how to get rid of worms in a dog without going to the vet

how to get rid of worms in a dog without going to the vet
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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.

The good news is, worms are generally pretty easy to treat and you can easily do it at home in most cases without going to the vet. In this article, we’ll tell you how to do it. The first step is learning what type of worms your dog has.

Different Types Of Dog Worms and How To Identify Them

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.

Does your dog have a tapeworm?

white balls in dog poop
Specks, or white balls in dog poop are likely tapeworms

Sometimes described as “white balls in dog poop” or “tiny white specks in dog poop”, the tapeworm is one of the easiest dog worms to identify.

If you’ve noticed white pieces in the stool your dog leaves behind, this is probably the case for you. These are tape worm segments.

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?

puppy throwing up worms
Puppy throwing up worms? Round worms are likely the culprit.

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?

A dog or puppy throwing up worms is most likely infested with roundworms. 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?

my dog has hookworms should i get tested
Hookworms can’t be seen with the naked eye.

Unlike the other entries on our list, hookworms are actually dangerous. Many over the counter products also do not kill hookworms.

You also won’t be able to identify them the way you could with tapeworms or roundworms, 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?

Be very careful purchasing an over the counter dewormer. Many of them do not work on hookworms. However, even if you find one that works, you still need to 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 may also need multiple treatments and follow up care. A vet will know how best to advise you in this situation. You’ll also want to take measures to disinfect your home and keep the humans in your house from contracting the hookworms as well since transmission is easier in this case.

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. Just make sure the product specifically says it kills hookworms.

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 infesting a dog's heart
Heartworms infest the internal organs.

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.

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 not sure what kind of worms your dog has, then you can still use a broad spectrum de-wormer. These treat most types of worms, but you’ll need to watch your dog very closely.

Looks for any signs that point to your dog not being healthy. This could include vomiting, diarrhea, sudden weight loss, labored breathing, bloody stool, etc. If you see any of these signs, take them to the vet for a check up!

Frequently Asked Questions About Worms In Dogs

Seeing yellow seeds in dog poop

If you’re seeing something that looks like “yellow seeds” in your dog’s poop, then you are most likely looking at a tapeworm infestation. These are probably dried up tapeworm segments. Use this product to get rid of them.

HELP! Dog or puppy throwing up worms

If your dog or puppy is throwing up worms they probably have a roundworm infestation. Use a dewormer like this one to take care of it and watch them closely for signs of trouble like labored breathing.

Help! Dog sick after worming tablets

It is possible that your dog has had a bad reaction to the dewormer, but it also may just be negative effects from the worms themselves. Keep watch of your dog and make sure they are having regular bowel movements.

If you notice your dog is not going to the bathroom then head to the vet. Sometimes a heavy worm infestation can cause a blockage which will need to be tended to by a veterinarian, particularly in puppies. Persistent vomiting and abdominal pains are other signs to watch for.

Dogs who are experiencing an allergic reaction to the medication may display pale gums, labored breathing, seizures or collapse. If any of these symptoms are present go to the vet immediately.

Does deworming cause diarrhea in puppies?

In some cases, yes. Dewormers can have a few temporary negative side effects and diarrhea could be one of them.

Can I give my dog dewormer if he doesn’t have worms?

If you want to give your dog a dewormer tablet just in case, that’s fine. Many people do this a couple times per year. This is especially true for people who live in areas where hookworms are more of a threat.

Can I worm my dog twice in one week?

The wormer you purchase should have usage instructions and you should follow them. Some dewormers require several days of consecutive usage, and others do not. You should also keep in mind that your dog may continue to pass worm fragments for a few days after treatment.

Giving your dog too much dewormer can result in digestive issues, so give them a break before trying to deworm them again.

Can you worm your dog too often?

You really should not need to deworm your dog more than twice per year. Giving them too much dewormer can cause digestive issues. Vomiting and diarrhea are common issues.

Can tapeworms be passed from dog to dog?

No, not directly. BUT, if one of your dogs has fleas then the other dog could get it by ingesting one of their fleas. Fleas are often carriers of tapeworm eggs. Use a good flea preventative to stop tapeworms from coming back.

My dog has tapeworms how do i clean my house?

If you’ve got tapeworms or roundworms in your house, cleaning up can be a bit daunting. We’ve written another article about cleaning up your house after worms which you can find here.

Can you get roundworms from your dog licking you?

It is a possibility, but a small one. In order to get roundworms you must ingest the eggs. This can be done accidentally if they get on your hands and you touch your mouth. So, make sure to wash your hands frequently if your dog has worms.

How easy is it to get roundworms from a puppy or dog?

To get roundworms you have to accidentally ingest the eggs. In most cases, proper hygiene procedures like frequent hand washing will be enough to protect you. However, children are at greater risk because they pick things up and put them in their mouths! So, if you have kids you’ll need to watch them carefully.

How do i know if i got worms from my dog

Depending on the type of worm, each will have different symptoms. The most dangerous being hookworms. Here’s what to watch out for.

Signs Of A Tapeworm infestation

Humans infected with tapeworms will likely experience weight loss, potential vitamin deficiencies, diarrhea, abdominal pains, and fatigue. You should also closely monitor your bowel movements for signs of tape worm segments.

Signs Of A Roundworm infestation

If you have roundworms, then you may notice symptoms like abdominal pains, shortness of breath, coughing, bloodied mucus, fever, or muscle pains.

Signs Of A Hookworm infestation

Hookworm symptoms include odd skin rashes, breathing issues, fever, stomach pains, diarrhea, extreme fatigue, or signs of anemia, you should seek treatment.

If my dog has hookworms should I get tested?

Hookworms can be dangerous to humans. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned in the above section, you should get tested.

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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