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How to Rid a Dog of Worms

June 17, 2021

Identifying the Type of Parasite Infecting Your Dog is the First Step in Ridding A Dog of Worms.

Given all the things a dog sniffs and eats during the course of a regular day, it is not surprising that some of those things make them sick. One of the things that  dogs frequently pick up from ingesting contaminated soil or feces is worms or worm eggs. These parasites typically come from other already infected animals.

Parasites are an unfortunately common part of a dog’s life, and they can make your dog very uncomfortable. As much as we hate seeing our fur babies in pain, if your dog has a parasite, it is usually not as serious as it seems. Whether it’s a natural remedy or a medication, there are many different types of treatment for worms. In this article, you’ll learn all you need to know about the most common types of parasites, their symptoms and treatment options (both medical and natural).

1. Roundworms in Dogs

Roundworms are parasites that live in your dog’s intestines and feed off of semi-digested food. They are usually white or light brown in color and can be up to a few inches long. Certain types of roundworms can even spread to humans. Human contamination can lead to heart, liver, lung and eye problems so be careful around a dog that has contracted ringworms. Wash your hands frequently and be mindful when cleaning up dog poop.

What Causes Roundworms

Puppies are at a higher risk of contracting roundworms. If a puppy's mother is infected during pregnancy, then they can pass roundworms to their puppy before they are even born. It can also be passed from mothers through their milk.

The risk is higher with puppies because if the mother previously had roundworms, the larvae in their body can be reactive during pregnancy. This makes it more difficult to manage because even treated roundworms can still become an issue in the future for pregnant dogs.

For adult dogs, the risk of contracting roundworms is not as high, but there still is a chance. Adult dogs normally contract roundworms by consuming eggs. Eggs are most commonly consumed in animal poop and rodents who are infected. 

Once ingested, the roundworm eggs will hatch. Once they hatch, they will travel through your dog's liver and up their windpipe. Your dog will then cough and swallow the hatched eggs. This will send them to your dog's intestines, where they will live, collect food and lay their own eggs.

Roundworm Symptoms in Dogs

Not every dog shows symptoms of roundworms, but most dogs do. Your vet will be able to find roundworms through a stool sample. They will check the stool sample for roundworm eggs, and when found, will confirm diagnosis. Here are some initial symptoms to look out for that indicate your dog may have roundworms:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • Weight loss
  • Dull coat


Alone, these symptoms could mean many different things, but if your dog is exhibiting several of these symptoms, call your vet.

In addition, if you see small eggs in your dog's stool or vomit. So, contact your vet and report any of these symptoms as soon as you notice them.

Roundworm Treatments

Medical Treatments:

There are many safe medical treatments that your vet can prescribe for your dog. Piperazine, Fenbendazole, Milbemycin and Pyrantel are some of the most common deworming medications prescribed by veterinarians. These are typically given by your vet, and most of them will require multiple visits to monitor treatment.

The first dose is meant to kill the adult roundworms. This will prevent them from creating more eggs. The further doses will begin the process of killing any new worms that weren't killed during the first dose. You should continue to monitor your dog closely even after treatment. Some vets will request that your dog have periodic stool checks to ensure there are no further infestations.

Natural Remedies:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar   -   Apple cider vinegar is effective for treating roundworms because it increases alkaline levels in your dog's intestines. Raising alkaline levels will essentially make sure that roundworms can no longer live in the intestines and cause problems.
  • Carrots  -  Chopping carrots with rough edges can help clear out roundworms because they will scrape the sides of the stomach and gut as they are ingested. This will cause the eggs and worms to be removed.
  • Pumpkin Seeds  -  Pumpkin seeds are effective at deworming because they contain something called cucurbitacin which is an amino acid that can paralyze worms which make them easy to remove. They can be given as a whole treat or ground to make consumption easier. Pumpkin seeds can kill many types of worms in dogs.

2. Tapeworms in Dogs

Tapeworms are flat, white worms that attach to the lining of your dog's gut where they feed and grow. Although they may start off small, tapeworms can grow to be up to 8 inches long.

Humans can also get a tapeworm infection from their dog, however this is rare. The only way for humans to contract a tapeworm from their dog is to accidentally ingest an infected flea. Otherwise, tapeworm can't be transmitted from your dog to you - so no need to worry.

What Causes Tapeworms

Tapeworms come from fleas which are infected. Fleas can carry tapeworm larvae.

If your dog accidentally ingests an infected flea, then a tapeworm can grow inside of your dog by attaching itself to the walls of their gut. This is where they will remain as they grow and feed on nutrients that your dog needs.

Because this is the only cause of tapeworms, there is no risk of a tapeworm passing to another dog.

Tapeworm Symptoms in Dogs

Tapeworms can be difficult to detect right away, but here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • Scooting anus across the floor
  • Constantly licking anus
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss

Parts of tapeworms will fall off, and these parts are what you see in your dog's poop and around the anus. This is how your vet will diagnose your dog with a tapeworm. Though it may take more than one trip to the vet, and multiple stool samples, to accomplish this because the parasites may not be found in every poop.  

Medical Treatments and Home Remedies for Tapeworm

Medical Treatments:

The most common medication used to treat tapeworm is Praziquantel. It is available as a shot or in pill form. This medication kills and dissolves the tapeworm. So, you will not actually see the tapeworm when it leaves your dog's system.

Home Remedies and Natural Treatments:

The are some natural treatments that can be used to help deal with tapeworms. Here are a few you can try:

  • Cloves  -  Cloves are anti-parasitic in nature and can kill tapeworms if consumed. However, do not give cloves to pregnant dogs, because they can cause contractions.
  • Papaya  -  Papaya is naturally anti-amoebic and will kill tapeworms. You can feed the fruit to your dog, but careful to omit the seeds.  There are also papaya pills available as a natural remedy.

3. Heartworms

Heartworms are generally regarded as the most concerning dog worm or parasite, but it is also the most preventable. Heartworms live in the heart, lungs and blood vessels of dogs, where they grow and eventually reproduce. Adult heartworms can reach from 6-12 inches in length depending on age and gender.

The only good news about Heartworms is that they are not contagious to other dogs or humans.

Causes of Heartworm

Heartworms are only passed through mosquitoes and can lodge themselves into the dog's heart, lungs and bloodstream. If you notice that your dog has been bitten by a mosquito, then there is a chance that they may have contracted heartworms.

Once the larvae is introduced to the dog from a mosquito bite, it will take about 7-9 months for them to fully grow into adult parasites. If not removed, when the heartworms reach adulthood they will begin mating and reproducing - making more heartworms in your dog's gut. 

Heartworm Symptoms in Dogs

There are few symptoms of heartworm which make it difficult to catch before it gets severe. Mild symptoms include coughing and fatigue after moderate activity.

Eventually at more severe stages, dogs can have a persistent cough, fatigue after little to no activity, trouble breathing and signs of possible heart failure.

Common Heartworm Treatments

There are a few options for heartworm treatment that are popular with veterinarians, but it will not be easy on your dog nor will it be cheap.

Medical Treatments:

One treatment that many vets choose is an injection which is put deeply into the dog's back muscles. This FDA approved medicine contains some arsenic which will kill heartworms in the dog's system. According to the VCA Animal Hospital, this treatment has been successful in 95% of cases.

There is another option that vets use which is a topical solution applied to the dog's skin. This medicine will get rid of the parasites in the dog's bloodstream.

Many vets agree that the best heartworm treatment for dogs is prevention. If you live in an area with mosquitos, then you should absolutely start preventative treatment for heartworms as they are easier to prevent than to cure.

Natural Heartworm Dog Treatments:

Unfortunately, once heartworms are contracted and settle in they can quickly spread and cause other complications making it difficult to determine that the original cause of the problem is heartworm. Most other parasites are not serious enough to need a timely medical treatment, but heartworms are that serious.

The good news is that there are some natural remedies for preventing all kinds of worms including heartworm. One such natural remedy is the BestLife4Pets Dewormer for dogs which is unique in that it works on various types of worms including heartworm, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

bestlife4pets dog dewormer
Bestlife4pets dog dewormer

Other natural treatments include garlic and wormwood for treating and preventing heartworms.  However, if you suspect that your dog does have heartworms it is best to get them tested by a vet first to make sure.

4. Ringworms

A ringworm is different from the above parasites because it is not actually a worm - it is a fungal infection that causes bald patches in the shape of rings.

Because it is fungal, ringworm must be treated in very specific ways and there is a chance that it may come back, so thorough treatment is vital for it to completely go away.

Ringworm can easily be transferred to other pets and humans. Taking extra care around the dog plus keeping your dog quarantined during treatment can help prevent other pets in the house from getting infected. 

Causes of Ringworm

Ringworm is spread through direct contact with the virus. It's commonly spread through other animals or humans that contract ringworm and touch objects, leaving traces of the virus behind. Most commonly, it is spread through shared furniture, food and water bowls, bedding, brushes and even carpet. So, if you have multiple pets in your home, children or even just yourself, then you need to thoroughly clean after your dog if they have ringworm.

Ringworm Symptoms in Dogs

Though it is not deadly, you should definitely try to catch symptoms of ringworm as soon as possible to prevent the spread and infection of other pets or humans. Here are some symptoms to look out for in order to identify if your dog has ringworm:

  • Hair loss in ring-shaped spots
  • Brittle hair
  • Inflamed skin
  • Brittle claws

Ringworm Treatments

Most vets will recommend a treatment plan for your dog which will include topical therapy, oral medications and environmental changes. Topical therapy normally includes prescription shampoos that are meant to treat the infection skin level and give your dog some relief.

Next, vets will prescribe certain medications to kill ringworms, and though this is effective, it will take time.

In the meantime, try and keep your dog away from other pets and humans. This separation is hard for any dog lover out there, but it is vital to control the spread of ringworms.

Natural Remedies:

Some natural or home remedies you can try to help relieve the symptoms of ringworm include:

  • Apple cider vinegar  -  Apple cider vinegar can help relieve itching and soreness of the affected areas.

    Try washing your dog in a 1 part water, 1 part apple cider vinegar mixture to help them calm down.
  • Tea tree oil  -  Tea tree oil is similar to apple cider vinegar in what it will do for your dog. It is not a ringworm treatment for dogs, but it can help soothe their skin during the healing process. 

Preventing Worms in Dogs

Intestinal worms, regardless of the variety, can make your fur baby feel sick so preventing them, if possible is ideal. One way to do this is to monitor your fur baby and keep them away from other dogs that already have worms, keep them from wet and humid areas that are a breeding ground for fleas, mosquitos, and worms. If you suspect that your pet may be in an area of high exposure, you can also try the BestLife4Pets Dog Dewormer which can act as a natural preventative to keep worms away by making your pup an unattractive host for these worms.

If your dog does pickup worms it is important to treat them and get rid or the worms as quickly as possible; not only for your dog but also for other pets and humans in the household.

The good news is that there are many natural and prescription options out there so as soon as you identify what kind of worms have infected your pooch, getting rid of them and getting your pup back to good health is possible.

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