How to tell if your dog needs to be wormed

Written by sarah s. terry
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How to tell if your dog needs to be wormed
Knowing when to worm a dog could save your pet's life. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

When your dog gets worms, the parasite can wreak havoc on your pet's entire body. If left untreated, the animal could even die. Worms are extremely unsanitary, and some varieties can spread to human bodies. Understanding the symptoms of worms in your dog will help you know when it is time to see a veterinarian. If you catch a case of worms early, you can save your dog from unnecessary pain and suffering.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Watch for changes in your dog's regular behaviour. Determine if your dog appears restless or agitated, loses interest in food or treats, or seems listless and tired all of the time. Keep a close eye on your pet for the next day or two if you notice these symptoms and call a veterinarian to have the dog checked for worms if the symptoms worsen. Contact your vet immediately if the symptoms are present and you notice your dog dragging his or her backside on the floor.

  2. 2

    Monitor your dog's stool if you are suspicious that you may be dealing with a case of worms. Call your vet if you notice changes in your dog's behaviour coupled with vomiting and/or stool changes such as diarrhoea. Observe the stool to see if there are worms present, or if it is unusually runny. Stay away from the stool, however, because some varieties of parasitic worms can transfer to humans.

  3. 3

    Watch for physical changes in your dog such as a distended abdomen or marked weight loss. Report these changes to your vet so he or she can rule out a case of tapeworms or flatworms, both of which have no other symptoms in dogs. Have your vet check for a case of heartworms as well if the other two types of worm are ruled out as the culprit.

Tips and warnings

  • If you notice any physical changes in your dog, and your veterinarian confirms that it is a case of worms, have your pet treated immediately. In addition, clean and sanitise your entire house while you treat your pet to prevent the spread of worms to you and your family. This will also decrease your pet's chances of getting reinfected.
  • Routinely check your pet for worms and worm them on a schedule.
  • Wash hands before and after handling pets.
  • Keep the pet's toilet area clean on a daily basis.
  • Do not allow the pet to consume feces. Pick it up immediately.
  • Keep the pet bathed or brushed routinely.
  • Keep fresh food and water down at all times.
  • Keep the food and water containers washed on a daily basis.

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