When I got my first puppy, one of the first things my breeder and vet recommended to me was getting worm treatment for my dog.
But why and how do dogs get worms?
Especially newborn puppies have a high risk of getting infected with worms from the milk of their mother.
Sometimes they can already get infected in the womb.
Roundworm larvae encapsulate themselves in the musculature of the dam and then travel to the uterus to infect the fetus.
Besides that, dogs can get worms by eating contaminated stool which is a risk because my pup definitely used her mouth to feel every texture on planet earth (learn how to stop your dog from eating poop, stones, or other undesired things).
Fleas can be an intermediate host for tapeworms.
If your dog has fleas and happens to eat one, that may cause an infection.
What are the S
ymptoms of Worm Infection?
Different types of worms can cause different types of symptoms.
Sometimes your dog won’t have any symptoms at all.
Whipworms are very difficult to treat and cannot be detected with the naked eye.
They live in the large intestines and feed on your dog’s blood. Signs may include bloody diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss.
Like most worms, whipworms are passed on through contaminated stool.
Luckily for us, they are rarely passed on from dogs to humans as we have our own species of these worms.
Hookworms get their name from a hook that is able to attach the body to the inner lining of the intestines.
They consume blood and can be especially dangerous for puppies.
Puppies can get infected by their mother or by eating other animals.
Symptoms are bloody stool, weakness, and anemia. If not treated right it will cause death to the puppy.
Dogs can get lungworms by eating infected snails.
The lungworms then grow inside the body and move through the heart and blood vessels.
This will lead to breathing problems, abnormal blood clotting, and coughing.
Fortunately, lungworms can not be passed from dog to dog or dog to human however the waste they will leave behind is infected and can be consumed by snails which would complete the cycle.
Heartworms can be only detected through blood test.
They live in the heart and arteries of your dog and can give your dog a hard time breathing.
It’s a very serious disease that can lead to heart failure, organ damage and even death.
Only the bite of an infected mosquito can pass the parasite.
Roundworms are visible to the naked eye and have a spaghetti-like appearance.
They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, dull coat, weight loss,
Puppies may get infected by roundworms through their mother or by eating contaminated stool.
Because they are so common in puppies, the pups may be dewormed around the age of 2-3 weeks old to prevent any infestations.
How Do You Get Rid Of Worms in a Dog Without Going to the Vet?
How do you kill parasites naturally?
My puppy was dewormed at two weeks old and I was told to continue deworming every two weeks after she received her last drop of milk.
After that, your dog should be dewormed every three months.
Worm treatment can be harsh and some puppies may experience dizziness and diarrhea.
You have to keep in mind that worm treatment only has an effect for 24 hours, killing all existing worms.
Even one day after treatment, your dog could be infected again.
Everybody has their own opinion on this but I do not want to pump de-worming products into my puppy on suspicion.
That’s why I always get her stool examined before deworming to see if she has any worms at all.
In addition to worm treatment and to potentially prevent a worm infection I can recommend feeding your dog coconut oil.
It is very effective against parasites, worms, fleas, ticks, and also benefits their coat and skin and many other things.
So there is no harm in adding it if your dog doesn’t have a negative reaction to coconut oil.
You can feed it to your dog as dry coconut rasps or oil.
Either daily or every other day will do the trick.
Can I Test My Dog For Worms At Home?
It is possible to test your dog for worms at home with kits like the FECAL Worm Test but they can be highly inaccurate and results may take longer than the indicated 24 hours.
If you want to be really sure about the diagnosis, monitor your dog’s symptoms and take him to the vet.
Fecal exams cost about $30 and all you need is a fresh stool sample.
Sometimes they also suggest making a heartworm test which costs about $45.
This test will provide you with the safest results and your veterinarian will be able to recommend treatment based on the diagnosis.
Then it is your choice if you would like to go with medical treatment or natural remedies.
How to Treat Worms in Dogs
Each type of worm may have a different type of treatment.
The first step to determining how to treat worms in dogs is to identify the species of worm that your dog has!
The most accurate way to diagnose intestinal worms is to take a fecal sample to the vet.
This is important even if you don’t see the worms themselves in the stool, since many worms never leave the intestines themselves.
Instead, the worms lay eggs that are expelled in the feces.
These eggs are often only able to be seen under the microscope, which is why a trained professional at your vet clinic is the fastest and easiest way to determine if your dog has worms.
Once the worms have been identified, your vet will likely recommend a medication to kill the worms.
In cases of severe infestations, this may be the best route for treating your dog.
Otherwise, there are some natural remedies that you can try as well.
We will discuss those later on in this article.
Can Humans Get Worms From Dogs?
Yes, you can often get many of the same parasitic worms as your dog.
This is yet another reason why it’s extremely important to keep your dog free from any parasites.
One of the worms that is most commonly transmitted from dogs to humans is roundworms.
This species is very common in dogs and is spread by ingesting the eggs, which are expelled with feces.
While you aren’t directly eating your dog’s feces, it’s easy for these worm eggs to be transmitted from fecal matter to a place in the environment where you can accidentally ingest them.
This is alarmingly easy to do, considering a single roundworm can produce over a quarter million eggs per day.
Roundworms often migrate to places they shouldn’t in the human body and can cause blindness or respiratory failure in people.
This species is definitely one to avoid.
Tapeworms and hookworms are two other species that affect our dogs and can also affect us as humans.
Tapeworms are spread through ingesting an infected flea, and hookworms will burrow into the skin of your feet if you walk barefoot across contaminated soil.
Keeping your dog free of worms is the best way to not only keep your dog safe but to keep yourself healthy as well.
Natural Worm Home Remedies
While a large infestation of worms will often need to be treated by medication from the vet, you can also consider these natural home remedies to try and prevent or treat cases of worms in your dog.
Visiting your veterinarian is still an important first step to make sure you know which species of worms you are trying to treat!
Does Coconut Oil Kill Worms in Dogs?
Some owners have reported that coconut oil has cured their dog’s cases of worms. In addition to coconut oil, you can also try husks of coconut as well.
It’s not likely that the coconut oil actually kills the worms themselves, but rather that it helps expel the worms from your dog’s body.
Make sure to introduce coconut oil gradually, eventually giving 1tsp of coconut oil daily for every 10 pounds of body weight.
Does Vinegar Kill Worms In Dogs?
Not just any vinegar will work to get rid of worms in your dog! Make sure you use apple cider vinegar (ACV) to be effective.
Adding up to 1tsp of ACV to your dog’s food or water every day can help make your dog’s intestines less attractive to parasites.
In addition, ACV may also help prevent tear stains and make your dog’s coat shinier.
Does Garlic Kill Worms In Dogs?
Garlic is dangerous to dogs in large doses, but in small doses, it may be beneficial to killing worms in your dog.
The recommended dose is 1tsp of chopped raw garlic for every 30 pounds.
This small to moderate amount is usually not enough that it hurts your dog, but can help prevent worms.
However, be cautious of giving it daily long term in order to avoid building up too much garlic in your dog’s system.
How to Deworm a Dog With Tobacco
Tobacco is another substance that can be dangerous to your dog in a large amount but kills just the worms in a smaller dose.
The nicotine sulfate in chewing tobacco will kill the worms.
You should only give your dog a very small amount of chewing tobacco.
Since tobacco is not the most appealing thing to ingest, you will probably need to mix it with some smelly food to get your dog to eat it.
Some owners have reported success with putting the chewing tobacco inside a meatball.
Turmeric for Dog Worms
Finally, another substance that can be given to treat dog worms naturally is turmeric.
Not only will turmeric help get rid of worms in your dog, but it also has other great properties to help your dog heal.
Even without worm infestations, turmeric can help reduce inflammation and create a stronger gastrointestinal system.
This makes it an ideal substance to use to treat worms in your dog, since it will heal as well as treat.
Worm Prevention for Dogs
Since dogs don’t wear shoes and love to sniff and explore their environment, they are often at risk of easily picking up worms.
Avoiding places where you know dogs with worms have defecated is an important step.
However, many worms are also spread to our dogs by wild animals, which makes it much more difficult to avoid worms based on the environment alone.
Some preventatives can be given on a frequent basis to prevent any larvae from maturing.
Many heartworm medications (which are a species of worms difficult to treat, so preventatives are best) can also contain preventatives for a variety of gastrointestinal species of worms, too.
In addition, you can give many natural remedies, such as coconut oil, on a daily basis to help prevent worms.
Plus, your dog’s coat will be shinier and softer with the addition of coconut oil to their diet.
Frequent fecal tests done by taking a fecal sample to the veterinarian are the best way to catch early cases of internal parasites.
Catching the infestation before it gets out of hand is your best chance of treating it naturally.