Whipworms in Dogs

Whipworms are tiny, thread-like parasites that infect dogs causing mild to severe gastrointestinal disease. Whipworms are very similar in appearance to spaghetti with a wider body (tapered at the ends) and a narrow, whip-like tail. The eggs of these worms can live for many years in the soil and don’t require any moisture to survive. This makes it very difficult to remove them from contaminated areas.

What are whipworms?

Whipworms are the most common type of worm found in dogs. Whipworms can affect any dog, regardless of age or gender. These worms are long, slender and they live in the small intestine of dogs. They travel through their bodies by moving along their host’s intestinal lining and into the anus to lay eggs. The eggs pass out of the body with feces, which can then infect other dogs when they’re eaten by other animals (this is called “fecal-oral transmission”).

Whipworms do not affect humans or cats; however, they can cause symptoms such as weight loss and diarrhea when passed from one dog to another via contact with infected feces or soil that has been contaminated with infected feces from an infected animal.

How do dogs get infected with whipworms?

There are several ways that dogs can be infected with whipworms. Most commonly, they acquire them through eating infective larvae and eggs in the environment. This can happen when a dog eats grass or soil contaminated with worm eggs and larvae. Whipworms are also transmitted to dogs by fleas that have picked up the parasite from their rodent hosts. If your dog has fleas, it is important to get rid of them immediately so they do not continue to spread this nasty parasite!

If you live in a rural area where wild rabbits and rodents are common, it may also be possible for your dog to become infected by hunting or eating these animals.

Whipworm symptoms

Your dog may have whipworms if he has a potbelly, diarrhea, weight loss, poor appetite or dull coat. In young puppies it can cause stunted growth and development.

Whipworms are worms that live in the intestines of dogs and cats. They are called “whipworm” because they look like a long string-like worm that has a tail at one end. Whipworms can make your pet sick by damaging his digestive system.

Diagnosing whipworms

Diagnosing whipworms in dogs can be done by a vet looking at your dog’s stool. If the fecal float test is positive for whipworms, your vet may want to confirm the diagnosis by performing a blood test. Whipworm eggs are usually not visible to the naked eye, so it’s important to diagnose the infection early so treatment can begin quickly.

Treating whipworm infections in dogs

If you think your dog has whipworms, it’s important to get him treated as soon as possible. Whipworm infection is usually treated with de-worming medication, which can be given to your dog orally or by injection. Your veterinarian will recommend the right course of treatment for your dog depending on his age and health. In most cases, dogs require a single dose of medication; however, if this does not kill all of the worms in one go (because some eggs were missed), then repeat dosing may be required until there are no more signs of infection (e.g., ongoing diarrhea).

Whipworms should be treated for about a month from the time signs first appear in order to ensure that all parasite stages are killed off completely; failure to do so could result in re-infection when dormant eggs hatch later on down the track!

Preventing whipworm infections in dogs

  • Keep your dog’s living space clean and dry. Whipworms are most prevalent in areas that are dirty, humid, and wet.
  • Don’t allow your dog to roam. If you have a leash law in your city or county, be sure to keep your dog on a leash when it is outside (leash laws vary by state). If you do not have the option of keeping your pup leashed when outside, confine him indoors at all times.
  • Keep food bowls clean and dish-free at all times—don’t let them eat out of dishes that have been used by other animals or humans without being thoroughly washed first! This will help prevent any potential contamination of their food source with whipworm eggs or larvae from another animal such as raccoons or deer mice that may reside nearby.


Whipworms are an intestinal parasite that can infect both dogs and cats. If your pet is infected, the worms will live in their intestines and feed on their blood. They’re considered one of the most serious parasites to be exposed to—but luckily, it’s easy enough for a veterinarian to identify and treat them. So if you think your dog has whipworms, don’t panic! Just make sure you take them in as soon as possible for testing and treatment.