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How Do Dogs Get Worms And How To Prevent Them?

how do dogs get worms

Dogs are curious and fun loving by nature. They love capering and romping in parks, mingling and playing with other dogs. It is fine and healthy but your dog can get worms during this social catching as worms passed easily from one dog to another.

Although worms are not considered a grim health issue if left untreated could lead to some severe health problems. So it is vital for dog owners to know how do dogs get worms? Dog Worms are parasites that feast on the body of the host (your dog) for survival. They take away the energy and nutrients from your dog. So it is essential to prevent and keep these blood sucking parasites away from your canine friends.

The most common worms in dogs are heartworm, hookworm, tapeworm, roundworm, and whip worm.

How Do Dogs Get Heartworms?

Heartworm is a disease which is caused by worms that actually lives on the heart, lungs and blood vessels of the host animal.The female worm is about 27 cm long and the male is about 17 cm long. This disease is transmitted from one dog to another through mosquito bites. The mosquito when bites a dog infected with heartworm disease ingest microscopic heartworm larvae called microfilaria in the blood and transfer the infected larvae through mouthparts to another dog. The larvae then mature into adult worms inside the dog’s body and reproduce their offspring and thus increase in number.

Heartworm disease in dogs is a potentially deadly disease if left untreated. It could damage the lungs, heart, and arteries of your dog. Puppies can get heartworms directly from their mothers, bedding and the environment, Yards or parks soiled by a dog with worms are some common causes of heartworm infestation.

How Do Dogs Get Hookworms?

Ancylostoma caninum is the most common type of hookworms found on dogs. Hookworms live chiefly in the small intestines of the dog but in case your dog is heavily infected by hookworms they may be found in colon and cecum also. A female worm can produce over 16000 eggs every day. The eggs are passed in feces and develop into infected larvae in the environment in the soil or water. This larva can be consumed orally by the dog or can penetrate the skin through pads of the feet.

How to tell if your dog has hookworms: Tarry looking stool may indicate hookworm infestation. Puppies can get hookworms even before birth directly from their mother or from bedding or yards soiled by a dog with worms.

How Do Dogs Get Tapeworms?

Dipilydium Caninum is the most common specie of tapeworm on dogs. Tapeworm is an endoparasite and belongs to the Cestode family. It lives in the intestine of the host animal. Its body is long, ribbon-shaped and divided into many segments. Its anterior end is rounded, head like. It contains suckers and rings of hooks with the help of which it attaches to the body of the host animal.

Tapeworm is more likely found in adult dogs. If you look at them they look like moving white, flat worms in fresh stool and like “grain of rice” when dry up. If your dog scoots her rear on the ground it may indicate tapeworm infestation.

Fleas help spread tapeworms in dogs. Your dog can get tapeworms by eating fleas that swallowed tapeworm eggs. Dogs surely love to hang out in parks but can catch tapeworms by digging in the dirt and licking the other dog. Rodents or dead animals are the perfect spots for tapeworms, so do not let your buddy with them to avoid any tapeworms.

How Do Dogs Get Roundworms?

Nematodes or roundworms are free living as well as parasites. Roundworms live in the intestine of the dog. They can grow up to half a foot in length. The body of the roundworm is long, smooth and cylindrical (pointed at both the ends) without segments. Your dog can get roundworms by consuming roundworm’s eggs off the soil or environment. Puppies can get worms directly from their mothers or from bedding or yards soiled by a dog with worms.

How Do Dogs Get Whipworms?

Trichuris vulpis or Whipworms live in the large intestine. They are smaller in size ranging from 30-50 ml in length. Adult whipworms lay eggs in the intestine of the dog and thus are released into the environment through the feces matter. These eggs are hatched in the soil in few weeks. These infected eggs are consumed by another host resulted in the spread of whipworm disease.

Whipworms are so small in size, you cannot see them but some of the indications of whipworm infestation include anemia, diarrhea, weakness, and weight loss and nutrients deficiencies. Blood in the stool may also indicate whipworms. Whipworms infestation could also affect the immune system of your dog.

How to tell if your dog has worms?

Consult your vet if you see the following signs in your dog.


If your dog has worms, a persistent slight cough will continue for quite a good time.


Dogs with worm’s infestation vomit and sometimes the worms are visible in the vomit too.

Dull coat

The coat of your dog stares. It becomes dull and lacks shine.

Change in appetite

Weight loss is also a common factor. It is possible that your dog eats voraciously or eats less but in both the cases the weight loss and your dog will not put on weight.


The stool is one of the most obvious things to look at. The stools become irregular. Slim and watery one time and thick and hard the other time. You may also see worms in the stool.

Enlarged belly

If you touch the belly it will feel hard and may be possible you feel the swelling.


If your dog scoots her rear on the ground it may indicate worm infestation.

Itching and skin irritation

If your dog scratches frenzy at its fur or skin it may indicate worm infestation.

How can I prevent my dog from getting worms?

Worms need to be eliminated from your dog as it causes some serious health issues for your dog. You cannot completely eliminate worm’s infestation but some of the things which you can do to prevent your dog from getting ill by worms are:

  • Do not let your dog play with dead animals and rodents as it may cause tapeworm disease.
  • You may have seen your puppy licking his feces matter many times. Always discourage it and try to clean the waste right away as it is one of the most common ways of puppies getting worms.
  • Try to flea proof your house as fleas help spread tapeworms in dogs.
  • Also, try to keep your dog away from mosquito bites as it may cause heartworm disease.
  • Try to clean your dog’s bedding and cleaning contaminated environment on regular basis to remove any feces matter and dirt which could cause worms.
  • Take your dog to the vet for regular checkups and also talk about de-worming your dog.
  • Take good care of your dog’s hygiene to prevent worm infestation.

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