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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

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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35 Responses:

  1. Krystle

    - 16th Nov, 12 11:11am

    I have never dealt with a dog with worms before, but have just noticed our dog has some in her stool. Thank you for your information, it was very helpful! I believe she has tapeworms, my concern is we have two small children and are currently visiting family who also have dogs. Is this type of worm easily transferred to other dogs and can it be transferred to children?

    Reply to this comment

  2. WayCoolDogs

    - 16th Nov, 12 12:11pm

    Krystle – Cats or dogs or any mammal cannot pass tapeworms directly to another cat or dog. Tapeworms themselves are not contagious. They come directly from a flea that is the carrier. If another animal comes into contact with the flea eggs, it will obtain tapeworms. The eggs have to be ingested by the flea who then passes it on when he lands on a dog or cat and bites them. Most people dose their animals with natural or tradition medicine to prevent it, but a good idea is to go to a vet and get a professional diagnosis, then begin to treat your dog with the best preventive monthly.

    Reply to this comment

  3. craigy.

    - 6th Dec, 12 03:12am

    Thanks for a very informative bit of info!!

    Reply to this comment

  4. Bernice

    - 13th Jan, 13 12:01pm

    My miniature chihuahua passed a white worm that looked like a white grain of rice. It looked flat & moved like an inch worm. What kind of worm is this?? How is it treated?

    Reply to this comment

  5. Allie

    - 25th Jan, 13 12:01pm

    What products can I purchase over the counter to deworm my dog? I have 7 shih-tzu’s and have never had an issue with worms. But when my mother passed I got her dog who I noticed has tape worm. Taking ALL of my dogs to the vet all at once is extremely expensive. If I could treat all of them at home that would be wonderful! And if I only notice one dog to have them, should I go ahead and treat all of them or just the one?

    Reply to this comment

    • WayCoolDogs

      - 14th Feb, 13 05:02pm

      Usually feed stores, like Tractor Supply or Orschelins, have pet sections with medical products. They have several over the counter meds that treat tapeworms. But the best tapeworm meds are Droncit, Cestex, Drontal Plus, and Vercom Paste. Since they come from fleas, the med will do no good unless the flea communities are controlled and dogs are prevented from eating dead animals. People can also get tapeworms by handling feces from a dog that has been contaminated.

      Reply to this comment

  6. WayCoolDogs

    - 26th Jan, 13 04:01pm

    Allie …. my suggestion would be to treat all the dogs for tapeworms. Your mother’s dog either has a flea problem or has been in an area where fleas have been on the ground or on other dogs. Tapeworms come from fleas. Regardles where they came from, it requires the treatment of all your dogs. And yes … that would be expensive, but it is not as harmful to your dogs as worms that cannot be seen (hookworms or whipworms).

    Tapeworms need to be eliminated and also the infected fleas. Praziquantel and albendazole are the medications most often prescribed to treat tapeworm infection. NOTE: If the med has piperidine in it, it will only kill roundworms, not tapeworms. One popular tapeworm medications for dogs is D-Worm, which I have used. The medication is used to kill tapeworms transmitted from fleas and rabbits in one single dose within 24-hours. Most pet stores or feed stores (Tractor Supply or Orscelin’s) carry it. WormXPlus or Droncit are excellent for tapeworms that are over the counter.

    Reply to this comment

  7. Lindsey

    - 28th Jan, 13 05:01pm

    My german shepherd has been vomiting, and within his vomit are little rice looking creatures, how soon does he need to go to the vet, and how dangerous is the worm to his health?

    Reply to this comment

    • WayCoolDogs

      - 4th Feb, 13 12:02pm

      My suggestion to you would be the same as to Patti. Take your dog to the vet with a fecal sample ASAP, as worms that are not controlled can be deadly. If vomit contains the worms, it is in the latter stages – in the digestive system.

      Reply to this comment

  8. patty

    - 29th Jan, 13 07:01am

    my 19 week puppy has little white worms can you tell me what kind they are?

    Reply to this comment

    • Lindsey

      - 30th Jan, 13 08:01pm

      do they look like little grains of rice? if so they’re tapeworms, and what you’re seeing is a segment of a much larger worm. Take him to the vet immediately, because tape worms can be spread to humans by the bite of a flea and keep flea and tick medicine on him, because it can be very nasty if spread to humans.

      Reply to this comment

    • WayCoolDogs

      - 31st Jan, 13 07:01pm

      Little white worms that you can see are usually flatworms; however, young puppies usually have roundworms. So … I would take your puppy to the vet and have a stool sample of the worms with you.

      Reply to this comment

      • WayCoolDogs

        - 4th Feb, 13 12:02pm

        I meant to say tapeworms, not flatworms. Sorry. My head was elsewhere.

        Reply to this comment

  9. Bernice

    - 30th Jan, 13 01:01pm

    Whip worms were mentioned in the comments. What do they look like?

    Reply to this comment

    • WayCoolDogs

      - 14th Feb, 13 04:02pm

      I am sorry I have not answered this question. My internet company was just purchased and my lines have been down.

      A whipworm is about two to three inches long, threadlike with one end thicker than the other. Its appearance comes from the fact it looks like an old-fashioned whip. It lives in the intestines — the last section of the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine. The whipworm lays fewer eggs than any other worm; there are long periods when eggs are not shed. The whipworm is extremely difficult to see, even at the vet office with stool examinations.

      A bloody and mucous stool occurs with acute or chronic diarrhea. The dog will appear to strain more than normal. They can develop anemia, lose weight and look poorly. Treatments are Vercom Paste, Panacur or Drontal Plus. I buy Panacur for goats at feed stores and treatment them that for three days in a row. 1 cc of Panacur for 4.5 pounds. Do not use in dogs under 12 weeks of age.

      There are meds that treat both whipworms and heartworms at the same time — Interceptor and Filaribits Plus.

      The eggs can last up to 5 years in the ground, so clean with bleach in a 1:32 dilution to disinfect.

      Reply to this comment

  10. Shellie

    - 8th Feb, 13 09:02am

    My puppy his bout 11 weeks old had small flat pink lookin worm just one in his stool first time ive seen any. He had roundworms bad when i brought him home took him to vet and got dewormer for round worms. Will the vet pill take care of this other worm and what kind of worm is it? Im thinkin tapeworm? idk though.

    Reply to this comment

  11. Melissa

    - 11th Feb, 13 04:02pm

    My 5 year old chocolate lab just had a segment of a tapeworm on his rectal area, so I immediately treated it with an OTC product. Also have a 3 year old yellow lab. Dogs are around other neighborhood dogs once in a while. Mine have never had evidence of worms, and do not have fleas, so I am suspecting a neighboring dog may have them. I am a little confused as to whether or not the tapeworms can be spread to humans, or if it is unlikely????????????

    Reply to this comment

  12. WayCoolDogs

    - 14th Feb, 13 05:02pm

    Several readers are concerned whether people can get tapeworms. No, they cannot on their own. Yes, they can by handling the feces of dogs who have tapeworms and not washing their hands or practicing clean hygiene. Worms themselves are not contagious; it is handling that causes the problems.

    Reply to this comment

  13. WayCoolDogs

    - 14th Feb, 13 05:02pm

    For natural preventives, garlic repels tapeworms and roundworms as a toxic .. fresh or powdered, aged extract or a tincture of garlic and cider vinegar.

    Freshly ground up pumpkin seed .. 1/4 tsp per 10 pounds of dog weight … add to dog food. Or, add chopped or ground fresh grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, or any citrus fruits for five to seven days.

    Keep cool and fresh water all day long, changing it two to three times a day to coax the dog to drink more fluids.

    Reply to this comment

  14. ashley

    - 20th Mar, 13 11:03am

    Hi, I have a male dog and a female dog. They are both pitts and neither are fixed. My female has tapeworms and went to the vet for some meds. But my male dog is licking her pee, and sleeps in the same area( which he also wears advantage, and she takes comfortis for fleas. Whats the likliness that my male will catch tapeworms.

    Reply to this comment

    • WayCoolDogs

      - 21st Mar, 13 10:03am

      I would almost guarantee 100% there is some type of exposure. Treat both of them and then repeat when the eggs that are left hatch out into adults two more times. Personally, repeat this every six months as this is a type of worm that is difficult to control.

      The best meds for tapeworm are Droncit, Cestex, Drontal Plus and Vercom Paste. Advantage is a heartworm medicine, controls fleas, and provides low-dosages for hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms — not tapeworms. However, the med will do some damage to the tapworms, just not enough to control them.

      Comfortis, as a flea medication, attacks the nervous system of insects, causing a rapid death of adult fleas, usually found in the surroundings. If it is used monthly, it will kill fleas before they lay their eggs. But, if any fleas remain alive that is contaminated with tapeworms, it will not be effective at removing them before they begin laying eggs.

      Hope this helps,

      Nancy

      Reply to this comment

  15. Crystal

    - 26th Mar, 13 06:03am

    I rescued about an 8 week old puppy who I noticed has worms. My 7month old poodle had worms three months ago, and I was able to rid him of his tapeworms. However im confused because the worms he had looked like dry white rice. The worms the puppy has are a few centimeters bigger,white with slight pink on the head and wider at the end, is this a tapeworm as well? I did notice my poodle has the same worms as the puppy now.

    Reply to this comment

  16. WayCoolDogs

    - 28th Mar, 13 01:03am

    Crystal, the only worm I know that has a larger head is the whipworm. Unfortunately, the only two worms that we can really see on the outside of the dog are roundworms and tapeworm segments. Whipworms and hookworms are inside the body, and this sounds like a whipworm due to the differences in ends. “The whipworm has a whip-like shape with distinct features including a small, narrow anterior head, which is the digestive part of the worm, and a larger posterior tail, which is the reproductive part of the worm.” If it is whipworm, it is the smallest of the four common dog worms.

    What is odd, is that this worm usually latches onto the junction area of the small and large intestine. It is very seldom seen on the outside of the dog’s body.

    I would have both dogs vet-tested as your poodle has the same type of worm as the new puppy now so you can get them treated right away. “IF” it is whipworm, it can cause some damage. But I really do not think it is due to it being seen….

    Reply to this comment

  17. Dalilah

    - 3rd Apr, 13 07:04am

    I HAVE A 10 WEEK OLD PUPPY AND I THINK SHE HAS TAPEWORMS I NOTICED THEM WHEN SHE WAS ASLEEP WITH ME IS THERE ANY WAY THEY CAN GO INTO A HUMAN BODY WHILE YOU’RE SLEEPING? IM JUST WORRIED BECAUSE IM PREGNANT I ALSO NOTICED THAT THEY DIE AS SOON AS THEY LEAVE THE PUPPY’S BODY OR ATLEAST THATS WHAT I THINK BECAUSE I DONT SEE THEM MOVING PLEASE LET ME KNOW SOMETHING.. THANK YOU

    Reply to this comment

    • WayCoolDogs

      - 3rd Apr, 13 08:04am

      Dalilah, tapeworms are not contagious to humans, “if” it is tapeworms. Other dog worms are very contagious. You can tell they are tapeworms when they look like little white moving segments around your puppy’s bottom end. They break off from a larger, more destructive, tapeworm in the puppy’s intestine. He will need to be dewormed from a vet and have a test or the puppy will be in serious trouble.

      Keep in touch if you need any more help. But right now, the vet is your one to contact for the safety of your four-legged friend.

      Reply to this comment

      • WayCoolDogs

        - 3rd Apr, 13 08:04am

        Dahlila,

        I also forgot to tell you that tapeworms come from infected flea eggs. So … put her on some type of flea control. It will not work immediately, but in a day or so. Since you are pregnant and she sleeps with you, I would put her on one of the monthly preventives. Talk to your vet about it.

        Reply to this comment

  18. Dalilah

    - 3rd Apr, 13 11:04am

    I HEARD THAT GARLIC REALLY WORKS HOW TRUE IS THAT? I REALLY DONT HAVE MONEY FOR THE VET RIGHT NOW :( LIKE RIGHT NOW SHE IS FINE KUZ SHE RUNS AND JUMPS AROUND LIKE CRAZY

    Reply to this comment

    • WayCoolDogs

      - 3rd Apr, 13 11:04pm

      Yes, garlic works but crushed unsalted pumpkin seeds works better. It works on the intestines of the dog like roughage or fiber, sloughing off the worms attached to the intestinal wall. Pet stores or feed stores have tapeworm meds for dogs that you do not have to have a vet’s prescription. But the advantage of natural remedies is that it is cheaper, safer for the dogs, and works with ALL worms, whereas the meds work on what the bottle says.

      FYI, If you choose meds, your puppy is still young, so follow the directions. I would follow directions on the bottle of OTC (over the counter) meds and feed the natural food meds.

      Garlic and onions are powerful meds, making the animal less attractive to fleas and parasites, garlic affecting tapeworm the most. Too much is poisonous to the animal but small doses work. For example, too much onion causes anemia, weakness, pale mucous membranes and an increase in respiratory rate. For dogs, give them garlic five days in a row, two days off.

      NOTE: “Dogs tolerate garlic better than cats, and cats tolerate onions better than dogs.”

      Your goal is to kill every phase of the tapeworm: egg, youth and the adult. It is not to just remove the tapeworm segments you see around the rectum. As you know, your puppy has been around fleas, infected fleas, or it would not have tapeworms. As young as it is….it probably came from its mother and siblings.
      How they got it was this. A small segment of the tapeworm has been released from the stool bearing eggs. Those eggs lay dormant in the ground for several months, until they are accidentally eaten by a flea. When the flea is digested by an animal, the eggs gestate into larva which then bore into the intestinal wall and complete their life cycle as an adult intestinal worm.

      Therefore, your first step, which will not cost you anything …. is to remove the dog and your home of fleas. I do not know if your puppy is long-haired or not, but bath her in flea soap, which you can get at a Dollar Store or something similar. Make sure you leave it on for at least 15 minutes or the fleas will not die.

      Wash all bedding in hot water only, twice. Vacuum your mattress and flip your mattress, vacuuming that side also. Vacuum your floors, closets, corners and so forth …. remove the bag from the home, taking it straight out to the trash.

      Once your fleas are under control, contact me and I will send you dewormer that you need to give your puppy for three days, skip one months, repeat again. But only when your fleas are under control or it is a wasted effort. Okay?

      Reply to this comment

  19. melissajd

    - 6th Apr, 13 06:04pm

    my dog has stopped eating within the last week I feed him a dry food mixed with fresh/frozen billjack I have had to feed him the leftover Easter dinner from last week and he has eaten that just fine but he has been “splattering ” liquid feces on my floor the last few days and he is house broken he had not been having normal bm’s they are realy dark slithers and that is not normal for him he has been digging in my grass and dirt and that is also unusual his behavior has not been different at all aside from last nite he continuously barked thru the nite and he is not a “barker” im concerned that he may have caught something and its gonna start taking a toll on him I know something is wrong just don’t know what it could be and im not really in a position to pay a vet bill he is a 1 yr old pitt bull I have not noticed no visible worms or anything ike that but im certain that something is wrong and a few people have said worms

    Reply to this comment

    • WayCoolDogs

      - 6th Apr, 13 09:04pm

      So far you have fed your dog his dog food, fresh Bill-Jac, frozen Bill-Jac, and whatever you ate on Easter dinner — which may be the problem — as it all was fed a week. If you think your dog has, you can take hi m into a vet to be tested. If he does, a you don’t take him in..he could become very ill.

      But it sounds like he may have severedigestive issues. When a dog is abruptly moved from one food to another, all kinds of things happen in the digestive system, and if rich food from Easter dinner is added … problems will occur. Any dog food should be mixed together a little at a time with new stuff. Half and half for about a week, and so forth. If there is an abrupt change in diet, especially rich food, severe diarrhea will occur. The barking all night could be from cramps, an uncomfortable feeling, or a continuous need to toilet.

      Reply to this comment

  20. Elaine

    - 28th Apr, 13 07:04am

    I have a 4 year old Lab. I saw a 1 1/2 inch orange worm with pincher type head in my Doug’s stool. Has anyone heard anything about this type of worm?

    Reply to this comment

  21. WayCoolDogs

    - 28th Apr, 13 08:04am

    I have never heard of an orange worm with pinchers, at least as far as common dog stools. Doug could have swallowed an insect or worm while browsing the grounds. Personally, I would take it to your vet for further examination.

    Reply to this comment

  22. Elaine

    - 28th Apr, 13 09:04am

    Thanks for your response.

    Reply to this comment

  23. Alex

    - 2nd Jun, 13 03:06am

    I have a 12 week old puppy and I just notices worms in his stool. They did not look like the tapeworms that my cat once had (these were larger). Do tapeworms looks different in cats and dogs? could this be a different type of worm?

    Reply to this comment

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