10 Symptoms of dog worms
- Hips have no fat on them
- You can easily feel the spine by running your hand along your dogs back.
- Your dog often has a messy bum/rear
- Your dog often has stomach upsets with soft or runny poops
- Some dogs will actually lose their appetites, missing meals
- More vomiting and eating grass
- You can see worms in the poop or stool in the case of roundworms, but not always.
- Blood in the stool or a mucus film on the stool can be indicator of worms
- Dog’s coat is dull, dry or just not healthy looking
- Your dog is either lethargic or at the other extreme, very fidgety
In the more extreme stages of worm infestation, your dog will be underweight as a result of the worms getting much of your dogs nutrition. In the early stages, your dog may show no signs of worm infestation or will just show a few of the signs. If your dog shows most of these markers for worms, he or she is in desperate need of a chemical deworming!
I have read many articles on using food to prevent or de worm dogs. One holistic Vet claims that adding vegetables, up to 20% of a dog’s diet will chase out worms. I have a different take on that, using vegetables to possibly prevent a major worm infestation is all well and good, but don’t depend on it 100%.
What are the most common dog worms?
1. The most common and number one worm is the Round Worm. Blech! Horrible creature! Thankfully it is the easiest to get rid of too. When you see them, they look like spaghetti, white and well…. looking like skinny strands of spaghetti. Not sure I should put a picture of them here, don’t want to spoil your lunch but hey, you should know what they look like.
Your dog can have so many of these awful buggers in his stomach that his stomach will look full and potbellied. I know… gross. The life cycle of the Round worm begins as eggs that are swallowed by the dog, where they hatch into microscopic sized larvae in the stomach. From the stomach, the larvae migrate to the lungs.
The dog coughs up the larvae, swallows and now it’s the larvae, not eggs, that are in the stomach. The larvae make their way down through the intestinal system, growing into adult worms, laying eggs and the cycle continues. Yeesh, I am getting nauseous just thinking about it. Want to hear more? Female roundworms can lay 200,000 in one day and can infect people too. Okay, that’s enough for me… moving on.
2. Whip worms, so called because they are thin like thread with a thicker area at one end (like a handle), These bad guys are shorter than the Round worms, much thinner but still kind of look like pasta. Sorry. These parasites attach themselves to the walls of the upper intestines and devour blood.
Yup, they are bad to the bone! Whipworms are not likely to cause death and often leave no trace in the stool. So, just because few eggs are found during microscopic inspection, does not mean there are no worms.
3. Hookworms, are similiar to the whip worm, as they attach themselves to the walls of the intestines but they do so by ‘hooking’ on. These buggers also suck blood, and can cause severe anemia. Of all the worms, Hookworms scare me the most. Why?
The larvae of Hookworms can live in the soil, in areas where an infected dog or human has defecated, yep, pooped on soil or grass, folks! That larvae can ‘hook’, onto bare feet and enter your body this way. Since this parasite can pass from animals to humans very easily, through eating/drinking contaminated food, this is another good reason to deworm your dogs! Oh and maybe don’t walk barefoot in areas where humans or dogs have pooped either. Just saying.
4.Tapeworms, are not as prevalent unless you have a dog plagued by fleas. This worm is a segmented creature growing up to 8 inches long, breaking parts of itself off as it continues to grow. Like the hookworm, it ‘hooks’ onto the colon walls but can also live in the stomach.
Dogs usually get tapeworm from either eating food infected with Tapeworm or from swallowing a flea that is infected with tapeworm larvae. Tapeworm segments have been described as looking like ‘grains of rice’, sorry for the food comparisons again!
These segments can sometimes be seen in the dog’s poop or stool. Tapeworm segments are irritating to the dog’s behind or butt, causing the dog to scoot along the floor to.. well…. scratch his butt. It gets worse, those segments contain the eggs of the tapeworm and so the cycle continues. Like whipworm, tapeworm eggs do not show up well under microscopic examination, however the rice shaped segments are a major clue. This is also a worm that can be passed to people.
Note- Heartworm will not be included in this article as they are in a class unto themselves.
Now you know about common worms that can and will affect your dogs (and you), so what do you do about it?
First, you can get your dog checked by your Vet, but as I mentioned above, tests are not 100% accurate of whether your dog is infested or not.
Your Vet can recommend the best dewormer to use, and there are a few kinds. Fenbendazole is one that is effective on all four of the following worms.It is packaged under a few brand names for dogs like Safe Guard or Panacur. Amazon has fenbendazole in the form of Safe Guard canine dewormer. You can order it at the bottom of this article.
I used Safe Guard for horses, in a calculated dose. There are also natural and gentler products to deworm your dogs in the form of herbs. There are 3 online stores in my Store Reviews page that sell products like that –Only Natural Pet, Natural Wonder Pets and Pet Wellbeing.
One of my dogs this year was showing signs of worms but I did not realize it at first. Ciro, my youngest dog, had been dewormed at the Vet when he was younger so I didn’t really think of worms when he started showing certain signs. Looking back, his earliest sign was suddenly losing his appetite for his dogfood and having a messy area under his tail from time to time. Suddenly, he would develop diahrea, which would come and go, and I would assume it was the lefovers that I gave him or maybe too many dog bisquits?
I would change his food and eliminate certain treats, and for awhile, no leftovers either. When I noticed him looking thinner and I had to really encourage him to eat, I started to get really worried. Ciro’s growth seemed to have slowed down completely which was unusual for his age, just over 1 year of age. His sire is a Great Pyrenees, a very large breed that is not finished growing until 2 years of age. It began to dawn on me that maybe I was dealing with a worm infestation, even though I saw nothing in his poop or stool.
Now, my horses are on a regular deworming schedule, twice a year, with 2 or three different dewormers. One of the main dewormers is called Fenbendazole, which I know I have used on my dogs too in the past. I did some research and put a plan of action in place. I began to give both my dogs, a portion of this Fenbendazole based horse dewormer, on a piece of bread once a day for 5 days. My dogs love bread.
Fenbendazole is best given over 3 to 5 days, but I chose 5 to make sure. The result? Within a few days, Ciro’s constant messy poops, became solid and normal. No more messy fur back there. Ciro’s appetite came back to normal and has picked up some weight since. After a few weeks, I treated him again and decided to treat some of my cats too.
I have trained my dogs to socialize with the visiting dogs in my Pet Hotel, and I believe Ciro became infected from some of the visiting dogs here. Ciro was spending a lot of time, Sirius too, with various dogs that were boarding here. Playing and mingling with dogs that were no doubt shedding eggs and larvae. Some dogs are resistant to infestations, having a natural immunity. I believe my older dog Sirius is like that as he has never shown signs of worms. Sirius will be dewormed regularily from now on along with Ciro.
Around this time, I was taking care of a very thin Husky (in my Pet Hotel), all of his ribs showing, yet his owner fed his dog top quality food, better than what my dogs get even! Seeing how well Ciro did after his deworming, I gave the Husky a 7 day treatment with his owner’s blessing.
At the beginning of the treatment, the Husky was taken to the Vet to be neutered and the vet observed lots of dead roundworms in his stool. I discontinued treatment for 24 hours, to limit any possible reactions to the pain meds, and then continued with the Fenbendazole.
On the third day, I observed a lot of roundworms in his stool (gross!), on the 4th day just a few and after that,no more were showing themselves. I continued treatment for 7 days with no ill effects to the dog. This dog started to pick up a bit of weight in the week that followed so it was obviously working. I decided to deworm a few more dogs in my care that had spent a lot of time with the husky too, just to be sure. .
So you’ve read the signs your dog has worms…and if you have not dewormed in a long while, or maybe you have NEVER given your dog a dewormer… may I suggest that you do it ASAP 🙂 At the end of this post, I have also placed an Amazon shopping banner for your convenience. You will not see it if you have an Ad Blocking setting in your Google settings.