Worms in dogs are a common health issue that can affect dogs of all ages and breeds, they do discriminate and personally give most owners the heebie-jeebies.
Unfortunately, several types of worms can infest dogs so we have carefully listed them all below and the symptoms to look out for as well as ways to avoid them.
Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasites in dogs, especially puppies. They can be transmitted through the ingestion of roundworm eggs or larvae from contaminated soil, faeces, or infected animals. If your fluffy friend has a Roundworm infestation some of the symptoms may be a pot-bellied appearance, diarrhoea, vomiting, weight loss, and also a dull coat.
Hookworm is another type of nasty parasite that primarily infects a dog by penetrating the skin or through the ingestion of larvae from contaminated environments. They can cause anemia, dark or bloody stools, diarrhea, weakness, and weight loss. Hookworm larvae can also be transmitted to puppies through their mother’s milk.
Whipworm infects dogs by ingestion of their eggs which can be present in soil or faeces. Symptoms can include bloody diarrhoea, weight loss, anaemia, and dehydration. Whipworms are unfortunately much more common in older dogs.
Tapeworm is a horrid one. Your dog can become infected by ingesting infected fleas or by eating infected animals, such as rodents or rabbits, this is why it’s especially important to freeze your meat for the recommended time frame before feeding them to your pet to kill any potential parasites. Symptoms may not always be evident, but some dogs may experience weight loss, abdominal discomfort, and irritation around their bottom. Tapeworm segments may also be visible in the dog’s faeces, or around their bottom area.
Heartworms are also worth a mention even though it’s not common here in the UK. They are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and primarily affect the heart and lungs, which will lead to serious health issues and potentially death if left untreated. Symptoms to name but a few include coughing, difficulty breathing, fatigue, weight loss, and a decreased appetite.
Giardia is a microscopic single-celled organism that infects the gastrointestinal tract of its host (human or dog). It is commonly found in contaminated water, food, or surfaces that have been contaminated with faecal matter. Symptoms of a giardia infection can include diarrhoea stomach cramps, nausea, and dehydration and a particularly unique and unpleasant smell to their faeces. Although it is possible to treat Giardia naturally, it is a long process that will take many months of treating and testing so it’s best to always consult a pro raw or holistic vet in this case for options and further advice.
Lungworm is a parasitic worm that infects the lungs and respiratory system of animals including dogs and cats. There are several types of Lungworm but the most common type in dogs is Angiostrongylus vasorum. It can cause respiratory symptoms, weight loss, along with other serious health issues which can not only be hard to treat but also fatal in some cases. It is worth noting that it’s more prevalent in certain areas of the country that has a higher population of snails and slugs but that doesn’t mean to say it won’t be found in your area even if you are low-risk.
It is important to regularly deworm dogs to prevent worm infestations but it’s also important to know that you don’t have to use harmful chemicals to do so. Unfortunately chemical dewormers have been linked with with many ill side effects from upset tummies, neurological symptoms including seizures and tremors, bloating and weakness to name but a few and unfortunately your poor dog can still end up with worms even with a chemical wormer.
One of the ways we like to worm our dogs in particular is by using natural, non harmful dewormers such as Herbal Dog Co All Natural Dog Wormwood Protect which not only supports the health of your dogs intestinal tract but is also incredibly gentle on their digestive system.
Another fantastic natural product that is said to naturally deworm your pets is crushed or blitzed Pumpkin Seeds. They contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin which paralyses the worm and allows them to be expelled from the intestinal tract and gut. They are also a fantastic source of protein with iron, copper, magnesium, and calcium and that’s just to get started!
Regular worm counts are important and we advise one is done every three to four months or to follow the manufacture’s guidelines, to ensure there are no parasites present in your pet’s gastrointestinal system. The worm count test usually involves examining a faecal sample sent off by yourself under a microscope to identify and count the worm eggs or larvae present. We use a a company called Worm Count For Dogs and these are available in our online shop.
We can’t leave this blog without mentioning the importance of maintaining good hygiene practices, such as proper disposal of faeces, regular cleaning of living areas with non-toxic products, a healthy diet as well as not allowing your dogs to drink from muddy puddles and shared dog bowls found outside shops, these things alone can help minimise dreaded worm infestations. If you would like to know more about natural products to prevent your dog from catching worms or if they already have a worm infestation then please give us a call or send us an email.