Intestinal Worms in Dogs

The four common types of intestinal worms in dogs are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. These are parasites found in the pet’s digestive system. They rob the dog of nutrients, thus causing damage. Dogs get infested with parasite infections by ingesting contaminated meat, feces, infected rodents and grass. Worms are also transmitted in the mother’s womb, through mother’s milk and through flea bites.


These are long, white, and spaghetti shaped. They’re mostly found in puppies, though adult dogs can also contract roundworms. They thrive on essential nutrients present in the body, irritate the digestive tract and even block the intestinal tract if they’re present in many numbers.


These parasites are very small and become attached to the intestine wall. They feed on blood after they chew their way into the intestine. Often, dogs suffering from diarrhea associated with hookworm infection exhibit symptoms of black and tarry feces due to the digested blood present.


These intestinal worms are long and slender and have a small club like end, hence the name. They lie coiled in the lining and walls of the large intestine. Pets suffering from whipworms may exhibit symptoms of bloody diarrhea.


These are very long and segmented in appearance. There are two types of tapeworms. One is the Diplidium specie which is transmitted when a dog eats infected fleas. The other is Taenia specie which is transmitted when a dog eats an infected mammal such as a rabbit. Oral deworming medication or injection is administered as treatment.

Symptoms of Worm Infestation:

  • Anemia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloated stomach
  • Blood or mucus in stools
  • Pale gums
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Dull coat

Products that Treat Canine Intestinal Worm Infestation:

  • Pyrantel Pamoate prevents and treats roundworms and hookworms. This medication is found in products such as Heartgard Plus, Iverhart Plus, Drontal, Strongid, and Vibrantel among others.
  • Milbemycin Oxime prevents and treats roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms and is commercially available in drugs such as Interceptor and Sentinel.
  • Febendazole prevents and treats roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and certain tapeworm infections. Safeguard and Panacur-C contain the active ingredient febendazole.
  • Praziquantel treats 3 types of tapeworms and is found in Droncit, Drontal Plus, Iverhart Max and D-Worm.
  • Espirantel treats 2 types of tapeworms and is present in Cestex.

Dosage and Administration

Pet owners should follow vet instructions for individual cases of worm infections. Oral de-worming medication is generally repeated after 3 weeks and if necessary, used as a long term preventive solution. Since intestinal worms are ejected in pet feces, egg-containing feces should be disposed daily.

Prevention of Worms

Some dogs don’t show clinical signs of worm infestation. Hence, it’s essential to have an examination of the stool sample every 6 to 12 months. Active worm infections should be treated according to vet instructions to avoid complications. Since over the counter de-worming medications aren’t equally effective, the vet will prescribe a de-wormer specific to the type of parasite detected in microscopic analysis of the stool sample. It’s also best to de-worm female pets before breeding. In addition, pet owners should prevent dogs from eating rodents such as rats and rabbits and control flea infections in the home.

Intestinal worms can cause much damage and even death in extreme cases. Prevention, early detection and appropriate treatment are essential to safeguard your pet from these parasites.