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Puppy WormsYou care about your pup, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You can take care of your dog by giving him lots of cuddles, his favorite treats, playing with him in the field, etc. But, you can also show your friend how much you care by taking care of his health. Specifically, worms.

There are many different kinds of worms that can infect your dog and make him uncomfortable. In some dogs, the presence of worms is clear, whereas other dogs tend to not show any signs of discomfort. Therefore, the best way to make sure your dog stays healthy and happy is to arm yourself with all of the information you can about worms. That’s why we’re here.

As a puppy, your little bundle of joy can very easily come into contact with different kinds of worms that will affect his overall health and quality of life. Worms, if left untreated, can cause problems such as a ruptured bowel and nutrition problems. Some kinds are more harmful than others, but all should be taken seriously to ensure the health and safety of your puppy and yourself.

How do puppies get worms?

Much like many human viruses and bugs, worms can be gotten from a variety of sources, the most common one being the mother. This is because the mother is infected while she is pregnant and passes the condition on to her puppies, most of the time without even knowing it. Other ways that puppies and dogs can get worms are:

  • eating feces or other substances that are infected with worms
  • by coming into contact with fleas that are infected with worms
  • by being in warm and humid conditions with damp and worm-filled soil
  • by being in humid areas with plenty of infected insects that will bite your dog
  • by coming into contact with feces from infected wild animals

By keeping an eye out to ensure that your puppy stays away from these kinds of factors, you’ll be able to greatly reduce his chances of getting infected. Prevention is always the first step!

My puppy has worms, what do I do?

You might wonder do all puppies have worms – answer is almost all. If you discover that your puppy has worms, the first thing to remember is to stay calm. Continue loving your puppy and remember that this is a treatable condition, not a death sentence.

Worms in puppies are common when the mother comes from rough or unknown circumstances, so don’t feel as if you haven’t done a good job taking care of him. You are not to blame! The next steps will help you get your furry friend back into shape in no time:

1. Determine what kind of worm it is. There are several kinds, the most common being roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms, hookworms and heartworms. You can read up on characteristics of the worms online and get detailed photos so you can determine this.
2. Collect a worm sample in the feces of your dog. Many of these worms look identical, so when you take your puppy into the vet for treatment, try to bring a sample of the worm in with you. The vet will be able to confirm what kind of worm it is.
3. Document any kind of reactions that your dog is having, any symptom that he is suffering from. Remember, you know your puppy better than anyone, so you’ll see when he is doing something out of the ordinary.
4. Ask your vet for a blood test to confirm the presence of worms. This will put you and the vet’s mind at ease with the black and white confirmation.
5. Act quickly. The longer the infection goes on, the more dangerous it can be to his wellbeing and quality of life. Even if you are not sure, do the above steps and remember that overreacting is part of being a puppy parent.
6. A puppy with worms will be treated with the right kind of antibiotic to clear his system. After the illness has been destroyed, you’ll have to work to prevent it from reoccurring. This can be done through yearly prevention shots and avoiding the risk factors mentioned above.

Here are the five most common kinds of worms in puppies, complete with warning signs, descriptions, and things to watch for. This will help you make your initial diagnosis so you know to get your puppy some professional help.

Roundworms

These are the most common kinds of worms that are found in puppies. They come from the mother, as mentioned, and can infect both puppies and adult dogs. They can cause serious infections when the larvae hatch and travel to the intestines of the puppy as they mature.

 If left untreated, he can have nutrition and health issues that can lead to a life threatening infection in the digestive tract. Roundworms can be spotted in the feces and vomit of your puppy and will be small in size, but frequent. 

You’ll be able to spot them easily if keeping an eye on your dog’s feces, a relief to all of those puppy parents out there.

Symptoms of roundworms can include:
• potbellied appearance (you’ll be able to distinguish it from the adorable round, puppy fat belly that your furry friend is born with)
• a scrawny and thin appearance
• digestion problems (vomiting, stomach upset)
• extreme hunger
• no appetite

As with all worms, be careful not to touch the worm-infested feces with your bare hands. They can be transmitted and cause problems in humans too, especially children. Your health and safety are as crucial to that of your puppy!

Tapeworms

Odds are you will have heard of these kinds of worms. They are common in humans and work quite the same way. They are primarily spread by eating infected feces from a wild animal or another dog. They can also be picked up from fleas that are ingested by your furry friend while he bathes himself.

 Tapeworms are most commonly seen in feces. They are yellow in color and tend to look like mucus or other excrement.

Here are some symptoms to watch for:
• Obsessive licking of the bottom/genital area
• scooting across the floor (he will have a itchy bum and want to scratch it)
• diarrhea
• yellowing on the genital area (this is actually dead and dying tapeworms that come out in the feces and stick to his bum)

As with the human equivalent, they can cause digestive problems and lead to many digestive tract problems. A puppy with worms should be treated as soon as possible to make sure he stays healthy.

Whipworms

While most can find worms in puppy poop, you may find that your puppy is showing symptoms of being sick with no sign of anything in his feces. Whipworms are extremely difficult to diagnose due to the fact that they don’t tend to make much of an appearance in dog feces.

 Your vet will have to do most of the legwork in this diagnosis with specific tests to confirm the diagnosis and treat the condition. These common worms are thick at the top and thin at the bottom, imitating a whip and earning its name.

Symptoms include:
• lack of weight gain
• weight loss
• chronic diarrhea

This is a serious condition that is often found in puppies and dogs after eating or rolling in wild animal feces or other vermin.

Hookworms

This is one of the most severe kinds of worms in puppies as it can cause blood infections that can be potentially fatal, especially in puppies. These kinds of worms are very common and have no area or region that they stick to.

As with the others you’ve been learning about, these worms are often contracted from infected grass and soil in a dog pen/park, or from feces of another animal that is infected. Here are signs to watch for:
• loss of appetite
• anemia
• skin and fur irritation (the fur will be dull and dry)

In seeing anemia in your dog (look for pale gums and tongue), you puppy should be taken for medical attention immediately, as it is a very serious sign.

Heartworms

As you can guess from the name, this is the most severe and life threatening kind of worm your dog can have. Unlike the others, it always is serious and quite often can be fatal to your furry friend.

Just take a look at the symptoms and you’ll see the severity of it for yourself:
• chronic coughing
• anemia
• heart failure

The treatment for heartworms is long and expensive, not to mention painful for you and your furry friend. Prevention is key in this kind of worm. 

Worms are always serious and should be treated accordingly. If you’re thinking “My puppy has worms”, don’t panic. Follow the steps, consult a vet, and your puppy will be well on the road to recovery. The important thing is to look for worms in poop and remember that puppies with worms are common. Watch for the signs and you’ll be fine.

Puppy Worms Treatment – Deworming

Treating puppy worms is surprisingly easier than you would think!  A puppy is given a wormer orally, and then again in a couple of weeks.  This can be between 2 or 3 weeks depending on the type of worm you are battling against.

Puppy dewormer can be purchased from your vet, and they can even administer it for you to your puppy so you don’t have to worry about doing it correctly. However, wormers from your vet is not the only place you can get it done!

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Last update on 2017-08-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Both online pet stores and brick and mortar stores will have safe puppy dewormers that you can purchase at the same price and sometimes even cheaper than your vet clinic!  Make sure you get the dosage right for the size and age of your puppy and dose as often as the package requires so that the parasites in all life stages are eradicated from his body.

Dewormers that are both over the counter and from your vet are typically fenbendazole or ivermectin. If you have a dog that is a herding breed, a mixed breed with the possibility of a herding breed in his genes, or of totally questionable origins, you should be weary of using ivermectin. Dogs of these breeds, such as Border Collies and Australian Shepherds have a high chance of carrying the gene called MDR1 which makes them hypersensitive to many pesticides and anti-parasitic treatments, which can cause seizure, blindness and death.

Outside of these typical commercially available wormers, there are holistic
approaches you can take as well. Just like any other treatment, there are risks to using an herbal dewormer. Primarily that the dosage is not correct and it does not relieve your puppy fully of the parasites.

However, if you do decide to use a holistic, herbal treatment option such as wormwood tinctures, a change in his diet will usually also be necessary to make sure the worms will be completely shed from his body.  Adding items such as fresh cut garlic cloves in the appropriate amount will help his body stay worm free.

No matter what approach you decide to take to help get rid of puppy worms, it must be done!  If left untreated your puppy can become extremely ill and open for secondary infections and infestations, leading to life threatening ailments.

Keep your puppy safe and worm free so that you two can enjoy a life long of healthy friendship together!