Dogs are ideal hosts -- to worms and other parasites, that is. Animals that sniff, slurp, lick, and gobble anything in their paths, including dirt, trash, and poop, are bound to pick up pests. All the things they do with their mouths -- groom, kiss, wrestle, and other social habits -- can pass along unwanted guests to playmates and companions, canine and human alike.
The Types of Dog Worms
There are five types of dog worms. These include hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and heartworms. These are all internal parasites that your dog can pick up throughout daily life. If your dog has one of these types of worms, your veterinarian will confirm by evaluating your dog's stool or a blood sample and recommending an appropriate treatment.
This common parasite has hook-like teeth, which accounts for the name. They attach themselves to your dog's intestinal lining and breed thousands of eggs within just a few days. Your dog can pick up hookworms easily by walking through wet grass or contaminated soil.
Roundworms can be found in contaminated soil and feces, both of which some dogs are apt to eat. These are also found in most newborn puppies. Their mother's milk passes on roundworms, and virtually every puppy wellness exam contains a worming process. These dog worms can cause serious infection if left untreated. Symptoms include colic, vomiting, lethargy, and a swollen tummy among other issues.
If you have visions of an extremely long worm, you'd be correct. Tapeworms are segmented, and you may see segments caught in your dog's fur around the anus. They may look like grains of rice. One of the most common ways that they're transmitted is through fleas. Fleas swallow the worm larvae; your dog can ingest the flea, and thus the tapeworm, during self-grooming. Tapeworm eggs can also live infected soil. So your dog could ingest them by licking his paws after a walk. Many dogs won't show symptoms of a tapeworm infestation, though others will develop abdominal pain, vomiting, and other symptoms.
Like tapeworms, whipworms can also live in infected soil. Your dog might lick the soil, or burrow his nose in it - we've all seen it happen. Your dog could also get some of the soil in his food or water dishes. This worm can lead to severe diarrhea, which is always an indication to call your veterinarian.
You may be familiar with the monthly prescription of heartworm pills. These are extremely dangerous if left untreated as they fill your dog's heart and lung area. Transmitted by infected mosquitos, they're quite common so it's important to keep your prescription updated and make sure Max has his monthly dose. Unlike the other worms described, heartworms are detected via a blood test, which will be necessary before beginning any heartworm preventive regimen.
If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms of appetite loss, lethargy, extreme diarrhea, or distended belly, please make an appointment to see your veterinarian. A simple test will show if dog worms are the problem and what type.
Intestinal parasites pose serious risks to your pet's health. If your pet has worms, you need to eradicate them quickly and prevent them from returning. Regular pet deworming can protect your pet and your family. Beloved Pets Supplement for Dogs and Cats safe and effective broad-spectrum Dewormer that eliminates multiple types of parasites with one dose.
To protect your dog and your home, you also can wipe down your dog's paws when you come in from walks. Even just a quick wipe with a damp cloth can help reduce your dog and your home's exposure to larvae. Additionally, always wash your hands thoroughly after petting your dog to prevent transmitting them to you.
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