Health Symptoms & Solutions Worms In Dogs: 4 Most Common Types & How To Recognize Them

Worms In Dogs: 4 Most Common Types & How To Recognize Them

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Mentioning worms is enough to make most people squirm. It does not matter if you are dealing with puppies of adult dogs, there is just something about a wriggling worm in feces. These intestinal parasites can cause an array of health problems and long-term health issues

That is why dog owners should recognize the signs of an infected dog and the most effective treatment and prevention methods.

The Four Main Types Of Worms In Dogs

Without further ado it is time to take a look at the four most common types.


Dogs can suffer from Toxocara canis or toxascaris leonina. Both are a type of roundworm and look like spaghetti. They are adept at absorbing the nutrients from food before the dog can make the most of the available nutrition in their dog bowl. This is why your dog is likely to experience weight loss.

The larvae of the Roundworm live in the intestines of your dog. The Toxocara canis version will migrate to the lungs once they have matured. You will notice the coughing of your dog that brings them up to their throat and back down into the intestine, potentially doing damage en route. The toxascaris leonina does not move around, spending its life in the intestine and then leaving in your dog’s stool. You can see them in a stool sample along with roundworm eggs.


The tapeworm is the second most common type of worm you are likely to come across, consisting of six miniature rows of teeth and a flat body. They latch onto the small intestine and absorb nutrients from the dog food.

It can get as long as half a foot and splits into segments to leave the body, each segment carries worm eggs and appears like grains of rice in the feces.

Impressively this worm does not negatively affect dogs unless they are extremely active, there should be enough nutrients for both the dog and the parasite.


Hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms all have teeth to lock onto the intestine with, but the hookworm is the most aggressive. It does not just strip nutrients from the dog, it also enjoys sucking the blood. Like the toxocariasis roundworm, the hookworm is capable of moving around the body, through the lungs, and back to the intestine after triggering coughing in the dog.

This type of worm can be deadly to puppies as they remove so many of the nutrients eaten by the dog.


The final contender, whipworm is relatively benign, this type actually burrows into the large intestine and absorbs some of the nutrients, but not enough to affect the dog badly. In fact, you are unlikely to see any symptoms in your dog, the only time they are an issue is when they bury through the intestinal wall and into the surrounding tissue.

Catching Worms

shallow focus photography of short-coated brown and white puppy. Part of the "Worms In Dogs: 4 Most Common Types & How To Recognize Them" article.
Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

Adult dogs can catch intestinal worms by eating cat feces or contaminated soil, they can then be passed onto the puppy before it is born. Even after birth the mother dog can become infected, hookworms and roundworms can enter the uterus and infect the puppies via the mother’s milk.

This is actually one of the most common routes for roundworms to get to puppies and the reason you should speak to your vet regarding worming treatments.

Intestinal worms that have been passed by dogs and cats can live in the feces and soil for years, thanks to a hard outer eggshell. This means other animals can acquire the worms through contaminated soil even after any trace of the dog droppings are gone, hence the reason you should clear up your dog droppings and stop your pets from cleaning their feet with their tongues.

It is worth noting that hookworms can be transmitted by simply walking on contaminated soil because they can actually penetrate any part of the dog’s skin.

It’s also possible to catch any type of worm by consuming an infected animal, a common issue for many pets that consume dead domestic animals, or even raw dog food.

It should be noted that fleas can also carry tapeworm and transmit them to your dog, but this is only possible if your dog digests the flea and it is carrying tapeworm eggs, thankfully a rare occurrence.

Dealing With A Worming Issue

It is essential that you regularly inspect your dog waste to check for worms in dogs. If you discover them it is possible to get an over-the-counter medicine, but it is advisable to take your dog to the vets where they will be able to identify the specific worm and provide a broad spectrum treatment option to deal with the issue quickly and effectively.


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