What's the Best Treatment for Worms in Dogs?

Worms in dogs can be intestinal, but there is also one type that affects the heart and respiratory system: is there one treatment to eliminate all of them?
What's the Best Treatment for Worms in Dogs?

Last update: 29 May, 2019

Worms in dogs are a more common problem than you might think. It’s also important to treat them as soon as possible in order to avoid any complications. In this article, we’ll tell you about the best treatments for these parasites.

Types of worms in dogs

There are five types of worms that typically can affect your pet. The first four we’ll talk about are intestinal and the fifth affects dogs’ hearts:

1. Nematodes

These are the most common worm in dogs. They can also be transmitted to humans. Many puppies are born with these microorganisms already inside them. Therefore, one of the first treatments includes deworming to get rid of any nematodes.

2. Whipworms

These look like small yellow threads that you can see in your dog’s stools. They live in the large intestine and colon. However, these are usually difficult to diagnose because dogs don’t usually expel them in sufficient quantities for a vet to detect them in normal testing.

3. Hookworms

These are small, thin worms that stick to a dog’s small intestine and suck blood. These parasites are usually transferred through the uterus of the mother, although they can also be transferred through breast milk. However, if a puppy isn’t treated for these in time, it can cause fatal cases of anemia.

4. Tapeworms

These are worms that can get quite large in dogs – between 4 to 6 inches long. They are transmitted through fleas. These parasites lodge themselves in the intestine. These worms are made up of small segments, which can come out in your dog’s feces without the parasite actually dying. They are also difficult to treat with simple medications.

A dog looking over a bed.

5. Heartworms

Without a doubt, these are the most worrisome worms in dogs. Infected mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting these parasites. Therefore, it’s important to apply something to your dog to prevent mosquito bites. Heartworm treatment is long and expensive. The animal also needs to be quarantined.

Causes and symptoms of worms in dogs

These worms can be found anywhere and may be impossible to detect with the naked eye because they are so small or even microscopic. Your dog might eat infected feces of other animals, raw meat, garbage, road kill, or even soil where these organisms or their eggs are present.

When these worms enter the body, they lodge themselves in the intestinal mucus and eat nutrients from the dog’s food. Therefore, the main symptoms of worms in dogs are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Bloody stools
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Dull and dry coat
  • Itching in the anal area

In the case of heartworm, the most serious symptoms of all are that the parasites cause respiratory problems, weak pulse, pale gums, intolerance to exercise, or even death.

Testing for a dog with worms.

Is there a single treatment for worms in dogs?

The type of treatment will depend on the type of worm, the dog’s age, its general state of health, and when the parasite was detected. Each type of worm requires a specific treatment, so the first step is to identify what type of worm it is.

Puppies also require different treatment from an adult dog. Keep in mind that they are more vulnerable to these parasites and the effects may be more serious, as they have not fully developed their defense system.

Worms in dogs can be quite difficult to get rid of. Therefore, veterinarians recommend preventative treatments. Some professionals prescribe pills that you should give your dog once a month. On the other hand, others opt for specific treatment so that the dog can expel parasites through the stools.

In addition, we recommend you avoid letting your dog sniff or eat feces at the park. Pay close attention to their behavior in areas visited by other animals. Also, as soon as you notice any signs of diarrhea, vomiting, or weakness, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your vet. The quicker your dog gets treatment, the easier it is to cure.

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  • Junquera, P. (2015). TRICHINELLA spp. gusanos nematodos parásitos del GANADO PORCINO, PERROS y GATOS: biología, prevención y control.