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Dogs worms: how to diagnose, treat and prevent them

Is your dog suffering from worms? Learn the best preventative care to keep your dog safe, as well as how your vet will diagnose and treat your dog for worms, helping to keep your dog healthy and feeling their best.

Dogs worms: how to diagnose, treat and prevent them

Dog worms don’t just pose a risk for the dogs themselves, but also for the humans around them. Certain worrisome worms, like the roundworm, are one example. It’s normally found in a dog's digestive tract, but can migrate to other body parts—and not just in your dog’s. This can happen in humans, especially kids, and lead to serious issues (e.g. blindness) and problems with important organs like the liver, lungs, and central nervous system.

The good news? Since dog worms are quite common, treatment is readily available and prevention tips are plentiful. Two quick tips? Pick up your pooch’s poop right away and make sure they’re on any preventative medications that your vet may prescribe.

Table of contents

  • Dog worms your pet may encounter 
  • How do dogs get worms?
  • How to tell if your dog has worms or intestinal parasites
  • How to prevent dog worms
  • How dog worms are diagnosed and treated
  • Dog worms FAQ

Dog worms. Two words you probably don’t want to think about, let alone hear. But if you have a furry friend in your family, dog worms are something you should know about. We’re here to help you get started.

Dog worms your pet may encounter

The most common types of dog worms are giardia, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms.
Lots of scary names, right? Don’t worry. Here’s a few facts that make you feel a little less icky and a lot more in control. 

How do dogs get worms?

Dog worms can come from a bunch of different sources and places, even the dog poop in your own backyard! Once you know where they can be found, you can work on prevention. 

Dogs get worms from feces

Notice that your dog does a little more than sniff some butts at the dog park? If they’re extra interested in the poop of other dogs, cats, and wild animals, they may be at risk of becoming infected. 

Dog worms can come the natural environment

Wherever animals go to the bathroom, worm eggs might get left in the soil, meaning your dog doesn't have to eat worms to get them.

Have kids? Make sure they’re washing their hands if they’re playing in the soil. Putting their hands into their mouths after a day in the dirt can put them at risk of worms.

Dog worms from wildlife

Even if your pup isn't a natural-born hunter, they might try to pick up a dead animal on a walk. (We’re looking at you, Retrievers.) Watch what your dog is snacking on to help prevent any unwanted inhabitants, like dog worms.

Dog worms from fleas

Tapeworms live two lives. The first part is in one type of animal, like fleas, and the other part is in larger animals, like dogs. That means if your dog ingests an infected flea, they can get intestinal tapeworms. If your dog seems to be scratching more than normal, message our care team on the Juno app or book an appointment to talk about skin issues as preventative care.

Dog worms from their mother

Pups can get infected with specific dog worms from their mother, either when they’re in the womb or from nursing. That’s why parasite control is extra important for puppies.

Some signs that your dog may have worms or intestinal parasites include:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Diarrhea, especially if it comes with mucus
  • Vomiting
  • Visible worms, or something called proglottids—small worm segments that can look a bit like cucumber seeds—in your dog’s stool or vomit. Make sure to check their fur, as proglottids can also be found there
  • Distended or what some may call a “pot-bellied” stomach. This can be common in puppies
  • Weakness, pale gums, or poor growth, especially in young pups

Some dogs might not show any indication of dog worms, like in the early stages of infection. If your dog has any of the symptoms above, give your vet a call or message us day or night on the Juno app. We’re here to help!

Dog worm tip: If you notice any symptoms, especially after flea exposure, see your vet and let them know the details. 

How to prevent dog worms

At Juno we recommend year-round protection against dog worms, even if they seem healthy and happy. To make taking precautions more convenient, certain heartworm, tick and flea prevention products have a dewormer. Just chat with your Juno Vet care team about what's best based on where you live and your dog’s lifestyle. 

“Parasite prevention is essential for keeping your pet healthy,” shares Dr. Cassandra Vlahaki, Juno’s Head Veterinarian. “Without prevention, your dog is at risk of picking up a parasite, and if those go undetected, it could cause serious illness and even pass on to the humans in your household.” 

How dog worms are diagnosed and treated

Even in the healthiest dogs, worms can show up without symptoms. At Juno Vet, we recommend at least one stool sample a year in adult dogs to help identify worms. It's an important test and should be done, even if your pet feels a little shy about it!

How to treat dog worms

If your pup does end up with dog worms, don't fret. Your vet will prescribe a special medication to get rid of them. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully. 

Did you know? Not all dewormers are created equal. Some work better against certain types of parasites, and most need to be given a few times to make sure your dog’s worms are totally gone. 

Once the dog worm treatment is done, your vet will follow up with another stool test to make sure the worms are gone for good. We get it. Dog worms can seem, well, gross. But with the proper care, you’ll be doing exactly what you need to keep your loved ones (dogs and humans) worm-free.

Q. What can I do right now to prevent dog worms?

A: You can help to prevent dog worms right now by talking to your vet about preventative medicine, and by not letting your dog’s poop sit in the yard.

Q. Can I still go to the dog park, or is there too much risk of dog worms? 

A: You can still visit a dog park when your dog is taking heartworm prevention medication! Well-maintained areas are okay, but always keep an eye on your dog — and what they’re eating.

Q. Should I see my vet more often to prevent dog worms?

A: We love seeing you and your pooch, but regular care, like stool checks and parasite prevention, is fine for the regular prevention of dog worms.