Here’s what to do if your dog has worms

Oh, no. Your dog has worms? Worms are every pet parent’s worst nightmare, even if they don’t know it yet! These nasty little parasites can go unseen for sometime, but they could be causing big problems for your pup. Dogs who are infested with worms could suffer from vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and potentially even more dangerous ailments.

If you’ve noticed any of these signs in your dog, then it might be a good idea to de-worm them just to rule this out as the issue. This is not only good for your dog, but some canine worms can actually be passed on to the human occupants of your house as well! Yuck!

In this article, we’ll teach you how to identify the most common types of worms that are found in dogs and we’ll teach you how to treat them. We’ll also talk about the most common ways that dogs get worms so they you can get a proper prevention routine in place to make sure that your pup does not get worms again.

We’ll also go over dog worms in humans and assess your risk of having worms transferred to you or your family members! Find out how to protect yourself, your children and your other pets from infestation

How do dogs get worms?

Dogs can get worms in some ways that you may not expect, and the situation is likely different based on each type of worm. So, we’ll start by going over the most common types of worms that dogs get, and then we’ll tell you how to make sure they never get them again.

Let’s talk about the different dog worm types. We’ll also provide some dog worms pictures to help you determine what kind of worms you’re dealing with!

Does your dog have a tapeworm?

dog worms in poop identifying tapeworms in dogs
Tapeworms: Dog worms that look like rice in a dog’s stool.

Tapeworms are one of the easiest forms of worms to identify. If you’ve noticed dog worms in poop that your pooch has left behind, then this is what they have. These are actually little sections of the tapeworm, which can grow to be 28 inches in length! In the image above you can see what these tapeworm segments look like.

How do dogs get tapeworms?

While it’s possible that your dog picked up a tapeworm from eating some type of small animal or from under-cooked food, the most likely answer here is fleas. Fleas are often carriers of tapeworm eggs, and when dogs bite at their fur to remove the fleas, sometimes they swallow them by accident. If your dog swallows a flea that is harboring a tapeworm egg, the worm will hatch and begin infesting your dog.

What do you do if your dog has tapeworms?

Tapeworms are easily treated with an over the counter medication and you won’t even need to make a trip to the vet. The best product for this is Bayer’s de-wormer, it works quickly and it’s cost effective. Though some pet stores really jack up the price, so buying it online is the best option. 

This medicine comes in tablet form which you should easily be able to hide in some food to get your dog to eat it. Once you feed your dog the pill his tapeworm issues should be gone within a day or two. Make sure to check his stool when he does his business to make sure you don’t see any more segments.

How can I makes sure my dog doesn’t get tapeworms again?

While the medication above works extremely well, it won’t do any good if your dog gets re-infested! The best way to make sure that your dog does not get infested is to have a good flea prevention routine in place.

One of the best flea control methods for this is the Seresto collars, these are excellent at killing fleas and ticks on contact, and they protect your dog for up to 8 months. However, some pets that are sensitive to topical treatments and chemicals may not be able to use these. You can read our review of this product and view some less harsh alternatives as well here.

Can I get tapeworms from my dog?

Yes, you can, but it is unlikely. In order to be infested with tape worms you’d have to get them from eating one of your dog’s fleas accidentally. This isn’t very likely for adult humans, but sometimes children can be at risk, because they have a bad habit of putting anything in their mouth.

Does your dog have roundworms?

worms in dogs roundworms dog worms in vomit
Dog worms in vomit often point to roundworm infestations.

Roundworms are the second most common type of worms that dogs get. Unfortunately, these are a little bit harder to ID as they don’t always show up physically like tapeworms do. Sometimes though, your dog will throw up, and the worms will come up as well. Have you seen dog worms in vomit from your dog recently?

If this happens, then you’ll see something like the picture above. However, just because your dog doesn’t throw up any worms it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have them. If he has shown the other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or has lost weight without any other changes, then parasites are a good place to start.

How do dogs get roundworms?

Roundworms can be transferred to your dog in a number of ways. Dogs unfortunately have a very bad habit of eating things they shouldn’t, and if your dog has tried to consume any other animals poop or even been in contact with the rear end of them, then it’s possible they could’ve ingested round worm eggs that way. There is of course also the possibility that they got them from eating small animals that are infested.

Roaches are known to carry roundworm eggs, but there are many other animals that could be culprits as well. Prevention is a little harder in this case, but the best advice here is to keep a close eye on your dog and keep him from putting things in his mouth that should not be there.

What do you do if your dog has roundworms?

Roundworms are also easily treated, and using any number of popular over the counter canine de-wormers can help you to remedy this issue. These tablets will get rid of roundworms quickly and easily, and the package comes with enough pills so that you can give your dog medication until they are gone. You can hide these in a treat for your dog, and most pups will readily gulp it down.

How can I make sure my dog doesn’t get roundworms again?

Roundworms can have a higher probability of re-infestation due to the way they spread. In addition to making sure your dog isn’t eating any woodland critters or inspecting potentially infected poop, you should also take your house into account.

Dogs can leave worm eggs everywhere, so it’s probably a good idea to clean every surface in your house from top to bottom to be safe. However, I’d pay special attention to areas your dog lays a lot like his bed.

Can I get roundworms from my dog?

Much like the tapeworm example, yes, but it’s unlikely. You’d need to ingest the eggs, and for most adults who follow proper hygiene procedures, this is no problem. However, if you have small children then be particularly vigilant that they are washing their hands after playing with your dogs and before putting their hands anywhere near their mouths.

Does your dog have hookworms?

Unlike the other entries on our list, hookworms are actually dangerous. While you can treat hookworms yourself with over the counter medications, they are more damaging than the other worms we’ve talked about.

The picture above won’t help you to identify them at all, because hookworms can’t be seen with the naked eye. There will be no signs of worms if your dog has these. However, in some cases your dog may have blood in his stool if he has hookworms.

It’s also much easier for hookworms to be transferred to other animals or even people in your house because this is one of the few types of worms which can do so through skin contact! This is not something you want living in your house, and you should take steps to get rid of these parasites immediately.

How do dogs get hookworms?

Hookworms are transferred through skin contact, and it’s likely that your dog simply picked them up walking around. If you live in an area that is prone to this type of worm, then you may need to begin giving your dog a broad spectrum de-wormer once or twice a year for preventative measures.

What do you do if your dog has hookworms?

Some of the over the counter products also work for hookworms, like the one we talked about in the roundworms section. Make sure whichever de-wormer you buy specifically says it treats hookworms though, because not all of them do! You should certainly use this to get rid of your problem, but if you believe your dog has hookworms they should still go to the vet.

Hookworms can do a lot of internal damage that can’t be seen, and your dog could need immediate medical attention, especially if this has been going on for a while. If you’ve seen blood in your dog’s stool then I’d take them right away for a check up.

You will likely also need to give this treatment to your dog multiple times. While the first treatment will kill any worms living inside your dog, it may not kill all of the eggs, and you may need multiple treatments to get rid of them. You’ll also want to take measures to completely disinfect your home to make sure there are none hanging around still.

How to keep your dog from getting hookworms again

Unlike the other pests we’ve talked about, hookworms are likely brought in from outside directly. Unfortunately, this means that if you live in an area that is prone to these pests, then it will be tough to prevent infestations. Even humans can track them in unknowingly!

Many pet parents simply choose to give their dog a broad spectrum de-wormer once or twice a year to rid them of any parasites if they live in high risk areas. This won’t hurt your dog, and it’s not a bad idea to do so. Over the counter worm medications are inexpensive, and they can save your dog from a good deal of issues down the road.

Can humans get hookworms from dogs?

Yes, this is one of the most dangerous worms your dog can get, partially for the risk it poses to humans in the household. Worms of this kind don’t have to be ingested and they can be transferred through skin contact.

Does your dog have heartworms?

heartworms in dogs

This type of worm is present in a staggering number of dogs, and it can be particularly damaging. These parasites can quickly balloon up to over 12 inches in length, and when they do they can begin damaging your dog’s internal organs!

If your dog has worms like these then you won’t be able to see them. As you can see from the above image, these parasites wrap themselves in and around your dog’s organs. They won’t show up in your dog’s vomit or stool like tapeworms and roundworms.

If your dog has shown signs of coughing, tires easily from activities, or has a decreased appetite, take these symptoms seriously. These are signs a dog has heartworms and this condition can be fatal if not taken care of.

How do dogs get heartworms?

Heartworms can only be passed on to your pup one way, and that’s through mosquitoes. Everyone’s least favorite flying pest bites infected dogs, taking in heartworm larvae. It then bites another dog, and those parasites begin to grow in a new host.

The best way to prevent this is to keep your dog from being bitten. If your dog goes on lots of outdoor adventures with you, then it’s important to provide them with proper mosquito protection. In this article we go over some ways that you can keep your dog protected.

What do you do if your dog has heartworms?

There are no over the counter medications that will work on heartworms. If your dog has heartworms then you must take them to the vet. The vet will be able to give your dog a check up and confirm whether or not they have heartworms.

They can then give you a prescription for heartworm medication and determine whether or not the infestation has gone on long enough to cause lasting damage to your dog. If you have noticed that your dog has labored breathing, pale gums or very dark colored urine or dark bloody stools, then seek treatment for them immediately.

These are signs of advanced heartworm infestations and should be taken very seriously.

How do you make sure that your dog doesn’t get heartworms?

Prevention is the best way in dealing with heatworms, and even if your dog does not currently have heartworms, it’s still important. We have a whole article about mosquito prevention for dogs here, but there are some pretty simple solutions.

If you don’t already have a flea treatment regiment in place, then K9 Advantix can kill two birds with one stone. It not only keeps fleas and ticks at bay, but it’s one of the few topical treatments that also protects against mosquitoes!

However, if you talk to your vet, then there are also some chew-able type options that can prevent heartworms from taking up residence in your pup. These options are all prescription though, so you’ll need to get a script from your vet to use these.

Can humans get heartworms from dogs?

Humans can’t get heartworms from their dogs. In fact, dogs can’t even technically get heartworms from other dogs. They are only transmitted through mosquito bites.

While in very rare cases it is possible for a human to get heartworms through a mosquito bite, they won’t impact you the same way that they do dogs. Humans are not a natural host for heartworms, so even if you were introduced to them through a mosquito that was harboring them the larvae would just die and not cause you any harm.

When your dog has worms, but you don’t know what kind.

If you’re pretty sure your dog is infested but you’re still not sure what worms, here’s your options.

Use a broad spectrum dewormer

Broad spectrum worm treatments get rid of the most popular types of worms. There are many products which will work on roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms. If you’re pretty sure your dog has worms, then you can use one of these.

It won’t hurt your dog to take it even if he doesn’t have worms, and some pet parents do this a couple of times a year just to make sure their pets are pest free. Try this product if you don’t know what kind of worms you have. (If you think your dog has heartworms then you have to go to the vet. There are no OTC treatments for these worms!)

Use an at home worm testing kit

If you want to know exactly what type of worms you have, then you can use an at home testing kit. You might be interested in using this option if you want to make sure your dog does not have hookworms or if you want to figure out the best ways to prevent infestations from happening again.

You could also use this kit to confirm that the treatment was effective and that your worm problems are really gone for good. The kits are very affordable and easy to use.

All you do is collect a sample of your dog’s stool and mail it off in the pre-paid envelope included in the kit. Within 24 hours of them getting your sample, the company’s lab will send you the results.

Go to the vet for parasite testing

If you believe that you have hookworms or heartworms, then you should schedule a vet visit. Your vet can help you determine exactly what type of worms you have and they can provide treatment to your dog if they have a more damaging type of worm such as the above two examples.

Frequently Asked Questions About Worms In Dogs

If one dog has worms will the other get it ?

It really depends on the type of worm you have, but it is a possibility. If one of your dogs has worms then you should probably test or treat the other one as well. It won’t hurt them to take the dewormer pill even if they don’t have worms.

Can I get worms from my dog?

This depends on the type of worm, but in most cases it’s actually pretty difficult to get worms from your dog. You’d be required to actually ingest the worm eggs and for most people that won’t happen. However, children can sometimes be at risk if they do not wash their hands.

Does my dog have worms? What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can sometimes vary based on the type of worm. However, dogs with worms tend to express changes in appetite, low energy, vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stool, weight loss and other symptoms. Please refer to our specific worm sections to figure out what type of worm your dog might have.

How do dogs get worms?

Dogs can pick up worms in a variety of ways. The most common worms are typically picked up by ingesting the eggs. This can occur through eating fleas or even other already infected creatures. However, some worms can also be picked up through skin contact. Refer to our guide to see exactly how your dog can get specific worms.

How do you get rid of dog worms?

In most cases you can get rid of dog worms without even going to the vet. You can use a canine dewormer to do the job. However, not every dewormer gets rid of every kind of worm, so use our article to ID the worm that you have and pick up the correct medication.

Michelle Rei
Michelle Rei
Michelle is a pet parent turned amateur pet product researcher. After adopting a fur baby with digestive issues caused by bad pet food, she's poured hundreds of hours into research to find the best of the best to help him and other pets live happier and healthier lives.
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