So your dog starts to have a drastic change in appetite and you can notice him losing significant weight. The next thing you’ll know is infestation diagnosis and you’re left wondering, how do dogs get worms?
Fundamentally, your dog can get infected when he’s been eating worm eggs found in contaminated stool or soil. Apart from that, there are other numerous ways on how your beloved doggo is able to contract these unwanted microscopic beings.
Some parasites can become deadly if not prevented. Once you figured out your dog may be infected, take him to some treatment right away. Weak, young, and underweight dogs are the most vulnerable.
Show your love to your little furball by taking care of him and getting knowledgeable of worms.
Table of Contents
- 1 Ways on how dogs get worms
- 2 Why are worms harmful to your pet?
- 3 What are the types of worms?
- 4 Things to know about worms
- 5 How are worms transmitted?
- 6 What are the symptoms that your dog has worms?
- 7 How to spot dog worms?
- 8 How to prevent dog worms?
- 9 Tips on how to get rid of worms
- 10 Summary
Ways on how dogs get worms
Puppies have inborn intestinal worms. It is somehow hereditary and biologically integrated through natural processes. Baby dogs obtain these worms from their mother.
Intestinal worms lying in the mother’s body can even mature and create more siblings. In the occurrence the mother dog has these worms, she may pass them to her puppy. Along with the hormones, the worm secretly develops during pregnancy.
The newly developed intestinal worms pass through the placenta, infecting the puppy before it is even born. This transmission is scientifically known as Trans-placental.
Another way for puppies to obtain worms from their mother is through the milk they consume upon feeding. This transmission is called Trans-mammary.
Because of the somewhat natural events leading to puppies getting a worm, it is advised that you undergo your little furball in constant deworming.
Deworming must be done as early as when you’re pup starts breastfeeding. Remember that your beloved pup can obtain the worm once again after an initial deworming.
A great motivation to deworm your little doggo is the fact that canine and feline parasites are transmissible to humans.
3. Other ways for dogs to get these intestinal worms:
- Eating fleas
- Eating other animal’s feces
- Playing or catching prey such as snails, rats, and cockroaches
- When your dog stays too long on soil
- When your dog steps on another animal’s feces
You should keep your dog as healthy as possible at all times. Start by protecting him against worm infections. Remember, a worm’s egg can survive for years in the soil.
Why are worms harmful to your pet?
Worms are internal parasites that live in your dog’s blood that can result in a weak immune system, constant coughing, and noticeable weight loss. All of these conditions can be fatal and can even lead to death.
What are the types of worms?
The worms are identified by their shape – flat or round. The flat-shaped tapeworms, called as cestodes, can be further classified into sub-types. These worms live in your dog’s intestines – roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.
Your pet can also acquire bloodworms, lungworms, kidney worms, esophageal worms, intestinal protozoa, and liver flukes. The most common worms among dogs are tapeworms and hookworms only.
There are also parasites that live in the heart and are known to be fatal – called the Dirofilaria or heartworms. However, they are not a common condition and is not spread quite as easily as intestinal worms.
Heartworms can be carried by mosquitoes. It is a worm known for its high fatality level and has caused death in many cases. But you don’t have to worry that much – it is said to be a rare case.
Things to know about worms
Worms can be harmful and even lethal in some cases. With that in mind, it’s important to know these things:
- Worms can be prevented from overspreading. New-born puppies or a baby pup (around 1-month old) should be dewormed on a regular basis.
- Visit your nearest vet and discuss the matter. Usually, the vet will require at least two (2) sessions.
- Even though feces is a way to get the worms, the chances are actually pretty slim. In fecal exams, over 75 percent of the subjects have no parasites.
- It’s safe to assume that 80 percent of our pets are secured from getting worms, at least through a fecal transmission.
- As stated earlier, some worms living in dogs can infect people. So it’s best not to leave your best buddy unprotected as it can harm you too.
- No matter how you deworm your dog, he can still catch worms eventually. It’s in their nature and behavior. It’s your job to take them to deworming sessions.
Puppies around the globe are prone to the possibility of acquiring intestinal worm through passing it to them. This is highly possible when your little furball endured heavy, unhygienic environments. Matter of fact, they can even get worms in the most unsuspecting places like humane shelters.
Other unexpected places where your dog can get worms include:
- Doggy daycares
- Pet parks
- Communal area
- City streets
How are worms transmitted?
Not all worms are directly passed from one dog to another. Parasites require a good host, and they tend to spread in hosts like small rodents and fleas.
Even after you dewormed your pet, he will still be potentially re-infested by these uncontrollable hosts. Further, worms are perpetually present in most soils. So the next time you allow your dog indulge in a mud, think again. But if he insists, make sure to take him to a good bath afterward.
Microscopic worms such as hookworms can be contracted and spread via mouth or from a larval entry in the skin – in most cases is through the feet.
It’s possible that dogs can infect people, but do not worry – it’s rare. It depends on where the parasites migrate to. Proper hygiene on a daily basis is the key to keeping yourself from acquiring it.
What are the symptoms that your dog has worms?
Dogs are probably the dog’s most common health problem – more reason to look out for it much closer. Fortunately, the treatment to get rid of worms is quite affordable.
The only problem is, your baby furball can’t speak. You must take care of your little pup and be vigilant over the indications of a worm.
The signs may include:
- Blood in stool
- Poor hair coat (not good as before)
- Extreme weight loss (noticeable thin look)
- Diarrhea (wet feces)
- Rectal discomfort (he constantly licks his anus)
- Visible abdominal enlargement
- Drastic change in appetite
- Mucous substances in stool
There are also some worm infestations that won’t show any signs until the moment your pet’s life is already at risk. That is why it’s highly vital to visit your vet regularly even if you haven’t seen any of the symptoms above.
A professional vet is the only one who can give you real assurance over your dog’s current health. Bottom line – even though some rare worms won’t show hints of their existence, most intestinal parasites can be easily spotted and quite obvious.
How to spot dog worms?
It is important to look out for potential signs associated with unusual behavior your dog does. Some of the indications are already discussed just above. However, the most common way to spot some worm indication is by inspecting your pup’s excretion (feces).
There are ways to spot dog worms and the best way is to physically inspect your dog’s stool.
1. Roundworms and hookworms
Fully developed roundworms and hookworms will appear. The size can vary from small to large. They appear like spaghetti pasta that looks a little off-white. Practice caution and do not come in contact with the worms because they can infect human.
They look small and has an off-white to tan color. It appears to be a little segment in the stool. You should also look at your dog’s genital area. Tapeworms tend to cling to the hair around that area.
3. Fresh worms
Fresh worms are often white. They are about a quarter or half-inch long. What makes them gross is they can expand and contract. When these worms are dry, they will look similar to a rice grain or some dark sesame seed.
How to prevent dog worms?
The most important part of protecting your pet lies in prevention – not on how you deworm them. After some satisfactory deworming sessions, your job as his pet-parent is to prevent worm infestation in the first place.
Prevention will always be better than cure. Follow these tips to help you safeguard your furbaby from those harmful worms.
Always keep in mind that a dose of preventative medication is the best investment for your pup. It’s not expensive enough to burn your bank. Medication is far more affordable compared to the cost of delicate operations that your dog might undergo if the worms get worse.
2. Physically inspect your pet
Observe how your dog behaves and evaluate if there are changes that may indicate a bad condition. Hookworms, for instance, can sip your pet’s blood causing him to become anemic.
Check your dog’s gums. An anemic dog has gray to white gums. On the other hand, a healthy gum looks pale pink.
3. Vet visits
Make sure to visit your local vet once a month. It’s also the perfect time to give your puppy his medication. Set an appointment with your vet for him to give your dog the right attention.
Apart from medication (when the infestation currently occurs), the vet can also give an annual preventive dosage for your dog when the infestation is still not imminent.
Preventive dosage can regulate the possibility of future parasitic infestation.
4. Habitual cleanliness
It may sound like a complete cliché but remind yourself that cleanliness will always be next to godliness. Always throw away your pet’s feces away. Put it in a plastic bag and dispose of somewhere inaccessible for both animals and children.
Make sure that his place is always clean. Disinfect the floors and change his bed sheets more often. Apart from parasites, you might also want to prevent or get rid of mites.
5. Controlled eating
Do NOT ever let your pet eat dead animals or play other pet’s feces. Be mindful of their early stages and train them not to dwell on these things – eating random things can be a pet’s habit.
Dead bodies and decomposing feces are the perfect environment for parasites to thrive. Getting in contact with these things dramatically increases the chances of getting infected.
6. Wash your hands
After cleaning your pet’s litter or getting in contact with them, wash your hands especially if you know they could be infected.
Make sure you wash your hands with a good anti-bacterial soap. Ensure that you’re able to tackle your nails, especially if you have long ones. Nails are also a conducive place for bacteria to grow.
7. Maintain proper hygiene
Practice a good hygiene routine. Start by keeping your house and backyard clean. When you spot some feces, get rid of them right away. Do not let feces stay longer than a day – it’s an opportunity for the parasite to develop and harm you too.
Tips on how to get rid of worms
- As stated above, start by having a monthly vet visit for proper check-up and diagnosis. Hookworms and heartworms can grow fatal.
- If you already have enough experience in taking care of pets, you can skip the vet and directly purchase over-the-counter de-wormers.
- Medication can prevent further worm development and can eradicate them. However, this idea is not true for tapeworms. Dealing with tapeworms require the vet.
- STRICTLY follow your vet’s advice. No other person knows animals except the people whose profession revolve around it.
Since its first night in your household, your dog has been part of your family. Every household becomes livelier when a little furball grows in your midst. Taking care of them will earn you their priceless trust and loyalty.
Treating them as one of your own not only ends in giving him daily food; you should also be there every time he needs a means for survival.
Knowing how dogs get worms is one of the first steps to ensuring a healthy dog. Remember that your dog’s health is a direct reflection of how you are taking care of him and can indicate how you take care of your loved ones too.