Not only are worms painful, they can also cause a whole plethora of symptoms in your dog if left unchecked. Just watching our dogs go through this hurts us, but that’s nothing compared to what they go through. If we want to help them recover, we all need to be on the lookout for symptoms of worms in dogs so we can catch it as quickly as possible.
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Symptoms of Worms in Dogs
If you suspect that your dog might have worms, take a deep breath and calm down. First you need to go through the symptoms to see if they match so that you can better inform your vet. What kinds of symptoms should you look out for though? There are 11 common ones to keep in mind.
1. Cough, Cough, Cough
This is one of the more advanced symptoms. If you see this, rush your dog to the vet immediately. Coughing is most common with heartworms, but can show up with hookworms or roundworms too. Either way, if you see this, get help fast.
2. Is That Vomit?
Vomiting is a little common with many medical problems, but it also presents itself with worms. The only thing that might be able to tell you if this is worms rather than another medical issue is if you see roundworms actually in the vomit. Roundworms will be spaghetti-like and sticky. Not a pleasant thought, but take a look anyway if you have your suspicions.
3. Diarrhea Again?
Diarrhea is another somewhat common symptom, although most owners are sure something bigger is wrong when this happens. As yet another sign of worms, look for hookworms, roundworms, or tapeworms in the stool. They’ll look like rice-shaped grains and can be found around the house or stuck to the fur as well. If you see blood as well or if your dog is experiencing constipation definitely take a trip to the vet.
Also Read: Dog Ear Infection Signs and Symptoms
4. I’m Feeling Tired Lately
Is your usually energetic dog looking sluggish and tired lately? This sadly could be another symptom of worms that you need to check off your mental list. This is very common is your dog has whipworms, and is usually seen in conjunction with dehydration or anemia.
5. Pot Bellied Suddenly
The appearance of a large belly on a skinnier dog is a sure sign of worms, and one of the most obvious signs as well. This is a common sign of worms in puppies too. Whenever you see this symptom, you know that something is wrong, whether it’s worms or not.
6. She’s Eating Less
Not only do worms affect the stool, belly, and energy levels of your dog, they also affect the appetite too. If your dog has roundworms, they may not want to eat as much as usual. Be on the lookout for your dog suddenly eating less before they possibly increase their hunger. When the worms drain them, they’ll look for the energy.
7. Weight Loss
This may seem a little obvious considering the loss of appetite and intestinal issues we’ve discussed already, but you will also see weight loss. It will become especially obvious if your dog also has the pot bellied appearance.
8. What Happened to Your Coat?
We spend a lot of time grooming, washing, and brushing our dogs to help them with shedding and keeping their coats shiny and clean. All your work might go down the drain thanks to worms making the coat dull and dry. Hair can even fall out in clumps, and rashes can present themselves on the skin too.
The coat can be affected by worms just like the skin under it. Those rashes will become more obvious without as much fur there, but skin irritation and itching are signs of a more severe infection. If you’re seeing this in conjunction with other symptoms, run to the vet.
10. Scooting Around
A lot of pet parents freak out a little when they see their pet scooting on the ground. It looks like they might do their business on the carpet. More than often though, this is a problem with the anal glands and should be checked out. Dogs with worms will also show this symptom in some cases too when they try and get rid of the itch.
11. Visible Worms
This final symptom is the most obvious one, mostly since this is when you can actually see the worms. Visible worms can present themselves in the fur or around the anus, and roundworms can be seen in the stool. They’ll look like tiny moving segments, and are a sure sign your dog needs help.
How Did My Dog Get Worms?
Worms are the product of a few things. Adult dogs generally deal with them when they eat raw meat, fish, or carrion, or from other parasites and the soil around them. Worms are so common then because dogs normally encounter things like this outside all the time. Puppies however are a different story. Why do puppies get worms when they’re so young? Newborns get a few from their mother and rarely show any early symptoms, letting the problem get worse.
Fixing up worms doesn’t have to be difficult once you know what you’re dealing with. We know it’s scary to see your dog in pain, but take one more breath and let’s get things fixed. First off, if you find that your puppy has worms, or even if you aren’t sure if they do yet, treat them with worm medicine routinely. Combine it with vaccinations for an easy treatment. Since puppies can get worms from their mother, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If left untreated, there can be damage to internal organs and even death. Going to the vet is the only real way to treat these, so don’t try at-home remedies first. You’ll usually get medication for any age dog. The only thing you can really do is to try and find the symptoms to let your vet know which worm it might be. Heartworms will need more treatment, cause more damage, and can be expensive, so it’s best to work on the preventative front by treating as a puppy and into the adult years.
Worms may be common for dogs, but that doesn’t make them any less scary. Watching our dogs in pain hurts us. The best thing we can do is to look for symptoms of worms in dogs and get them to the vet if we suspect anything. Even if you have no suspicions, preventative care is best to stop them from experiencing such a terrible pain! Your dog will thank you when they’re healthy and happy like usual.