Parasites in Dogs That You Should Know

Dogs are man’s best friend and can bring a lot of love and joy to our lives. But unfortunately, there are also some parasites that can infect your pup too. Parasites like roundworms, heartworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and Giardia can all be transmitted from dog to dog or even from your dog to you! Yikes!


Roundworms are the most common type of worm in dogs, and they usually affect puppies and kittens. Roundworms usually enter a dog’s body through the skin or by eating an infected animal. The most common symptoms of roundworm infection include diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss in puppies or kittens.

Roundworms can also be transmitted to humans if you touch something that has been contaminated with roundworm eggs (like soil or feces). These eggs can live on surfaces for several days or even weeks after they’ve been deposited there by infected animals.


Heartworms are the most serious parasite a dog can get. A mosquito that bites an infected creature will pick up the worm and pass it along to another animal when it feeds on its blood. The worms can live for years inside a dog’s heart, blocking blood flow, causing fluid buildup and leading to heart failure.

They’re also expensive to treat: Heartworm treatment can cost $1,000 or more depending on how advanced the infection is when you start treating it. This makes prevention worthwhile: Once your pup has been tested (you’ll need a veterinarian’s help with this) and found to be free of heartworms, she can be given a monthly pill that keeps them at bay.


Hookworms are a type of intestinal parasite that can affect dogs and humans. They are transmitted by contact with infected feces, and symptoms include diarrhea, anemia and weight loss (diarrhea being the most common). Hookworm eggs appear in the stool as white or brown-colored. Treatment options include medication to kill the larvae stage of hookworms in your dog’s system before they become adults; deworming every six months to prevent reinfection; or both.


Whipworms are a species of roundworm that infect the large intestine. Whipworm eggs are spread by contact with infected feces and can be dangerous to humans, too: if you come into contact with an infected animal’s stool (or accidentally touch it), there is a small chance that you could get whipworm disease. Symptoms include severe diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss and dehydration in dogs.

Infection can damage the intestinal tract and cause anemia, diarrhea and malnutrition in puppies as well as adults.


Tapeworms are a type of parasite that can be found in the intestines and muscles of dogs and cats. They can also be transmitted to humans, though this is rare. If you suspect your pet has tapeworms, you may notice white rice-like segments hanging out of their anus or near their tail.

Tapeworm infections are fairly common in dogs, especially if they go outside frequently. They can also spread to humans through ingestion or handling infected dog faeces (poop).

Tapeworms live inside the intestines and absorb nutrients from food before passing them out again with waste products. The eggs are then excreted by an infected animal when it goes to the bathroom or eats something it shouldn’t have (like dirt).


Giardia is a parasite that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. It’s most commonly transmitted to humans through infected water sources (like pools), but it can also be transmitted between dogs through feces and urine. If your dog has giardia, you’ll want to make sure you wash your hands thoroughly after petting him or cleaning up after him so that you don’t accidentally ingest any of the parasites.

Giardia is fairly common among dogs in the United States—upwards of 60% of dogs will contract it at some point during their lives. It can be treated with medication prescribed by your veterinarian; however if left untreated for too long it may lead to serious health issues such as malnourishment and malnutrition due to vomiting/diarrhea


Hopefully, now you have a better understanding of the different parasites that your dog might be exposed to, and how they are spread. This can help you prevent them from happening in the first place. Remember that you should always consult with your vet before starting treatment so they can confirm what parasite is affecting your pet and give you their recommendation for treatment. After all, no one knows your furry friend better than the person who sees them regularly!