Common Worms and Intestinal Parasites in Dogs

Dogs can be a lot of fun to have around. Not only do they make great pets, but they’re also very affectionate and loyal. However, even though dogs are known for being cute and cuddly, they can catch all sorts of worms and other intestinal parasites that can cause severe damage to their health. Among the most common are roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms, and heartworms; fortunately, these can be tested for at a veterinarian’s office or through at-home testing kits. If your dog has been diagnosed with one or more of these types of worms or parasites, don’t panic! It is possible to treat your pooch and keep them as happy as ever!


Roundworms are a common intestinal parasite in dogs and puppies. They can be transmitted via fleas, but can also be picked up from the environment or other animals. Roundworms cause diarrhea, weight loss and vomiting in dogs, and they are easily treated with medication. Preventing roundworms is easy with flea medications that kill fleas on your pup’s skin as well as prevent them from biting him/her in the first place.


Tapeworms are the most common intestinal parasite in dogs. They’re long, flat, segmented worms that attach themselves to the intestinal wall and absorb nutrients from the host’s food. Adult tapeworms range in size from a few millimeters to several feet long.

Tapeworms are typically seen in dogs that eat raw meat or offal (intestines). These animals can also transmit tapeworm eggs to humans through contact with their feces or by accidentally ingesting them while grooming or licking their coats.

The main symptom of tapeworm infection is weight loss due to decreased appetite caused by irritation from worms moving around inside your pet’s digestive system. If you notice your dog has lost weight despite eating normally, take him/her for a checkup at your veterinarian’s office immediately!


Hookworms are a type of roundworm that can be transmitted through contact with infected feces. They are blood feeders, attaching to the lining of your dog’s intestines and sucking blood from their host. Hookworms can cause anemia in dogs by depleting red blood cells as they feed on them, which can cause lethargy, weakness and pale mucous membranes (lips). Hookworms may also lead to diarrhea or weight loss due to malabsorption of nutrients due to heavy worm load. There may also be bleeding from the nose if you notice a dark red tinge around your dog’s nostrils or mouth area when you wipe it with a damp cloth. This is indicative that there are high levels of hookworm larvae present in these tissues.


Whipworms are small, thin, threadlike worms that can cause diarrhea and weight loss in dogs. They are particularly common in puppies. The fecal-oral route is the most common means of transmission (i.e., from dog feces to your dog’s mouth).

Whipworms can be treated with dewormers like fenbendazole or pyrantel pamoate if diagnosed by a veterinarian or through fecal analysis at home


Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes and can cause serious problems with your dog’s heart. This is a common parasite that every pet must be protected from, but it’s easily treated with medication. Heartworm prevention is the best way to avoid heartworm infection, so if you don’t have your dog on preventative medications already, talk to your vet about it now.

Do regular tests for worms and other parasites to help keep your dog healthy

If you suspect your dog has worms or an intestinal parasite, see your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to diagnose the problem based on symptoms, test results, and examination of stool samples. If necessary, she will prescribe a treatment plan for you to follow at home.

You can also test for intestinal parasites yourself by purchasing a test kit from your local pet shop or online (for example: []) and following the instructions included with it.


Even though there are a lot of parasites out there, you can rest easy knowing that most of them can be treated. The real danger is when worms and other pests reach the bloodstream or the organs, which is why monthly checks are so important. So remember to keep your dog’s health in mind by being on top of things!