As scary and alarming as this sounds, dogs are ideal hosts for parasites and worms. Dogs are very curious creatures and they like to explore just about anything, so it’s easy for them to get infected.
Whether we are talking about a walk in the park, or about your dog meeting other infected dogs, it only takes for your pet to make nose to nose contact or lick the soil to get infected. Also, worms can be transmitted to humans — not all, but some of them, yes. So, it’s necessary that you understand how important it is to take constant care of your pet’s health.
Symptoms and how to tell that your dog has worms
The symptoms of worms in dogs are not always visible, so it is often really hard to tell if your dog is struggling with these parasites. These worms can make a living in the dogs’ organs, such as the intestine or lungs, up to a couple of days or weeks without showing any visible signs from the outside.
Despite the fact that your furry friend might seem in good health, worms are capable of causing serious internal damage. They can stop blood from clotting and can lay up to thousands of eggs, which can end up infecting other animals. Common symptoms of worm infestations vary from frequent vomiting or diarrhea, fever, to a lethargic state or the worms themselves showing up in the dog’s stools.
Types of worms
There are a couple of worms that are known for infecting dogs. Roundworms usually inhabit the dog’s small intestine, where they also lay eggs. Adults can reach 7 inches in length and they resemble spaghetti. These worms are usually picked from the soil through eggs, or they can be passed from the mother to the puppies through milk. Symptoms include your dog having pot-belly, abdominal pain or a lethargic general outlook.
Hookworms live in your dog’s small intestine and are grey and they measure about 1/2 to ¾ inches in length. These worms get their name from the aspect of their mouth, which looks like a hook, that they use to attach to the lining of the intestine. They feed on your dog’s blood and tissue, so they are highly dangerous.
These worms attach to the mucous lining and they feed off blood. Adult worms are about three inches in length. They can get in your dog’s system if your furry friend accidentally swallows the eggs from water or soil. Common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss.
These worms attach themselves to the dog’s intestines and and they are long and look flat. They leave out rice-like segments in your dog’s stool so it is easy to recognize tapeworm presence. Also, you may observe a loss in the appetite of your dog and their coat will start to look dull.
This worm also lives in your dog’s intestine and it is a protozoan. Your dog can contract this worm by drinking contaminated water or by picking it up from infected animals or humans. Usually, these worms don’t cause any symptoms other than intermittent diarrhea.
How to deworm a dog
One significant piece of advice is that you should never give your dog deworming medication before consulting your vet. As noted before, there are several types of worms that can affect the system of your furry friend so there are different specific methods to deal with them.
The best way to determine what type of worm infested your dog’s system is by sending a sample of your dog’s stool for medical examination. Your dog’s deworming treatment schedule will depend on the animal’s age and the type of worm. Monthly deworming medicine is effective and can kill hookworms and roundworms. Medicine such as Panacur C is recommended for whipworms and the treatment should be performed 3 to 5 days, and Pyrantel is effective and a good dewormer for dogs and puppies.
Praziquantel is a tapeworm dewormer for dogs, which are usually the hardest to kill. However, it is not recommended to give any kind of treatment to your dog without your vet’s advice. Sometimes, using over-the-counter medicine can do more harm than good.
Puppies should be dewormed on a regular basis, to prevent the development of intestinal parasites from their mothers’ milk. They should be dewormed more than once to make sure all adult worms and larvae that came from the eggs are gone.
Have a veterinarian check up your dog and perform a heartworm test once a year because if parasites are discovered early, they can be eliminated before any clinical signs show up.
Parasites such as hookworms and roundworms can also affect humans.
Be sure that you follow a strict hygiene routine and make sure you don’t expose yourself to any infested areas. Clean up after your dog in parks and also at home and try to limit your dog’s interaction with other dogs if he or she is infested or under treatment.
What to expect after deworming your dog
There are plenty of options for medicine to deworm your dog but the process isn’t over yet. After you’ve given your dog the medication you have to make sure that your pet swallows it. Your Fido might try to spit it out, so you need to try and make sure that he or she gets the treatment.
Each treatment has different stages. Some medication kills or paralyzes the worms, so don’t freak out if you see worms in your dog’s feces. This means that the treatment is doing its job. Some dogs might even vomit the dead worms. If you are concerned about any of your dog’s reactions to the treatment contact your veterinarian.
Summing up, it is crucial to deworm your dog for the integrity of the pet’s health system so make sure you regularly check your dog’s health status and take him or her to the vet at least yearly.