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Signs Your Dog Has Worms Or Parasites


Parasites are no doubt unpleasant. They can also be quite dangerous for dogs. But the main issue with parasites is that it is very hard to tell if the dog has an infestation. The indications of worms in dogs are similar to those caused by different conditions, which implies that you have to know what to look for. 

Common Worms In Dogs

There are many different types of worms commonly found in dogs:

  • Heartworms
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Whipworms
  • Tapeworms

Whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms are all known as gastrointestinal parasites, meaning they survive in the intestinal tracts of dogs. On the other hand, heartworms infect the lungs and hearts of dogs and can present many similar symptoms from intestinal parasites. 

How To Tell If The Dog Has Worms

A lot of signs are there of worms in dogs. A few are specific to particular species of worms. At the same time, other symptoms, such as malaise, anemia, weight loss, and variations in appetite, are general and can be symptoms of many different conditions and diseases. Here is a full list of all the signs the dog might experience.

Symptoms of Worms in Dogs:

  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Skin inflammation
  • Anemia
  • Blood in feces 
  • Weakness
  • Dermatitis
  • Inflamed rectum
  • Evidence of worms around the rectum or in feces (tapeworms)
  • Malaise
  • Evidence of worms in feces or vomit (roundworms)
  • Loss of condition
  • Changes in coat condition
  • Scooting
  • Pneumonia
  • Lack of growth (in puppies)
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Coughing, lethargy (heartworms)

Some of them are born already infected by worms through their mother’s placenta; worms can infect others later during nursing. This could be why faithful breeders follow a deworming plan under the veterinarians’ guidance and why puppy owners have to follow those signs. If the puppy has a pot-bellied appearance, is not growing, or is showing any other symptoms of worms in dogs, get an appointment with the veterinarian to see if any worms might be the culprit.

Worms may affect adult dogs also. Heartworms are especially dangerous for dogs of every age and can be deadly if they remain untreated. Signs of heartworms in dogs involve malaise, coughing, and reduced activity. Intestinal worms might be present with a wide range of symptoms, which depends on the worm type. Some worm larvae migrate by the skin, which will cause skin inflammation and dermatitis. Most worms may cause anemia and malaise, weakness, and changes in coat condition and appetite; weight loss is common. Severe infestations may lead to other types of conditions, such as pneumonia.

Eventually, you can see physical evidence of worms in the dog’s feces or around the rectum. Worms can look like small pieces of spaghetti or grains of rice, but remember that they are not always visible.

How Did My Dog Get Worms?

Dogs can get worms in many ways, depending on the worm species.

  • Transplacental (before puppies are born, via the placenta)
  • Transmammary (when puppies are nursing, via their mother’s milk)
  • Transdermal (through the skin)
  • Contact with infected soil
  • Contact with infected feces
  • Eating wild game
  • Fleas
  • Mosquitos

Puppies can get parasites from their mothers, either while nursing or during pregnancy. For example, roundworms can cross the placental barrier, so puppies are born already infested. Hookworms can get transmitted through infected dirt. Transdermal infection can occur when the parasite can penetrate the skin when dogs lie on any infected ground. Often, dogs ingest eggs while playing, sniffing, and then grooming themselves in infected regions. Infected feces may transmit roundworms, whipworms, and hookworms, and parasites, which is the reason why proper hygiene around dog poop is essential as well as your dog’s health. Different transmission forms involve mosquito bites (heartworm), eating infested game (tapeworms), and accidental ingestion of fleas (tapeworms).

Diagnosing Worms In Dogs

The veterinarian can determine if the dog has worms or any other condition using diagnostic tests and microscopic imaging. It is quite helpful to bring a sample of your dog’s stool to the veterinary appointment. Many worms can be contagious to humans also. Ensure that you consult the veterinarian regarding the remedy that could be the most effective for the dog. Keep in mind that puppies may be infected with various worm species, in which case a deworming medication or a combination of treatments that targets all types of worms may be necessary.


The thought that your dog might have worms is quite bad. Still, worms are treatable, and we can reduce the infestation risk with lifestyle adjustments and regular preventatives. If you think that the dog could have worms, then talk to the veterinarian about the best plan of action—and the pup must be worm-free soon.