Protecting Your Puppy From Worms

When adopting a dog, you will have to protect your puppy from worms. Not only will this help the puppy, but it will also be beneficial to you and your family as well.

The most common parasites found in dogs are roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and heartworms.


Nearly all puppies, 98%, are born with roundworms from infection by their mother. Even if the puppies' mother tested negative for roundworms before she was pregnant, roundworms are still passed, due to the fact that roundworm larvae lay dormant in intestinal tissue from her own infection as a puppy. When she becomes pregnant, the hormones reactivate the worms, causing them to infect the pups within her belly. And even if a puppy was not born with these parasites, they can easily be picked up through contaminated soil. If your puppy vomits or defecates and there is long, pale strands that look like spaghetti, you're dog has roundworms. These worms can be transmitted to humans. That is why it's important to get your dog de-wormed according to your vet and to wash your hands after contact with the puppy before you eat.


Hookworms can be passed from mother to puppy only if the mother was infected with hookworm at the time of her pregnancy. This parasite can also be picked up off the ground by dogs and humans, as hookworms penetrate skin. This is another good reason why you should de-worm your dog. Unlike roundworms, they cannot be detected in the stool with the naked eye.


This intestinal parasite is one of the hardest to eradicate from your dog. Infection is obtained from the environment, where dogs with this worm have defecated. Diagnosis is not easy, due to the fact that whipworm eggs do not show up in the stool until 3 months after initial infection.


These worms can be passed on to your puppy via infected fleas or eating raw meat. They can be transmitted to people, as well. Tapeworm eggs look like wriggling flat rice grains and can be found in the stool or around your dog's rear if he's infected. Over-the-counter de-worming medication is often not strong enough at eliminating this parasite and a prescription de-wormer from your vet must be issued.


This is the most easily prevented, yet the most fatal of the parasites that could harm your puppy. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. This worm destroys the heart muscle and tissue, leading to congestive heart failure and death. Heartworms is difficult to diagnose since symptoms don't show up until the advanced stage of infection. That's why your dog should be kept on heartworm preventative.

Preventing Worms

  • Your puppy needs to be vaccinated with de-worming medication on his following birthdays: 2 weeks old, 4 weeks old, 6 weeks old, 8 weeks old, 12 weeks old, 4 moths, 5 months, and 6 months. After 6 months of age, you will just want to administer once a month heartworm medication and flea/tick repellent.
  • Every 6 months, have a vet check your dog's stool sample for signs of parasite infection.
  • Don't expose your puppy to infected, stray, or wild animals.
  • Avoid dog parks, as this is an unhygienic breeding ground for parasites.
  • Never allow your puppy to consume his or any other animal's feces. Also, try and have him avoid contact with his own and other dog's waste products. That's why it's a good idea to clean up after your puppy and housebreak him as soon as possible, or else he could re-infect himself.
  • Never let your dog eat animal carcasses.
  • Use saltwater solution when cleaning your dog's area. This will prevent worms.

Common Symptoms of Worm Infection

  • Vomiting/diarrhea
  • Coughing
  • Weight/appetite loss
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Dull coat
  • Lethargy and other unusual behavior