Parasitic worms are very common in dogs, especially puppies that are yet to be dewormed. But as much as intestinal worms are common, it doesn’t mean that these parasites no longer pose threat. If not treated, worms can ultimately kill a small puppy. With that, we deem it necessary to answer this question: how do you know when your puppy has worms?
By identifying the symptoms, you can detect the problem and nip it in the bud before the worms wreak havoc on your pup’s health.
How do puppies get worms?
Your pup can contract parasitic worms in a variety of ways. The following are the most common scenarios:
🐶The pup got it from the mother dog.
Nursing mother dogs can transmit roundworms and hookworms to their puppies. It can also happen during pregnancy. The larvae of these worms can reach through the placenta and into the unborn pups.
When that happens, the litter will be born with an existing worm infestation. The good thing is that professional breeders can detect and prevent this from happening.
🐶The pup ate infested feces.
If the pup was born healthy, it’s possible that the little doggo ate feces infested with worm larvae. This is the most common means of transmission of intestinal worms among canines across ages.
Ingesting feces can be a habit of canines, even adult ones. However, since puppies are often the most curious bunch, they are more likely to snack on fecal matter.
🐶The pup got it while grooming.
While they are far from the grooming abilities of cats, puppies will still lick parts of their bodies for grooming. In the process, the pup may ingest eggs that clung to its coat. Upon ingestion, the eggs will hatch and start an infestation.
Take note that t eggs can cling to your pup’s coat after visiting dog parks, grooming shops, and even the vet. This is why you should be careful when taking your little puppy to these shared areas.
How do you know when your puppy has worms?
No matter how your pup contracted the worms, it requires immediate diagnosis and treatment. The first step is detecting the presence of the worms. Here are some of the symptoms you should watch out for:
- Bloated belly
- Licking and chewing of the pup’s bottom
- Dry coat
- Unexplained weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Presence of grain-like segments around the anus area
If you notice any of these symptoms on your puppy, especially the last one, you should bring it to the vet immediately. Since puppies are still small, they are quite vulnerable to the effects of parasitic worms.
Intestinal worms will steal your puppy’s nutrition. In the long run, your pup will grow thin and stunted. In some cases, the puppy will succumb to death as the worms continue to proliferate in its digestive system.
Types of worms in puppies
There are several types of intestinal worms among dogs, which have unique symptoms. If you suspect that your puppy has intestinal worms, it might be one of the following:
Roundworms are easily visible to the naked eye since it looks like pasta. Sometimes, pups will poop clusters of roundworms at once, or some will stick out of its anus.
Moreover, roundworms trigger diarrhea and weight loss. It’s also the type of intestinal worm that will give your pup a pot-bellied appearance. Aside from that, symptoms also include a dull coat and weakness.
Unlike roundworms, hookworms aren’t easily visible to the naked eye. It can be tricky to identify since you won’t see worms coming out of your pup’s butt.
Still, hookworms often cause bloody diarrhea and anemia. This is accompanied by general symptoms like weakness, though weight loss isn’t common with this worm infestation.
Whipworms can be visible to the naked eye, but they are considerably smaller than roundworms. Once the worms become adults, they would be excreted through the pup’s feces.
Most of the time, chronic weight loss is the hallmark sign of a whipworm infestation. It’s often accompanied by mucus on the feces or bloody diarrhea.
As it’s called, tapeworms have an appearance similar to rice grains. It can also appear in segments and the eggs are in packets.
A puppy with tapeworms will suffer from itching, excessive scooting, and excessive licking of its rear end. Like any worm infestation, the presence of tapeworm can risk your pup’s life if not treated right away.
What to do if your puppy has worms?
If you suspect that your puppy has worms, you should bring them to the vet. I don’t recommend home deworming for puppies, especially if you haven’t consulted the vet about it yet.
At the vet’s clinic, your dog will be examined to confirm the presence of worms. From there, the vet will prescribe a deworming drug with a dosage suitable for your puppy’s weight and overall health.
Take note that excessive doses of deworming drugs can be life-threatening in puppies, especially toy and miniature breeds. This is why you should always consult the vet and follow the prescribed dosage.
After the initial dose, you’ll need to deworm your pup every two weeks until it turns three months old. Some veterinarians will recommend frequent deworming up until the age of six months, depending on your pet’s situation.
Overall, once the puppy is six months old, it will only need deworming every three months. This is to ensure that the worms won’t come back and infest your pup again.
How to protect your puppy from worms?
The only effective way to protect your puppy from worms is to practice regular deworming. Aside from that, you should practice the following:
- Routine checkups. Even if you’re regularly deworming your pup, you should bring your pet to the vet for routine checks. The vet will take stool samples from the pup to check for the presence of a worm or any parasite.
- Cleanup. It’s also important to keep your puppy’s environment clean. Make it a habit to vacuum around your home to collect potential worm eggs or larvae waiting for your dog to ingest. You should also watch out for poop of other dogs and stray animals in your yard.
- Seal your trash. You should also keep all trash bins covered to prevent your curious pup from dumpster diving. Garbage bins are cesspools of parasites, which is something you wouldn’t like your pup to snack on.
- Avoid dog parks. Until your puppy is under a year old, you may want to avoid visiting dog parks. Aside from allowing your dog’s immune system to strengthen, the first year of its life is also crucial for vaccination.
- Involve your family. Since parasitic worms can thrive on the ground, you should teach your kids to wash their hands after playing in the dirt. This way, they won’t potentially bring the worm to the dog or themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What does puppy poop looks like when they have worms?
A: Intestinal worms are often expelled through defecation. Your puppy’s poop will have a white, grain-like matter on it, which is the segment of the worms. If your dog has tapeworms, the grain-like matter would be the egg sacs. This is a tell-tale sign that your pup is suffering from a worm infestation.
Q: Can a 6-week-old puppy have worms?
A: Puppies can have worms as early as birth. This is because mother dogs can pass on the worms to the unborn pups. Also, a mother dog infested with worms can transfer the parasites into the puppies through nursing. So whether a puppy is one day old or six weeks old, it’s vulnerable to parasitic worms.
Q: What to expect after deworming a puppy?
A: After deworming your puppy, expect it to have diarrhea. Your pup may also vomit occasionally as the medication is trying to purge all the worms inside the tummy. It’s important to monitor your pup after deworming to know whether you need to bring it to the vet.
Q: Can I deworm a puppy on my own?
A: You can deworm your pup at home only after you’ve consulted the vet. Your puppy’s veterinarian will prescribe the proper deworming drug and dosage suitable for your pet’s weight, health, and age. Never try to deworm your dog without consulting a veterinary professional.
Q: Can I give my puppy a dewormer even if it doesn’t have worms?
A: Yes, it’s safe and advisable to keep giving your puppy a deworming drug as a preventive measure. Make sure that you follow the proper dosage and timing to prevent adverse side effects. Overall, your pup should be dewormed quarterly once it reaches six months old.
How do you know when your puppy has worms? You should look for tell-tale signs of infestations like pot-bellied appearance, grain-like matter on the pup’s poop, diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss. To be sure, it’s best to get your puppy tested at the vet’s clinic.
This way, the veterinarian can also prescribe the medication. Make sure that you follow the vet’s orders to protect your pup from pesky worms.