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Why Are There Worms in My Dog's Stool?

Learn about worms in a dog’s poop.

Few things can cause a dog-owner to shudder as much as seeing worms in their dog's poop. It can be shocking, scary, and downright cringe-worthy.

Take a look at the causes of this condition, so if it happens to your dog, you'll be armed with knowledge and know what to do.

Worms Can Crawl into Your Dog's Poop

If you catch a glimpse of worms in your dog's stool, the first thing to do is determine whether they came out of your dog or crawled into the pile afterward. This is easy to determine by putting your dog on a leash and going for walks together until you get the opportunity to see.

Of course, even if your dog is shedding worms into the stool, they may not be present in every movement, so be sure to watch closely for a few days before you determine they aren't there. Alternatively, you can take a sample, with a worm, to your veterinarian for identification.

Which Worms Can You See in the Stool?

Dogs can carry several different types of intestinal parasites, including some worms and other types of organisms like protozoa. Many of these organisms are too small to see with the naked eye, even the adult form.

However, there are a few that are big enough to see. The two biggest and most often seen are tapeworms and roundworms. Hookworms and whipworms may also be seen but they are tiny, so it isn't common to see them.

Roundworms are long and round, resembling spaghetti. Tapeworms come out of the intestine in segments, and they look like grains of rice. They are often seen stuck around the anus or on the tail.

Both roundworms and tapeworms can be alive and moving when they are seen in the stool.

These parasites can also be seen in the stool after a deworming, when the medication is killing the parasites and they're being voided from the body.

What Can I Do About Worms in My Dog's Stool?

If you see worms in your dog's poop, collect some, along with some stool, and take it to your veterinarian. Remember that, even if it's obvious by looking that your dog has roundworms or tapeworms, a fecal flotation test should still be done to ensure there are not also other types of non-visible parasites present that need different treatment.

Clean up the stool thoroughly, using gloves, and wash your hands carefully afterward. Remember that many canine intestinal parasites spread through fecal-oral transmission to other dogs easily. Sometimes, humans can also contract these parasites, so taking care to clean up stool immediately is important.

Puppies Should Be Routinely Dewormed

When you get a new dog, they need an exam, a fecal floatation test, and to be updated on routine vaccines. Puppies also need a series of routine dewormers. That's because some parasites, like roundworms, are so common. However, it's important to remember that general dewormers don't clear all intestinal parasite infections, so a fecal test should still be checked.

Have Your Dog's Stool Checked Routinely

It's good to get into a habit of having your dog's stool sample checked at the veterinary clinic routinely. Ask your veterinarian for a recommendation on how often, but generally, at least twice a year is a good idea and more often if your dog has a history of being infected by parasites.

Use Year-Round Heartworm Preventative

Monthly heartworm preventative medications include deworming medication, so keeping your dog on them year-round can help control some intestinal parasites while also being crucial for preventing heartworm infection.

However, these preventatives don't cover all parasites, so routine fecal checks are still necessary.

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