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How to Tell What Type of Worms Your Dog Has

Worms in dogs are not always bad, as long as you know how to tell what type of worms your dog has and what to do about them. It’s a known fact that parasite eggs and worms in dog stools are quite common. It is vital to know how to tell what type of worms your dog has in order to keep the dog safe with its worms under control through dog deworming programs.  That is because at one time or another, dogs can become infected with massive infestations of parasites through infected fleas, association with flea-ridden dogs with worms, eating bad food, or becoming ill—eventually requiring top notch dog wormers.

The only time parasites or worms in dogs can become dangerous and deadly to dogs is when they develop a low immunity system which allows the worms to increase in numbers. Otherwise, normal healthy immune systems in dogs have been designed to keep the parasites or worms  in control through dog wormers.

Symptoms of all worms in dogs

No matter what type of worms your dog has inside of them, they display common symptoms in the affected dog .  As the numbers of dog worms begin to increase while inside, organs inside the dog’s body will become compromised and the dog will develop the following symptoms:

  • Apathy and sluggishness, almost appearing lazy.
  • Their coat will look rather “bedraggled” and rough in spots.
  • Most dogs will begin to drink lots of water…more than usual in all types of weather.
  • They will lose weight everywhere but in their belly, which will appear bloated due to the growing amount of worms.
  • Thin as they will become, they will have no appetite.
  • After awhile, they will develop a persistent cough.
  • Many worms will travel into the stomach/esophagus area, causing vomiting).
  • Diarrhea with bloody or mucous in their stools with occasional signs of the worms themselves.

Once the dog owner begins to notice symptoms of worms, it is time to figure out which type of worm the dog has so worming treatment can begin. If left untreated,  worm-affected dogs will become seriously ill and end up dying.

The most common worms known to affect dogs are: tapeworm, roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and heartworms. Each type of worm has their own set of symptoms in addition to the ones for all worms.  Knowing how to tell what type of worms your dog has involves knowing the symptoms of these popular worms for dogs for the correct worm treatment.

~ Specific symptoms of tapeworms

Adult tapeworm

Adult tapeworm with segments

If a dog has the flatworms known as “tapeworms“, they will be easy to recognize by eyesight and are the least harmful to the dog. They look like small rice-like white segments  seen around the dog’s rectal area or they can be found in the dog’s stools.

Transferred to dogs by infected fleas, these broken off tapeworm segment will also be in the dog’s bedding, their favorite chair, and on the floor. The dog dewormer for tapeworms is available at the vets or over-the-counter at pet and feed stores– dog deworming naturally or with traditional medicine.

  • It is possible for no symptoms or very mild symptoms to be displayed in the affected dog
  • A certain degree of digestive symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, gas, or abdominal pain)
  • Scooting across the floor while whining,  due to itching and being uncomfortable
  • Restlessness with some abdominal pain
  • Hunger with weight loss
  • Tapeworms in the stools or around rectum or anus

~ Specific Symptoms of Roundworms


The roundworm eggs can live several years before hatching.

The roundworm has a long sticky spaghetti-look to it and can be found in the dog’s vomit or stools,  considered the most frequent worm found in both dogs and cats.  Dogs are affected by two species of the roundworm–(1) toxocara canis and (2) toxascaris leonina. Of these species, both adult roundworms live in a dog’s stomach and intestines, able to grow to seven inches in length.  The female roundworm may lay up to 200,000 eggs daily, able to live in the soil for years.

  • One of the symptoms in dogs over six months of age is they will have no symptoms.
  • Older dogs develop an acquired resistance to roundworms, yet carry the eggs in a dormant form.
  • Puppies eight weeks or older produce mild vomiting or diarrhea due to roundworm infestation. The worms will be visible in the stools and in the vomit.
  • Puppies under eight weeks of age and heavily infested with roundworms will fail to thrive. They will have a potbelly, dull coat, anemic (white gums), stunted in growth, vomiting, diarrhea and eventually die.
  • Normally, all puppies at birth should be wormed routinely every two, four, six, and eight weeks of age  with the mother. The mother should be wormed before and when she is bred, with routine roundworm treatments up until she whelps the puppies.

>> Read more about how to get rid of dog worms here…

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