🍎 Health & Wellness

Where Do Dogs Get Worms and Other Parasites From?

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January 7, 2021

Key Takeaways

There are a variety of worms that cause illness in your dogs such as: heartworms, hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms.  What causes worms in dogs?

Let’s take a closer look.

Centers For Disease Control and Prevention/Wikimedia

Hookworms are predominately found in dog feces.  If your dog eats these feces they can develop this condition.  Look for the following signs: loose stool or blood in the stool, the dog seems bloated, gas, has an unusual appetite, and his coat seems to be on the dull side.

Roundworms come from dogs ingesting the egg of the roundworm.  In puppies, they may become infected through the mother.  Signs that your dog has roundworm may be exhibited as follows: vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and an unusual appetite.

Heartworms are usually developed from mosquitoes.  This condition can result during warm months when dogs are more exposed to these pests.  Signs your dog may have heartworm includes: lethargy, coughing, appetite loss, difficult breathing, and may become more tired than usual after exercise.  This condition requires immediate treatment from a vet.

Tapeworms are caused by dogs eating fleas.  A regular inspection of your dog’s rectum to detect if there are any white rice-like parasites will clearly indicate your dog has tapeworms.  Other signs may include: itching in the infected area, inability to digest food,

loss of weight, and stomach pain.

Whipworm is caused by dogs that eat other feces that have been infested with worms or if they happen to step in feces and lick their paw.  A dog with this condition will have a bloody stool, unusual appetite, will become bloated, experience cramps, and have a dull coat.  

There are other serious conditions which can affect a dog’s health, particularly puppies.  While these are not attributed to worms, they should nonetheless be noted.  Coccidia are parasites which are caused by digesting feces.  Signs of this condition includes: loose stool, vomiting, loss of weight, and bloating.  Coccidia infect the intestines of the pup.

Another parasite which can affect pups is called Giardia.  Found mostly in areas where water is abundant, the ingestion of these parasites can cause loose stool, loss of weight, and bloating.  These parasites feed on the small intestine.

Detection and early prevention can alleviate the symptoms affecting your dog or puppy.

A regular check-up will give a vet the opportunity to check for worms and other conditions by taking stool samples.  If you find that your dog’s behavior or habits have changed in any way, make an appointment with your vet to ascertain the problem so that treatment can commence immediately.

Note: Some parasites can affect small children.  To prevent this from occurring, ensure that your child does not come into contact with the dog’s feces.  After your child plays with the dog, make sure he or she washes his hands thoroughly each and every time. 

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