Worms can invade a dog's body when they smell, drink, lick, and ingest dirt, raw meat, trash and even poop. If your dog plays around in the backyard or walks around where other dogs can defecate, you might not even notice how they pick up unseen worm eggs or larvae. Plus, dogs can also pass worms to other dogs, and even humans, simply through normal socialization.
Depending on the type of worm your dog injects, the effects will be different. But some symptoms include low energy, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, itching, change in appetite, and weight loss. None of these are fun!
So let’s talk a little bit more about different types of worms, how to know that your dog has them and natural treatments for deworming your dog."I love smelling and licking everything outside. But you know, that's how I can get worms, so keep me safe from them please!"
Types of Worms and Their Symptoms
There are 5 main types of worms that can contaminate a dog. They live in different organs, such as the intestines, heart, lungs and blood vessels. If you are not careful, your dog can pass some intestinal worms to you and your family. To avoid this, make sure to wash your hands meticulously if your dog is infected!
If you see any of the following symptoms, your dog might have worms:
- Weight loss
- Big appetite with no weight gain
- Anemia (low red blood cell count)
- Scooting their bum on the carpet or grass
- Mild to severe coughing
- Scratching at the base of their tail
That said, each type of worm will affect your dog differently. Let’s take a closer look on how to know which annoying parasite might be plaguing your favorite pet.
The most dangerous type - heartworms - are transmitted by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites a dog that has heartworms and then bites another dog, the mosquito plants the larvae into the new dog that it bit. Heartworms can grow to up to 14 inches in length and live in the dogs heart or arteries.
Symptoms: Coughing, decreased strength, sluggishness. Heartworms can cause high blood pressure, blockages in the heart and even heart failure.
Hookworms are the most common type of worm among dogs in the United States. One in five dogs is affected by these at any given time! These live mainly in the small intestine and suck on their host’s blood. They are transferred through the skin and can affect humans as well.
Symptoms: Diarrhea, weakness. If not treated properly, hookworms can cause anemia and are most dangerous for small puppies.
The roundworm gets its name from its spiral shape, kind of like spaghetti. These are transmitted when dogs eat dirt or feces that contain roundworm eggs. While many dogs won’t show any signs of this parasite, they can lead to severe infections.
Symptoms: Dull coat, dry skin, diarrhea, vomiting, and potbelly. Roundworms can cause liver damage and intestinal blockage.
Tapeworms live in the small intestine and are long and segmented - anywhere between 4 and 28 inches in length! Their entryway is through the soil, fleas and eating rodents. After the eggs are injected, the tapeworm will grown inside release their eggs along with the dog’s feces, potentially infecting other animals and even humans.
Symptoms: nervousness, loss of weight, vomiting, really bad itching around the dog’s rear end and abdominal pain.
This type of worms are transmitted through ingesting infected soil. Something as simple and natural as your dog licking his/her paw can result in your fur baby becoming infected. Whipworms live in the cecum, or the space where the small and large intestines meet.
Symptoms: watery and bloody diarrhea, general weakness and weight loss.
Natural Deworming Treatments
Once you know for sure that your dog has worms, you can take the appropriate steps to get rid of them. This process is called deworming. Normally, treatments include a lot of chemicals and may contain elements that are hazardous for your pet and can lead to negative side effects.Instead, try some natural options first.
1. Provide a diet consisting of raw foods that are species specific, and include 1 raw clove of garlic. You can either chop or mince the garlic into your dog’s food. Use 1 clove of garlic per 30lb of food. If your dog is on blood thinners, like Warfarin, do not give them garlic.
2. Mix 5 drops of Grape Seed Extract per every 10 pounds of raw dog food, for up to 10 drops per day.
3. Give your dog food grade Diatomaceous Earth. For small dogs, ½ tsp, dogs under 50 lbs 2 tsp, and 1 tablespoon for dogs that weigh more than 50 lbs.
4. Add one drop of Black Walnut Hulls per day, for a maximum of 2-3 weeks.
5. Add ¼ tsp of Ground Pumpkin Seeds (also known as Pepitas), oil or wheat germ oil for every 10 lbs of food.
6. Use Ground Cloves over a two week period. If your dog is small use ¼ clove, for medium dog’s use ½ clove, for a large dog use 1 clove per day.
7. Mix 1-3 drops of Goldenseal per day of Goldenseal in your dog’s food. Goldenseal comes as either a tea or as a tincture - both options are fine for your dog.A dog with no worms can go back to their normal family life!
Remember to make sure your children wash their hands before eating when they come in from outside. If you and your family are going to eat outside, make sure to provide a way for proper hygiene. Maintaining a worm-free environment is important for the health and happiness of your dog, but also for your family.