Research in Calgary, Alberta, revealed that parasite prevalence is highest in young dogs. If you’re rearing a dog from its early age, you are likely to face dog worm problems. Dog worm infections are inevitable, but knowing how to treat and prevent them can increase the survival of your dog.
How do dogs get worms?
Dogs are wanderers by nature. As a result, dogs may come across unpleasant living organisms. Common instances are:
- Hunting prey, such as mice and the like
- Eating animal fleas
- Eating wastes from other pets
- Eating any specks off the ground
Signs of dog worms
Dog worm infection depends on which type of parasite your dog has. Different parasites affect your dog in different ways. Worms are considered parasites because they survive through the nutrients consumed by your dog. Here are some common parasites and how they affect your dog:
- Roundworms: A roundworm is one of the most common parasites in dogs. Roundworms resemble spaghetti strips. They appear as a small white/light brown, rounded strip. Roundworms in dogs can be passed on by the mother during her pregnancy or by ingesting worm eggs off the ground. Symptoms include:
- Malnourishment (suspiciously swollen belly with or without pain)
- Hookworms: Hookworms in dogs are intestinal parasites that can be fatal especially in puppies. They look smaller than roundworms and they feed by hooking onto the wall of the intestine. Your dog can get hookworms from consuming hookworm larvae from the environment or from mothers during their pregnancy. Symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Poor growth
- Tapeworms: Tapeworms are the largest of the worms. They appear flat and segmented and could grow at around 20 cm long. Tapeworms don’t have mouths so they absorb food through their skin. Dogs could get infected when they eat any prey such as a flea or a rabbit that ate a tapeworm. Symptoms include:
- Egg segments on your dog’s poop
- Vomiting (check if worms are visible)
- Anus irritability (dog licking his behind)
- Heartworms: Compared to the other parasites, heartworms are the most alarming. They are very small and not visible. They reside in the heart or sometimes in the lungs. Dogs get heartworms from infected mosquitoes. Here are some signs you need to watch out for:
- Weight loss
- Weak immunodeficiency
When to treat your dog
Confirm your suspicions. Some parasites are silent killers. It is best to monitor your dog’s behaviour, appetite, and water consumption, and have a regular visit with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is the only one who can precisely diagnose and safely treat parasites and other health problems. This is not only for the safety of your canine but for your family’s safety as well. Know that some dog parasites can be transmitted to people especially kids.
Preventing dog worm infection
- A research study has revealed that puppies are more prone to dog worm infections. As such, puppies should undergo a repeat deworming until they are six months old. Bear in mind that deworming is not only effective to pups but to adults and newly acquired dogs as well.Tip: Adult dogs do not always have symptoms.
- Deworming could be administered by injection, tablet, or through spot-on treatments. Some pet shops have pet products available to aid your dog. Ask for professional advice from the vet about the exact dosage for your pet.
- It is also important to always clean the dog’s surrounding. Be critical in cleaning the potty areas. These areas are prone to worm eggs build-up.
- Walk dogs in public places. Limit your dog’s exposure to contaminated areas and/or objects.
- Keep your dog flea-free. There are products to fight off fleas as well as flea treatments performed by vets.
Questions mostly asked about pets and parasites
Can dog worms be passed on to humans?
As roundworms are the most common worms in dogs, it is also the most likely to be passed on to humans. It is a high risk to children. If children ingest or come in contact with infectious worm eggs, the worm larvae can migrate and multiply internally. This is why routine deworming is important.
What can I do?
- Avoid letting your dog kiss or lick you (especially kids).
- Practise good personal hygiene.
- Clean up faeces regularly and avoid physical contact.
- Regularly check your dog.
- Ask advice from a veterinarian about parasite infection and effective preventative control measures.
Awareness and preventive measures are ways of dealing with canine health problems. Is this article helpful? Learn more pet health advice!