Intestinal Parasites in Dogs

Intestinal Parasites in Dogs

Last update: 19 December, 2018

Out of all the diseases that your little four-legged friend can have, intestinal parasites in dogs are some of the most severe. These worms are so harmful that they can take your pet’s life.

While this disease is usually much more dangerous for puppies, senior dogs can also be seriously affected. If you didn’t know about this, then continue reading to find out more.

Types of parasites in dogs

Out of all the parasites that infect dogs, there are 7 that are the most common. They are the following:


They’re the most common parasites that infect dogs when they consume different types of larvae or eggs. These parasites can be found in the grass after being expelled by an animal that has already been infected by this parasite.

Hookworms are microscopic and live inside the small intestine. They usually cause diarrhea and bad cases of anemia in canines, especially with puppies that are a few months old.

Toxocara canis

Sick dog with parasites.

Author: Christine and David Schmitt

They usually only infect almost lactating females and puppies that are a few months old. This is because the larvae are activated during the gestation period.

The symptoms of this type of parasites are the following:

  • Weakness
  • Stunted growth
  • Cough
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pneumonia
  • Total blockage of the digestive system
  • Diarrhea

These parasites have the appearance of small light-pink noodles that can reach 6 inches in height.

Toxascaris leonina

They look almost identical to Toxocara canis but they’re completely white and round. They’re also just as dangerous and harmful.

These parasites cause the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Throwing up
  • Cough
  • Weakness
  • Seizures

As you can see, this is very similar to the Toxocara Canis.

Trichuris vulpis

Known to many veterinarians as whipworms, these parasites inhabit the caecum of dogs and can reach up to 3 inches in length.

The most peculiar trait about the Trichuris vulpis is that their canine host doesn’t show any signs of symptoms. However, from time to time they may experience irritation in the anus, which causes the dog to drag their bottom on the ground in order to relieve themselves from the itching.

Uncinaria stenocephala

This species is another kind of hookworm, however, this one is the is round. This parasite can reach two centimeters in length and it lives in the small intestine.

Once it invades the dog’s skin, it can cause severe dermatitis, mainly between the toes. In the same way, it can cause interdigital cysts.

The greater similarity it has with some of the previous parasites is that they also cause strong anemia and diarrhea in the infected animal.

Dipylidium caninum

This is a parasite is characterized by being flat and having a length of 120 inches.

The most common symptoms of dipylidium caninum are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Growth retardation in puppies of a few months

This parasite inhabits the small intestine of dogs and very seldom it’s seen completely. In general, dogs can expel parts of this parasite through their feces.  It noticeable by having a dry appearance, like small grains of rice .

Echinococcus granulosus

Intestinal parasites in dogs can make them weak like this one

Unlike the tapeworm, this is one of the smallest intestinal parasites that exist. It measures up to 9 millimeters in length.

Echinococcus granulosus is characterized by being flat and inhabiting the small intestine of the host. In general, echinococcus granulosus causes diarrhea, hydatid cysts and loss of physical condition.

This parasite is very common in dogs. Once the veterinarian has detected it, the only solution will be to remove it completely.

Therefore, it would be a good idea for your an infected dog to periodically take anthelmintics that are prescribed by a vet. Likewise, you shouldn’t the dog eat animal viscera, especially those of sheep.

As you may have noticed, there are many different types of intestinal parasites that your little four-legged friend can get. If you ever notice your dog having any of these symptoms, then you should take him to the vet immediately.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.