms attach to the intestine and absorb the nutrients of the canines. Tapeworms are made up of tiny segments that are as big as a grain of rice. There are no signs of infection when tapeworms infect canines. However, on rare occasions, the following symptoms can be observed:

  • Diarrhea
  • Distended abdomen
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Poor skin or coat
  • Weight loss

Treatment The type of treatment given by the vet depends on the worm infecting the canine. Fenbendazole and Pyrantel pamoate is used to treat hookworms and roundworms. To treat tapeworms, the vet will give Epsiprante and Praziquantel. For whipworms, the canine will receive Febantel and Fenbendazole. If the canine has tapeworms, Epsiprantel, Fenbendazole, and Praziquantel are effective. Always consult the vet before giving any medications to your canine. If you have any queries, feel free to leave a comment below.

What to Do if There Are Worms in Your Dog's Poop

When parasitic worms get inside your petโ€™s digestive tract, they cause suffering and severe medical problems. One of the best ways to check whether your dog is infested is to regularly check for worms in your dogโ€™s poop โ€” thatโ€™s right, as unpleasant as it may sound you should be looking for worms and eggs in your dogโ€™s feces. If you spot them, contact your vet to start treatment as soon as possible. Hereโ€™s what to look for:


These feed on your dogโ€™s blood, causing malabsorption, dehydration, diarrhea, and anemia. Dogs usually acquire hookworms and other parasites by eating feces containing the worms. However, hookworms can also burrow into your dogโ€™s skin, entering at the paw pads from contaminated soil.

A dog with hookworms may have loose, dark, or bloody stool, and suffer from weight loss and dehydration. At those signs, your vet will need to check your dogโ€™s stool. If hookworms are found, you can treat your pet with Drontal Panacur C for dogs, or another deworming medication. If the infestation is very serious, your dog may need iron therapy and a blood transfusion. While your dogโ€™s shedding the hookworms, you should be careful to clean up all feces immediately to ensure that your pet doesnโ€™t get reinfected.


Roundworms can infect an adult dog thatโ€™s ingested the microscopic eggs while grooming (licking off contaminated dirt), by eating an infected rodent, or via coprophagia (the medical term for eating feces).

It can take several months for symptoms such as a bloated belly, weight loss or changes to your dogโ€™s coat to appear. The most obvious sign will be bouts of diarrhea that contain worms up to several inches long. Youโ€™ll need to administer several rounds of deworming medication to kill worms in various stages. Be sure to choose a medication that targets roundworms.


Theses string-like parasites cause severe irritation to the intestines and colon. As with other pathogenic worms, keeping your dog away from contaminated soil and poop is the best way to prevent infestation. Because whipworms can survive in their egg stage for up to five years, you should clean up after your pet right away so eggs that pass in dog poop wonโ€™t contaminate the area.

Symptoms of whipworm are very similar to those from other parasitic worms. While dogs pass whipworm eggs in their stool, these are microscopic so a vet needs to examine the feces to make a diagnosis.  Treatment includes typical deworming medication.


Fleas carry tapeworm eggs. If your dog eats one of these fleas, the tapeworm eggs will be ingested. They then hatch and attach themselves to your dogโ€™s intestinal tract. If you notice the typical symptoms of a parasitic infestation (diarrhea, weight loss), check your dogโ€™s feces for wiggling pieces of a tapeworm or its eggs, which resemble grains of white rice. You should also check your dogโ€™s rectum in case pieces of the tapeworm have stuck to the fur.

Iverhart Max or another deworming mediation will help to dissolve the tapeworm or paralyze it so it can be excreted. Make sure to pick a dewormer that works on all types of intestinal worms like Panacur C dog dewormer to provide complete protection.

More on Parasites

Parasites and Worms in Dogs and Cats
How Testing for Heartworm Changes With Life Cycles
Can People Get Heartworms?

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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