Worm Watch: 8 Signs to look for in your dog

April 21, 2024

National Pet Month in April is all about responsible pet ownership and so this year, our vets in Teddington are highlighting the importance of keeping a close eye on your canine companion’s health in order to spot parasites.

In this article, Vet Darren Partridge is talking about worms and how to spot them in your dog, plus we’ve also got a bonus downloadable Guide on Fleas Spotting to share with you:

Download & share our bonus Flea Spotting Guide

Why are dog worms such a big problem?

One aspect of pet care that can require regular attention is monitoring for signs of intestinal worms in dogs. These parasites can cause discomfort and health issues for your pet if left untreated. Below, Darren explains the common signs that may indicate your dog has worms.

First, here are three worms in dogs to be particularly concerned about:

  • Roundworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites found in dogs. They can be transmitted to puppies from their mother before birth or through her milk. Adult dogs can also become infected by ingesting roundworm eggs from contaminated soil or faeces.
  • Tapeworms in dogs are another prevalent intestinal parasite. They are commonly transmitted through the ingestion of fleas or by hunting and eating small mammals or birds infected with tapeworm larvae.
  • Lungworm in dogs can be contracted by ingesting infected slugs or snails, as well as their larvae present in the environment. Puppies may also acquire lungworm larvae through their mother’s milk. Once ingested, the larvae develop into adult worms in the dog’s lungs, leading to potentially severe health issues.

How to tell if your dog has worms

Below, Darren shares 8 telltale signs that your dog could indeed have worms:

  1. Changes in appetite and weight – some dogs may experience an increased appetite as worms steal nutrients from their bodies, while others may lose interest in food altogether. Darren advises that if you notice your dog eating significantly more or less than usual, it’s worth investigating further – contact us.
  2. Visible worms or worm segments in your dog’s faeces, vomit, or around their bottom. These can appear as small, white, rice-like grains or as longer, spaghetti-like strands. If you spot any unusual objects in your dog’s stool or vomit, it’s essential to get your dog checked by one of our vets in Teddington for proper diagnosis and treatment.
  3. Changes in stool such as diarrhoea, constipation, or stools that appear abnormal in colour, consistency, or odour. Keep an eye on your dog’s bathroom habits, as any persistent changes could indicate an underlying health issue, including worms.
  4. Visible signs of discomfort such as scooting their bottom along the ground or excessive licking around the bottom area. This behaviour is often a result of irritation caused by worms or their eggs and should prompt a visit to one of the vets at our Teddington practice for further evaluation.
  5. Lethargy and weakness and a general lack of interest in activities due to worm infestations draining your dog’s energy levels. Notice if your dog seems unusually tired or sluggish.
  6. Potbellied appearance in severe cases due to a large presence of worms in their gastrointestinal tract. Darren advises that a swollen abdomen can be a sign of serious worm-related health issues and should be addressed promptly – contact us.
  7. Dull, dry coat and overall poor condition due to worms robbing your dog of vital nutrients. Notice if your dog’s coat suddenly loses its shine or becomes rough and unkempt.
  8. Persistent coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy and sometimes bleeding disorders in the case of lungworm.

If you notice any of these signs in your dog, get in touch with our team as soon as possible so we can arrange for proper diagnosis and treatment. With timely intervention, most worm infestations in dogs can be effectively treated, allowing your furry friend to get their health back on track.

Download our bonus flea spotting guide

While you’re focusing on keeping your dog healthy and free from worms, don’t forget about another common parasite: fleas. These tiny pests can cause itching, discomfort, and even transmit diseases to your dog. Download our bonus guide to spotting fleas here!

Remember, prevention is key when it comes to protecting your dog from parasites like worms and fleas. By staying vigilant and seeking veterinary care at the first sign of trouble, you can help ensure your canine companion enjoys a happy & healthy, parasite-free life.

Download our bonus flea spotting guide

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