Animals that slurp, sniff, and guzzle anything on their way, including trash, are bound to pick up pests and parasites.
Dogs are the best hosts for parasites as they do everything with their mouths; they wrestle, groom, lick, and even greet other dogs with their mouths. This can pass worms to other dogs and humans too.
Several worms live in the intestines that may infect your dog; these include tapeworms, roundworms, whipworms, heartworms, and even hookworms. There are different symptoms to show that your dog is suffering from worms.
Dogs show different signs depending on where the worm infestation and what type of infection it is.
Four different types of worms and how to identify them
Roundworms are the most common worms in dogs, and puppies are the most susceptible to this type of infection. They may get it from their mother’s milk or from eating small creatures like rats. Most dogs do not show symptoms of roundworms unless it is a severe infection. Below are some of the signs
- Weight loss
- Gloomy fur
- Coughing is a symptom that the roundworms have moved and are infecting your puppy’s lungs
- Light brown or white color on your puppy’s face
Hookworms live on the digestive system of the puppy, and they are intestinal parasites. They attach themselves onto the inner lignin of the abdominal wall and feeds on the puppy’s blood.
The worms lay eggs that are passed out through your puppy’s poop into the environment. Below are some symptoms that your puppy is suffering from hookworms;
- Weight loss
- Bloody diarrhea
- Itchy paws
- Stunted growth
- Pale gums
Whipworms mostly attach themselves to the colon, and they cause irritation of some kind to your puppy’s tummy.
They cause deterioration in the quality of health, especially to young puppies and dogs with compromised immune systems. Most dogs don’t show signs of whipworms in the early stages, either.
However, in severe infections, the puppy might show severe symptoms such as:
- Weight loss
- Bloody stool
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
Puppies can undoubtedly get heartworms from mosquito bites. The worms travel to the lungs and the heart through the bloodstream.
Heartworms are expensive and difficult to treat, and they are fatal to dogs no matter their ages.
Heartworms larvae take up to 6 months to grow into adulthood; this means that your puppy will not show any infection symptoms in the early stages. However, after six months from the day of infection, your puppy may start to show the below signs;
- Persistent soft dry cough
- Inflated belly die to excessive fluids
- Weight loss and anorexia
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty in breathing
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive sleeping
Dogs can easily get tapeworms from swallowing fleas infected with tapeworms larvae.
Tapeworm, however, is the easiest worm to identify and treat in dogs. It has a plat segmented bodies that resemble the length of tape, and each segment looks like a grain of rice.
Tapeworm can grow up to 28 inches long. It may cause your puppy to experience very uncomfortable symptoms, but it is not as lethal as heartworm. Tapeworms attack the walls of the dog’s gut, and it feeds and continues to grow. Below are some symptoms that your dog is infected with tapeworm
- Dull coat
- Weight loss
- Visual evidence of tapeworm
- Skin irritation
How to treat your worm infestation in your puppy
Take your puppy to the vet. You may suspect that your puppy has worms or that your vet may detect pests during the puppy’s check-ups. Let your vet know if you have a suspicion. They will conduct tests and prescribe the right treatment.
Do not try to prescribe over the counter treatments as they do not work on tapeworms. You might also not be sure of what is ailing your puppy. If your dog has had a previous worm infestation, please let the vet know too.
Follow the vet’s instructions; whatever the diagnosis is, follow the vet’s prescription and administer it to your puppy to get rid of the worms.
When treating your puppy for heartworms, ensure to be more careful as this worm requires more complex treatment than other parasites. The vet might suggest that the puppy gets hospitalized to stabilize and treat him and also to check for related medical conditions.
Tips to prevent your dog from worm infections
Prevention is always better than cure. Always remember that some pests may even be transferred to humans too. Follow the below steps, and they will help you protect your puppy.
Always wash your hands after being in contact with your puppy and after picking up their poop and ensure that you clean up after your dog when they poop in the yard or when you are going out for a walk to protect other dogs too. You should also dispose of poop properly.
Also, you can use pest control treatments and medicines that you can apply on your dog’s fur to keep fleas away. You can also purchase flea collars or flea control medicines that you can orally administer to your puppy.
The best way to protect your dog is to keep your home environment clean and to control pests carrying worms such as mosquitoes and fleas. Thoroughly clean your home and spray insecticide on your house walls, furniture, and carpeted parts of your house as well as the yard.
If you suspect that you have a pest infestation in your yard, get a professional to get rid of them.
Worms and parasites will eventually make their way into your dog’s life in one way or another. You may suspect that your dog has worms, especially when you start seeing symptoms such as coughing.
Vomiting, loss of weight, and even diarrhea. Always ensure to book an appointment with your vet for testing to determine what type of worm it is. Your vet will advise if deworming is needed. This is the best way for your puppy to stay healthy and active.