Pet Health, Pets and Family

How To Tell If Your Dog Has Worms – Signs And Symptoms Of Worms In Dogs

chihuahua dog white with a red collar looking very sick lying on a carpet

We all love our dogs so when it comes to dog diseases, we need to be vigilant, so our dogs remain in optimum health.  Dog worms can undermine the optimum health of your dog since your furry companion may look healthy on the surface but have worms that affect their well-being.  Nasty parasites or worms may jeopardize all that you do to keep your dog healthy.  

It is important to understand how to tell if your dog has worms and the signs and symptoms of worms in dogs. This article will tell you all about what worms are, plus the signs and symptoms of worms in dogs along with their treatments.

What Are Worms and Why Are They Dangerous For Dogs? 

Worms are very common for dogs, especially puppies. Worms are parasites that can live in the intestines of animals, including dogs. They steal nutrients from their host and can cause a wide range of health problems, including weight loss, diarrhea, anemia, and disease associated with these issues and even death.

golden retriever dog looking ill and sick and lying on colored carpet with someone petting his head

Parasites can cause various illness in pets

There are many different types of worms that can infect dogs, but the most common are roundworms, hookworms, heartworms, and tapeworms.  All of these worms can cause disease and zoonotic infections which are dangerous and can be deadly if left untreated.


Further, dog worms can transfer to people see the article Do Dog Worms Transfer to Humans here.  That’s why it’s important to have your dog checked for worms regularly and to give them regular worming treatments if necessary.

What Causes Worms In Dogs?

Most people are familiar with the common types of worms that affect dogs. Still, many don’t know how these parasites end up in their pet’s systems. Though dogs can become infected in a few different ways, the most common cause is ingesting infected feces. This can happen if your dog sniffs around or eats something it shouldn’t while out on a walk or if they drink from a puddle or lake that contains contaminated water. 

an infographic depicting how dogs get worms which includes seven ways dogs get worms and an image of that wayAnother way dogs can get worms is by coming into contact with an infected animal. This can happen if your dog plays with an infected dog, gets fleas from that dog, or is around the dog’s contaminated feces. 

 Dogs can also get worms from fleas. If a dog has fleas, it may also have tapeworms. Fleas transfer tapeworm eggs to your dog’s blood through their bite, Or it can also be transferred when the flea has been swollen by dogs when they lick or chew on their fur. The tapeworm (larvae) then attach to the wall of your dog’s intestine and continue growing to maturity. 

Puppies can be born with worms if their mother had them while she was pregnant, or later get them in their mother’s milk. Lastly, worms can even be transmitted to dogs through mosquito bites. 

No matter how your dog gets them, it’s important to know the signs of worms so you can get them treated quickly.

Symptoms or Signs Of Worms in Dogs

There are a few different symptoms that you might see if your dog has worms. These Include:

  • Your dog has a sudden change in appetite.
  • Your dog has pneumonia or Intestinal blockage.
  • Your dog is losing weight inexplicably, despite having a good appetite.
  • Your dog has diarrhea or increased stool volume, which may be bloody or contain mucus.
  • Your dog vomiting worms (or seeing them in your dog’s vomit) is a sure sign of an infestation.
  • Your dog may be coughing or wheezing more than usual.
  • Your dog has a dull coat as the parasites steal nutrients from their host, and your dog may shed more than usual.
  • Your dog may feel abdominal pain.
  • You see worms (that look like rice grains) attached to the fur around their bottom or found in your dog’s stool when you clean up after them.
  • Your dog may have difficulty breathing.
  • You notice your dog scratching its butt more than usual.
  • You notice your dog has a Pot-bellied appearance (black skin with scarce hair).
  • Your dog has Lethargy (sometimes described as extreme tiredness).
DIY pet care

Keep your eyes open for changes in your dog which may be a sign or symptom of worms

Sometimes worms show few to no signs, Keep your eyes open for any or all of these changes in your dog’s daily health and appearance. If you notice any of these signs, you must take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. The vet can confirm whether or not your dog has worms and prescribe the appropriate treatment.

Types Of Worms That Can Affect Your Dog and the Symptoms of Worms in Dogs

As any pet parent knows, keeping your dog healthy and free of parasites is important. And while most of us are familiar with the idea of fleas and ticks, not as many of us are aware of the danger that worms can pose to our furry friends. There are a number of different types of worms that can infect dogs, and each one comes with its own set of symptoms of worms in dogs and dangers. Here’s a quick rundown on the most common types of worms in dogs and their symptoms what you should do if you think your pup may be infected:

Roundworms in Dogs and Symptoms

Roundworms are usually transmitted through contaminated food or water. They can also be passed on from mother to puppy during pregnancy or nursing. They’re typically white or light-colored and look like spaghetti noodles. Symptoms of roundworm include:

  • Weight Loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • A Pot-Bellied Appearance

Tapeworms in Dogs and Symptoms

Tapeworms are flat, segmented worms that live in the intestine and can grow up to 8 inches long. They’re usually transmitted to dogs by ingesting a host that contains tapeworm. You may also see segments of the tapeworm in your dog’s stool or around his anus. Symptoms of tapeworms include:

  • Itching
  • Scooting and chewing at the rear end

Hookworms in Dogs and Symptoms

Hookworms are also common in the soil and the grass of the farm. This worm can be transmitted to the dog when playing with the soil or walking on the ground, and they are not usually visible to the naked eye. Symptoms of hookworm include:

  • Anemia
  • Severe blood loss
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea

Whipworms in Dogs and Symptoms

These parasites live inside the dog’s intestine and pass eggs in the feces. They can be passed from mother to puppies in utero or through the birth canal and can also be found in the environment. The infection is transmitted through the fecal-oral route, which means the dog eats something contaminated with the worm’s eggs. This worm is rarely seen on its own but can be seen in a number of diseases in dogs. Symptoms of whipworms include:

  • Reduced Appetite
  • Chronic weight loss
  • Bleeding and mucous in the stool

No matter the worms that affect your dog checking for worms regularly is extremely important not only to provide peace of mind for the safety of your family but for the health and longevity of your dog.