How to Reduce or Eliminate Worms in Dogs

Michelle is a professional freelance writer who loves music, poetry, pets, and the arts. She is a techno-geek as well.

Worms. I completely understand that this is not quite a subject anyone would want to discuss at the dinner table.

For the purposes of ensuring the good health of our pets, face the wriggly worm we must, for worms can be the bane of our pets' existence.

Pet owners, especially first time ones, will find information on deworming pets essential. There are several types of these infernal parasites which can make their homes in our pets' bodies and there are a few natural ways to be rid of them.

And what can we expect after our pets have been dewormed?

Reasons Why We Should Deworm Our Dogs

We care for our pets as pet owners and a vital part of that is making sure that our dogs, especially young dogs and puppies, receive appropriate deworming treatment. For all dog owners, especially those who have welcomed a dog into the family for the first time, this is noteworthy.

Deworming Prevents Serious Health Problems in Dogs

Deworming a pet would reduce the risks of intestinal problems and issues like vomiting or diarrhea. Worms can cause a dog to have inappropriate changes in appetite. Their coats become dull and dry. Deworming also prevents conditions like anemia and nutritional deficiency, for worms are parasites that drain the dog of the nutrition it needs.

If Left Unchecked, Parasites Can Cause Death

If the problem of worm infestation is not checked, health problems can increase to a level that can cause death. This is especially true in the case of the heartworm, which causes a slowing of circulation and even breathing.

Deworming Your Dog Prevents Health Problems for Humans

Some worms, such as roundworms and hookworms, can be passed on to humans via accidental contact with animal faeces. Children are especially susceptible to these worm transfers as they play in playgrounds near soil, where it is likely that they will make contact with the parasites.

Parasites Cause Delayed Growth in Puppies

As the nutritional needs of puppies would be even greater than adults, sharing nutritional intake with a few parasites is bound to hamper their growth. This increases in seriousness when the dog experiences a loss of appetite and refuses to eat or vomits.

Symptoms of Worms in Dogs

There are several signs that can alert owners to the presence of worms in their pets and prompt the need for a visit to the vet. All dogs should be dewormed especially if the dog is young.

Bearing this in mind, puppies should be dewormed initially at about 2 weeks of age, and again at 4, 6 and 8 weeks. Thereafter, yearly deworming is recommended. Some worms can worm their way into the dog's system no matter how we prevent them, so how do we spot signs these infernal parasites in our dogs?


Coughing can be the sign of heartworms that have developed in the dog to an advanced stage. Dogs with hookworms or roundworms may also develop a cough.

A Change in Appetite

Though worms take advantage of a dog’s nutritional intake and cause him to lose his appetite, they may also cause him to eat a little more voraciously. As worms steal a dog’s nutrients, he is prone to being hungry.

With a loss of appetite will come weight loss, so if this is observed, visit the vet without delay.


Vomiting may be a sign of the presence of worms, especially the roundworm, which may show up when the dog throws up.


When you visit the vet with complaints of diarrhea in your dog, the first thing that he or she ask for is a fecal sample. This is what happened when my dog Cloudy had a recent bout.

Worms can cause a dog to have soft stools. In addition, hookworms cause blood in a dog’s stools.


If a usually energetic dog suddenly stops being active and wishes to sleep more often, that can signal the presence of worms.

Tiredness, of course, may cause a dog to slow down. Owners should look out for any other accompanying signs above.

A Potbelly

A dog that has a bloated appearance may have contracted worms, as this is seen in more in puppies.

A Dull Coat

We care for our pets as pet owners and a vital part of that is making sure that our dogs, especially young dogs and puppies, receive appropriate deworming treatment. For all dog owners, especially those who have welcomed a dog into the family for the first time, this is noteworthy.

Skin Irritation

Worms, such as roundworms and hookworms, are culprits of skin irritation. If your dog has no fleas and is still scratching persistently, a visit to the vet might be in order.


Worms in the intestine can cause itchiness in the anal area. Hookworms are guilty of causing a dog to move quickly and uncomfortably in a crouched position, known as “scooting.”

Worms in Fecal Matter

Worms show up when a dog passes out faeces, so a vet will request a fecal sample when a dog has diarrhea. While some are visible to the naked eye, some may be more visible under a microscope. Roundworms and tapeworms will tend to show up in a dog’s fecal matter.

Types of Worms in Dogs

A worm is a worm, but there are many types of these unwanted parasites. All of these can be prevented if a dog is dewormed regularly. Here are some indicators of different types of worms in dogs.



A suspicion of roundworms may arise when a dog:

  • has a dull coat
  • loses his appetite
  • loses weight
  • has a pot bellied appearance
  • vomits or experiences nausea


Roundworms may be passed on from the intestines of the mother to puppies as they feed, or contaminate a dog when he accidentally ingests fecal matter. They are also dangerous as they are transmittable to humans.


Dogs with roundworms may be treated with pyrantel pamoate. Larger adult dogs may be given diethylcarbamazine or piperazine.


You know that your dog has got a few tapeworms when:

  • he experiences abdominal pain
  • is agitated
  • loses weight
  • has an itchy anus
  • vomits

you see pieces of broken ‘tape’ in your dog’s stools.


Be alert if your dog is experiencing a flea infestation. Dogs typically contract tapeworms by swallowing infected fleas and ticks. These nasty parasites are also transmittable to humans.


Medicine for reducing tapeworms like Droncit, Cestex, Drontal, Drontal Plus, Telmintic, and Vercom Paste is usually effective for dogs. Prevention is simple when pet owners observe the necessary pooper-scooper ordinances.


These fellows get their names because they look like little whips. You know your dog has come into contact with them if:

  • there is blood or mucus in his stools
  • he experiences flatulence
  • has diarrhea
  • is anemic
  • or loses weight


These worms are also transmitted from a mother’s milk or from contaminated stools which a dog might ingest.


Interceptor ( a drug worthy of Schwarzenegger) is a drug that can stop the whipworm, in addition to treatments like Panacur, Drontal Plus, Telmintic, and Vercom Paste.

Regular deworming is necessary to prevent the whipworm, and pet owners should adhere to the use of pooper scoopers and pick up after their pets. These worms are particularly resilient and eggs can remain in infected environments for up to 5 years.


These tiny worms cannot be seen by the naked eye, but you know your dog has hookworms if:

  • he has pale gums
  • loses weight
  • has bloody stools
  • lacks energy
  • has skin irritation
  • has diarrhea


Hookworms can be transmitted from the mother’s milk as a puppy nurses. A dog can also get infected if he accidentally ingests contaminated fecal content from the ground. Pads of the feet can be a transmitter of hookworms in dogs.


Dewormers like Nemex, Panacur, Drontal Plus, Telmintic, and Vercom Paste are effective in treating hookworms.

In addition, pet owners must be responsible and prevent their pets from defecating in areas where humans and pets come into contact with the ground, like playgrounds or benches.


This is by far the most threatening of worms that can make their homes in dogs, because they affect a vital organ that sustains life. Because they cannot be seen with the naked eye, and symptoms only show in advanced stages, it is particularly deadly. Wrapping themselves around a dog’s heart, you know your dog has become their unfortunate victim if:

  • your dog has difficulty breathing
  • coughs
  • is lethargic
  • has a dull coat


This worm is passed to animals which are bitten by infected mosquitoes, which happens in warmer areas and seasons of the year.


Treatment for heartworm is dangerous, requiring arsenic-based medication that kills worms. It is far better to prevent the infestation. Heartworm preventives should be given to puppies and young dogs at early stages. A prevention program should be started when a dog is between 6 to 8 weeks of age, particularly if he leads a less sedentary lifestyle and is outdoorsy. They include drugs like Heartgard and Interceptor.

What to Expect After Your Dog Has Been Dewormed

So you have taken your dog through a course of deworming treatments. What can I expect next?

Expelled Worms

After deworming a dog, it is normal to spot a few that have been rid of by the dog’s system in his fecal content. Some medications paralyze worms, so they may be live when a dog purges them.

An Upset Stomach

Again, medication given is aimed at helping a dog to be rid of worms, so a little stomach upset after deworming is a sign that the medication is working. However, repeated incidents will warrant veterinary attention.


A dog may feel lethargic after being dewormed, just as he might after he has had an injection. Again, prolonged lethargy is a sign for veterinary attention.

Feeling Better

A dog should feel better 24 hours after deworming and its coat should gradually attain its normal coloring. Follow up treatments and testing should indicate that the dog is free from worms.

Do Your Part to Prevent an Infestation

Worms are not creatures we would want to interact with and certainly must be rid of. Regular prevention and being responsible enough to pick up after our pets can help to prevent their spread and infestation.

© 2013 Michelle Liew

LeislRachel on May 15, 2020:

Great! Thanks for sharing your wonderful posts. So happy I found the treatment. You can search for * NOWORM365 * in Google and find Albenza (albendazole) or vermox (mebendazole). They are broad spectrum anthelmintics effective against roundworms, pinworms and, depending on the dose also against some tapeworms and a few trematodes. In dogs and cats delivery with the food increases the bioavailability of the medicine resulting in a better efficacy.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 01, 2013:

Hope it helps, Martie!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on March 30, 2013:

Midget, worms in dogs is a creepy topic, but superbly presented by you. I am sharing this with my daughter :)

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 30, 2013:

Thanks, Joy! Do be careful about using natural methods...consult the vet first before proceeding!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 30, 2013:

Garlic does help rid the dog of parasites, but must be given with discretion and yes, consultation with the vet is always the key. Thanks, Mary.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 30, 2013:

Thanks, Ruchira!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 30, 2013:

Yes, you can give them garlic, but with discretion and in very small doses. It is best to ask a vet about it before proceeding because the dog might not react to it well. Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 30, 2013:

Thanks, Eddy.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 30, 2013:

Garlic is a natural way of getting rid of parasites, but must be given with discretion and consultation with a vet. Thanks for sharing, Bill!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 30, 2013:

Thanks so much for the link, CC.

Joy from United States on March 29, 2013:

Hmm this one is quite interesting topic i was thinking about. Now I can give better comfort to my dogie.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 29, 2013:

I had read somewhere not to give your dog garlic! I would rather leave the deworming to my Vet, honestly. When I worked with Doc my Vet hubby, I would find heartworms in the microscope looking at a blood sample. They are horrible. These worms actually wiggle throughout the heart. No wonder they will kill the poor dog. Course the treatment is hard on the dog, too.

Great Hub. Voted UP and shared in the usual places.

Ruchira from United States on March 29, 2013:

Great tips, Michelle.

I will forward to a friend who has 2 dogs as pets. I don't have one yet...thus, can't relate to the importance of it :)

voted up as useful

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on March 29, 2013:

Thank you very much for all the information Michelle! I didn't know there were different kinds of worms! I didn't know either that you could give garlic to a dog. At one point I wanted to mix some onions (cooked) to the food of my really old cat because she had some problems with constipations and the vet told me absolutely not because of some risks for the health of the cat. She suggested to add some pureed pumpkin and mix it to her food.... and it worked.

Thank you again for your interesting hub!

Have a nice Easter with your family!

Eiddwen from Wales on March 29, 2013:

So well informed and useful Michelle. Thank you for sharing and enjoy your day.


Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 29, 2013:

Garlic? I had no idea, Michelle! Excellent suggestions and thank you.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 29, 2013:

Awesome hub on helping our little furry friends and I'm linking up to mine now - so I don't forget. :)

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 29, 2013:

On the importance of deworming our dogs, how to do so and what to expect after deworming

Heartworms in Dogs: Facts and Myths

WebMD separates the facts from fiction about canine heartworms.

Heartworms in dogs are easy to prevent, but difficult and costly to cure. We asked Sheldon Rubin, 2007-2010 president of the American Heartworm Society, to separate facts from the myths about heartworm infestations in dogs.

Q: How do dogs get heartworms?

A: Only by the bite of an infected mosquito. There’s no other way dogs get heartworms. And there’s no way to tell if a mosquito is infected. That’s why prevention is so important.

Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states. And the bite of just one mosquito infected with the heartworm larvae will give your dog heartworm disease.

Heartworm disease has not only spread throughout the United States, but it’s also now found in areas where veterinarians used to say “Oh, we don’t have heartworm disease.” Areas like Oregon, California, Arizona, and desert areas -- where irrigation and building are allowing mosquitoes to survive. And if you have mosquitoes and you have animals, you’re going to have heartworms. It’s just that simple.

It takes about seven months, once a dog is bitten by an infected mosquito, for the larvae to mature into adult heartworms. They then lodge in the heart, lungs, and surrounding blood vessels and begin reproducing. Adult worms can grow up to 12 inches in length, can live 5-7 years, and a dog can have as many as 250 worms in its system.

Q: Can people get heartworms from their dogs?

A: It can only be passed on by mosquitoes. It’s a specific parasite that only affects dogs and cats and ferrets and other mammals. In rare cases, heartworms have infected people, but it does not complete its life cycle. The heartworm will migrate to the lung and cause a round lesion that looks like a tumor. But these are very rare cases.

Q: If one of my dogs has heartworms, can they give it to my other dogs?

A: No. Again, the only way heartworms are transmitted is through the bite of an infected mosquito. And even if an uninfected mosquito bit your infected dog, and then bit your uninfected dog the same night, they wouldn’t transmit the parasite from one dog to the other. That’s because when a mosquito bites an infected animal, the heartworm needs to undergo an incubation period in the mosquito before the mosquito can infect other animals.


Q: Is it OK to adopt a dog with heartworms?

A: It’s a very common problem in animal shelters today, and public shelters rarely have the money to treat heartworm disease. It’s perfectly acceptable to adopt a dog with heartworms, but you have to be dedicated to having the disease treated appropriately, because it’s a horrible disease that can lead to a dog’s death if left untreated.

Q: How can I prevent my dogs from getting heartworms?

A: For less than the cost of going to Starbucks for a weekly coffee, you can prevent heartworm disease in your dog. There are monthly pills, monthly topicals that you put on the skin, and there’s also a six-month injectable product. The damage that’s done to the dog and the cost of the treatment is way more than the cost to prevent heartworm disease. A year’s supply of heartworm preventative will cost about $35 to $80, depending on a dog’s weight.

Q: What are the symptoms of heartworm infestations in dogs?

A: Initially, there are no symptoms. But as more and more worms crowd the heart and lungs, most dogs will develop a cough. As it progresses, they won’t be able to exercise as much as before they’ll become winded easier. With severe heartworm disease, we can hear abnormal lung sounds, dogs can pass out from the loss of blood to the brain, and they can retain fluids. Eventually, most dogs will die if the worms are not treated.

Q: Once my dog has heartworms, what’s the treatment? How much will it cost?

A: There are a few drug options for treatment and all are injectablet. The dog is given two or three injections that will kill the adult heartworms in the blood vessels of the heart.

The safest way to treat heartworms includes an extensive pre-treatment workup, including X-rays, blood work, and all the tests needed to establish how serious the infection is. Then the dog is given the injections. With all the prep work, it can run up to $1,000. But just the treatment can be done for about $500 in some areas.


Q: Why do I have to keep my dog quiet during the several months they are being treated for heartworms?

A: After treatment, the worms begin to die. And as they die, they break up into pieces, which can cause a blockage of the pulmonary vessels and cause death. That’s why dogs have to be kept quiet during the treatment and then for several months afterward. Studies have shown that most of the dogs that die after heartworm treatment do so because the owners let them exercise. It’s not due to the drug itself.

Q: If my dog is diagnosed with heartworms, can I just give them their monthly preventative instead of having them go through treatment? Won’t that kill their heartworms?

A: Studies have shown that if you use ivermectin, the common preventative, on a monthly basis in a dog with heartworm disease, after about two years you’ll kill off most of the dog’s young heartworms. The problem is, in the meantime, all of those heartworms are doing permanent damage to the heart and blood vessels.

But if there’s no way someone can afford the actual treatment, at least using the preventative on a monthly basis could be a lesser alternative.

Q: Can I skip giving my dog their preventative during colder months, when there aren’t any mosquitoes?

A: The American Heartworm Society recommends year-round heartworm prevention. One reason is, there’s already a serious problem with people forgetting to give their dogs the heartworm preventatives. It’s a universal problem. Now if you use it year-round, and you miss a month, your dog will probably still be protected. But if you miss more than one or two months your dog could become infected.

The other reason not to stop is that many of the preventatives today also include an intestinal parasite control for roundworms, whipworms, or tapeworms. You want your dog to be protected against those at all times.

Q: If I don’t treat my dog with heartworms, will they “outgrow” their heartworms?


A: No. They stand a good chance of dying from the disease.

Q: I’ve heard the treatment for heartworms can be dangerous. Are there any newer, safer alternatives?

A: We used to use plain arsenic to treat it, which had many side effects. What we use now is a safer product with fewer side effects. It’s a safe product if used correctly.

Q: If my dog gets heartworms, and is treated for them, can they get them again?

A: Yes, they can get them again. That’s why prevention is so important.

Treating and Preventing Fleas on Your Pet

Articles On Spotting and Treating Fleas

Spotting and Treating Fleas

Spotting and Treating Fleas - Treating and Preventing Fleas on Your Pet

Fleas are no fun. Not for you, since you have to deal with the occasional nip on the ankle and the hassles of ridding your home of the little buggers. And certainly not for your pets, who can bite and scratch themselves raw trying to nail the pesky pests.

If fleas are making your home life miserable, you have two challenges:

  1. Treat your ailing pets by getting those annoying little bloodsuckers off them.
  2. Keep fleas from terrorizing them again.

Signs of worms in dogs

The best way to ensure the infected dog has an effective worm treatment is to spot the symptoms of worms in dogs early. That can be tricky because not all owners know what symptoms of worms in dogs look like. Even the most experienced owners can miss some of the signs of worms in dogs, so don’t beat yourself up if you missed some too. Your vet should help you and if you suspect anything is wrong with your dog, take them for a check-up. Some of the most common signs of worms in dogs include:

  • Parts of worms in dog poop or vomit
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting
  • Overall weakness
  • Depression
  • Swollen stomach or abdomen
  • Coughing

Roundworms In Dogs

Like tapeworms and hookworms, roundworms in dogs nest in intestinal tracts and deposit eggs into a dog’s stool. Because of this, roundworms in dogs can be detected through microscopic imaging. As we mentioned above, roundworms in dogs can be transmitted via the prenatal and/or nursing process, by feeding on an infected animal, or by contact with the infected feces of another animal.

Roundworm eggs found in one dog’s fecal matter can also be contagious to other dogs. Additionally, several other animal species’ can harbor parasitic eggs that when consumed by a host canine, become roundworms in dogs, including:

  • Chickens
  • Cockroaches
  • Earthworms
  • Rodents

If your veterinarian detects the presence of roundworms through a fecal exam and/or other supportive diagnostic tools, he or she will order a series of usually between 2-3 roundworm treatments.

These treatments consist of medications that temporarily anesthetize the roundworms, causing them to pass out of the intestines and the dog’s body through bowel movements.

Unlike adult roundworms, the eggs, or larvae, are incredibly resistant and resilient. They have even been known to survive disinfectants and extreme, harsh environmental conditions. In these cases, removal of a dog’s stool is the best option to prevent reinfection. This can be accomplished by using a 1% bleach, 99% water solution to remove the sticky outer coating of the eggs, which will allow them to be flushed away. However, we do not recommend planning or undertaking such a procedure without first consulting your veterinarian.

Adult worms can usually be seen with the naked eye in the stool versus eggs, which require a microscope. For this reason, we highly recommend making an appointment with your veterinarian if you suspect roundworms in dogs, in order to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Watch the video: Rescue poor dog. Extraction worms in dog and treatment by hand #003

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