How to Reduce or Eliminate Worms in Dogs


Deworming your dog

Worms. I completely understand that this is not quite a subject anyone would want to discuss at the dinner table.

For the purposes of ensuring the good health of our pets, face the wriggly worm we must, for worms can be the bane of our pets' existence.

Pet owners, especially first time ones, will find information on deworming pets essential. There are several types of these infernal parasites which can make their homes in our pets' bodies and there are a few natural ways to be rid of them.

And what can we expect after our pets have been dewormed?


Reasons Why We Should Deworm Our Dogs

We care for our pets as pet owners and a vital part of that is making sure that our dogs, especially young dogs and puppies, receive appropriate deworming treatment. For all dog owners, especially those who have welcomed a dog into the family for the first time, this is noteworthy.

Deworming prevents serious health problems in dogs.

Deworming a pet would reduce the risks of intestinal problems and issues like vomiting or diarrhea. Worms can cause a dog to have inappropriate changes in appetite. Their coats become dull and dry. Deworming also prevents conditions like anemia and nutritional deficiency, for worms are parasites that drain the dog of the nutrition it needs.

If left unchecked, worms can cause death.

If the problem of worm infestation is not checked, health problems can increase to a level that can cause death. This is especially true in the case of the heartworm, which causes a slowing of circulation and even breathing.

Deworming your dog prevents health problems for humans.

Some worms, such as roundworms and hookworms, can be passed on to humans via accidental contact with animal faeces. Children are especially susceptible to these worm transfers as they play in playgrounds near soil, where it is likely that they will make contact with the parasites.

It causes a delay in the growth of puppies.

As the nutritional needs of puppies would be even greater than adults, sharing nutritional intake with a few parasites is bound to hamper their growth. This increases in seriousness when the dog experiences a loss of appetite and refuses to eat or vomits.


Symptoms of worms in dogs

There are several signs that can alert owners to the presence of worms in their pets and prompt the need for a visit to the vet. All dogs should be dewormed especially if the dog is an especially young ones.

Bearing this in mind, puppies should be dewormed initially at about 2 weeks of age, and again at 4, 6 and 8 weeks. Thereafter, yearly deworming is recommended.

Some worms can worm their way into the dogs systems no matter how we prevent them, so how do we spot signs these infernal parasites in our dogs?


Coughing can be the sign of heartworms that have developed in the dog to an advanced stage. Dogs with hookworms or roundworms may also develop a cough.

A change in appetite

Though worms take advantage of a dog’s nutritional intake and cause him to lose his appetite, they may also cause him to eat a little more voraciously. As worms steal a dog’s nutrients, he is prone to being hungry.

With a loss of appetite will come weight loss, so if this is observed, visit the vet without delay.


Vomiting may be a sign of the presence of worms, especially the roundworm, which may show up when the dog throws up.


When you visit the vet with complaints of diarrhea in your dog, the first thing that he or she ask for is a fecal sample. This is what happened when my dog Cloudy had a recent bout.

Worms can cause a dog to have soft stools. In addition, hookworms cause blood in a dog’s stools.


If a usually energetic dog suddenly stops being active and wishes to sleep more often, that can signal the presence of worms.

Tiredness, of course, may cause a dog to slow down. Owners should look out for any other accompanying signs above.

A potbelly

A dog that has a bloated appearance may have contracted worms, as this is seen in more in puppies.

A dull coat

We care for our pets as pet owners and a vital part of that is making sure that our dogs, especially young dogs and puppies, receive appropriate deworming treatment. For all dog owners, especially those who have welcomed a dog into the family for the first time, this is noteworthy.

Skin irritation

Worms, such as roundworms and hookworms, are culprits of skin irritation. If your dog has no fleas and is still scratching persistently, a visit to the vet might be in order.


Worms in the intestine can cause itchiness in the anal area. Hookworms are guilty of causing a dog to move quickly and uncomfortably in a crouched position, known as “scooting.”

Worms in fecal matter

Worms show up when a dog passes out faeces, so a vet will request a fecal sample when a dog has diarrhea. While some are visible to the naked eye, some may be more visible under a microscope. Roundworms and tapeworms will tend to show up in a dog’s fecal matter.

Roundworm | Source

Types of Worms in Dogs

A worm is a worm, but there are many types of these unwanted parasites. All of these can be prevented if a dog is dewormed regularly. Here are some indicators of different types of worms in dogs.



A suspicion of roundworms may arise when a dog:

  • has a dull coat
  • loses his appetite
  • loses weight
  • has a pot bellied appearance
  • vomits or experiences nausea


Roundworms may be passed on from the intestines of the mother to puppies as they feed, or contaminate a dog when he accidentally ingests fecal matter. They are also dangerous as they are transmittable to humans.


Dogs with roundworms may be treated with pyrantel pamoate. Larger adult dogs may be given diethylcarbamazine or piperazine.

Tapeworm | Source


You know that your dog has got a few tapeworms when:

  • he experiences abdominal pain
  • is agitated
  • loses weight
  • has an itchy anus
  • vomits

you see pieces of broken ‘tape’ in your dog’s stools.


Be alert if your dog is experiencing a flea infestation. Dogs typically contract tapeworms by swallowing infected fleas and ticks. These nasty parasites are also transmittable to humans.


Medicine for reducing tapeworms like Droncit, Cestex, Drontal, Drontal Plus, Telmintic, and Vercom Paste are usually effective for dogs. Prevention is simple when pet owners observe the necessary pooper-scooper ordinances.

Whipworm eggs
Whipworm eggs | Source


These fellows get their names because they look like little whips. You know your dog has come into contact with them if:

  • there is blood or mucus in his stools
  • he experiences flatulence
  • has diarrhea
  • is anemic
  • or loses weight


These worms are also transmitted from a mother’s milk or from contaminated stools which a dog might ingest.


Interceptor ( a drug worthy of Schwarzenegger) is a drug that can stop the whipworm, in addition to treatments like Panacur, Drontal Plus, Telmintic, and Vercom Paste.

Regular deworming is necessary to prevent the whipworm, and pet owners should adhere to the use of pooper scoopers and pick up after their pets. These worms are particularly resilient and eggs can remain in infected environments for up to 5 years.

Hookworm | Source


These tiny worms cannot be seen by the naked eye, but you know your dog has hookworms if:

  • he has pale gums
  • loses weight
  • has bloody stools
  • lacks energy
  • has skin irritation
  • has diarrhea


Hookworms can be transmitted from the mother’s milk as a puppy nurses. A dog can also get infected if he accidentally ingests contaminated fecal content from the ground. Pads of the feet can be a transmitter of hookworms in dogs.


Dewormers like Nemex, Panacur, Drontal Plus, Telmintic, and Vercom Paste are effective in treating hookworms.

In addition, pet owners must be responsible and prevent their pets from defecating in areas where humans and pets come into contact with the ground, like playgrounds or benches.

Microscopic view of the heartworm
Microscopic view of the heartworm | Source


This is by far the most threatening of worms that can make their homes in dogs, because they affect a vital organ that sustains life. Because they cannot be seen with the naked eye, and symptoms only show in advanced stages, it is particularly deadly. Wrapping themselves around a dog’s heart, you know your dog has become their unfortunate victim if:

  • your dog has difficulty breathing
  • coughs
  • is lethargic
  • has a dull coat


This worm is passed to animals which are bitten by infected mosquitoes, which happens in warmer areas and seasons of the year.


Treatment for heartworm is dangerous,requiring arsenic based medication that kills worms. It is far better to prevent the infestation. Heartworm preventives should be given to puppies and young dogs at early stages. A prevention program should be started when a dog is between 6 to 8 weeks of age, particularly if he leads a less sedentary lifestyle and is outdoorsy. They include drugs like Heartgard and Interceptor.


Natural Ways to Deworm a Dog

Medications can cause unwanted reactions like allergies, so owners might want to look for natural ways to deworm a dog. Do note that these work slowly as compared to medication, and are suitable as preventives or if your dog has a very light infestation.


A study at the Tulane University School of Public Health found that mixing between 7 and 10 grams of garlic in the food of a 22 lb dog reduced hookworm infestation to normal levels. Feeding your dog a little garlic can prevent fleas and heart disease.

However, it also contains thiosulphate and can cause anemia. Give this to your dog only after proper consultation with a veterinarian.

Diatomaceous Earth

This is made of microscopic algae known as silica,it resembles fine white powder that can be mixed with a dog’s food to prevent the infestation of parasites

Again, this alternative works slowly and should not be given in huge doses. It can also be used for mite and flea control. For more on DE, please read this informative article by Cyndi Calhoun.

Pumpkin Seeds

Adding a ¼ teaspoon of pumpkin seed to a dog’s meal helps not only prevent parasitic infestation, but aids digestion, promotes urinary health and hastens weight loss as they tend to fill your pet’s tummy. Again, there is no need to heap a whole lot of them on your pet’s food.


What to Expect After Your Dog Has Been Dewormed

So you have taken your dog through a course of deworming treatments. What can I expect next?

Expelled worms

After deworming a dog, it is normal to spot a few that have been rid of by the dog’s system in his fecal content. Some medications paralyze worms, so they may be live when a dog purges them.

An upset stomach

Again, medication given is aimed at helping a dog to be rid of worms, so a little stomach upset after deworming is a sign that the medication is working. However, repeated incidents will warrant veterinary attention.


A dog may feel lethargic after being dewormed, just as he might after he has had an injection. Again, prolonged lethargy is a sign for veterinary attention.

Feeling better

A dog should feel better 24 hours after deworming and its coat should gradually attain its normal coloring. Follow up treatments and testing should indicate that the dog is free from worms.


Worms are not creatures we would want to interact with and certainly must be rid of. Regular prevention and being responsible enough to pick up after our pets can help to prevent their spread and infestation.

I would like to thank the writers who have answered the question “What are your opinions on having your pets dewormed?” Do take time to pay their profiles a visit!

© 2013 Michelle Liew

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Comments 17 comments

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore Author

On the importance of deworming our dogs, how to do so and what to expect after deworming

cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 3 years ago from Western NC

Awesome hub on helping our little furry friends and I'm linking up to mine now - so I don't forget. :)

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Garlic? I had no idea, Michelle! Excellent suggestions and thank you.

Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

So well informed and useful Michelle. Thank you for sharing and enjoy your day.


kidscrafts profile image

kidscrafts 3 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

Thank you very much for all the information Michelle! I didn't know there were different kinds of worms! I didn't know either that you could give garlic to a dog. At one point I wanted to mix some onions (cooked) to the food of my really old cat because she had some problems with constipations and the vet told me absolutely not because of some risks for the health of the cat. She suggested to add some pureed pumpkin and mix it to her food.... and it worked.

Thank you again for your interesting hub!

Have a nice Easter with your family!

Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 3 years ago from United States

Great tips, Michelle.

I will forward to a friend who has 2 dogs as pets. I don't have one yet...thus, can't relate to the importance of it :)

voted up as useful

mary615 profile image

mary615 3 years ago from Florida

I had read somewhere not to give your dog garlic! I would rather leave the deworming to my Vet, honestly. When I worked with Doc my Vet hubby, I would find heartworms in the microscope looking at a blood sample. They are horrible. These worms actually wiggle throughout the heart. No wonder they will kill the poor dog. Course the treatment is hard on the dog, too.

Great Hub. Voted UP and shared in the usual places.

joym7 profile image

joym7 3 years ago from United States

Hmm this one is quite interesting topic i was thinking about. Now I can give better comfort to my dogie.

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Thanks so much for the link, CC.

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Garlic is a natural way of getting rid of parasites, but must be given with discretion and consultation with a vet. Thanks for sharing, Bill!

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Thanks, Eddy.

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Yes, you can give them garlic, but with discretion and in very small doses. It is best to ask a vet about it before proceeding because the dog might not react to it well. Thanks for sharing!

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Thanks, Ruchira!

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Garlic does help rid the dog of parasites, but must be given with discretion and yes, consultation with the vet is always the key. Thanks, Mary.

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Thanks, Joy! Do be careful about using natural methods...consult the vet first before proceeding!

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

Midget, worms in dogs is a creepy topic, but superbly presented by you. I am sharing this with my daughter :)

midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore Author

Hope it helps, Martie!

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    Michelle Liew (midget38)651 Followers
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    Michelle is a professional freelance writer who loves music, poetry and the arts. She is a techno-geek as well.

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