The sheer mention of dog worms to first time owners can be frightening. Worms in dogs and puppies is a situation all owners will come across eventually, and it can be quite daunting if you’re unsure of the process.


Firstly, the types of worms in dogs is all important, and establishing what you are up against is the correct starting point.

Dogs Barn have brought you this extensive guide to worming dogs to get you started on the right track and get your puppy worm free.

Lets take a look:

The First Step in Tackling Dog Worms is Establishing The Type.

Dogs are susceptible to various internal parasites known collectively as worms in fact worms are one of the most common health issues in dogs, but exactly what are these little freeloaders and what problems do different dog worms cause for our beloved pets?

  • My dog has worms what do I do?
  • My dog has worms in his poop?
  • What causes dogs to get worms?
  • What symptoms should I look for?
  • How often should I worm my dog?

These are just some of the questions dog parents need the answers too. Our pups depend on us to look after their health so it is vitally important we understand how and when to help them.

There Are 5 Main Types Of Worms, 4 Of These Affect The Intestinal Tract

Tapeworm (Cestodiasis)

Tapeworms are a common problem in dogs they are flat white worms made up of tiny segments. They can grow from 4 to 28 inches in length although it is very rare to see the adult. Each segment has its own reproductive organs either male or female and new segments are constantly being reproduced in the neck area of the worm.

As it grows the ones at the end fall off and can be seen in the dog's stools like grains of rice. They may also be noticed around the tail and anus as small yellow specks which can cause your dog to scrape its butt along the ground or cause excessive licking of the area.

Once inside the animal, the tapeworm burrows into the small intestine where it feeds on nutrients and blood. Over a period of time, the adult produces small egg packets which are passed through the body when the dog poops.

You may notice them in your dog's stools. The only time you would notice an adult worm is if it makes its way into the dog's stomach where it may cause the dog to vomit.

There are several kinds of tapeworm the most common being Dipylidium Caninum this tapeworm uses fleas as the intermediate host whereas Taenia and Echinococcus which are less common are contracted by contact with either rodents such as rats, squirrels, mice and birds or larger livestock like Deer, Sheep, and Horses.

The most common form of transmission, however, is via flea infestation.​

​All dogs will likely have a worm problem at some point in their life but are there any breeds that are more prone to contracting worms? The simple answer is yes. However, it is the work they do or their environment that makes them more likely to pick up the larvae rather than breed-type.

Working or Hunting dogs are more likely to pick up worms as they come into contact with other animals and birds more frequently and may eat rodents or raw meat which can be infested with the parasites.

How do I know if my dog has tapeworms?

​Many dogs do not show any outward signs of having tapeworms which can go unnoticed for a long period of time without causing any serious problems, therefore, it can be a shock for the owner to see the wriggling egg packets in their dog's faeces, however, if you notice any of these it can be a sign your dog is suffering from tapeworms.



Side Effects


Although tapeworms are not usually a serious issue for adult dogs they have the potential to cause significant health issues in puppies such as anemia and slow growth.

All bitches should be treated for both fleas and dog worms to ensure good health during pregnancy. If you suspect your pregnant or nursing dam has tapeworms check with your vet for information regarding what medications are safe for both her and the puppies.


The most common type of worm found in dogs with most being infected at some point in their lives There are 2 main species Toxocara Canis and Toxoscaris Leonine the former causing the most serious problems and also capable of being transmitted to humans.

These dog worms can grow quite long up to 7 inches in length they are pale-coloured and have the appearance of spaghetti. They reside in the small intestine of the host both types are similar in that they can produce millions of eggs which are passed in faeces.

They do however have different life cycles which are important when we look at dog de-worming treatments for these parasites.

Toxoscaris Leonine has the simplest life cycle of the 2 after the infective eggs have been ingested by the dog they hatch, with the small intestine providing the environment for the larvae to mature. The adult then lays huge amounts of eggs which are passed back into the environment in the dogs' stools where they become infective at around 3-6 days.

Toxocara Canis has a much more complicated cycle and has developed a way of ensuring they are transferred from generation to generation which is the reason most puppies are born with worms. 

​As with Toxascaris Leonine the eggs are usually ingested via the faeces of infected animals which can include birds and rodents.

The larvae enter the small intestine they then migrate to the circulatory system where they can enter other organs and tissues within the body or the respiratory tract. They lay dormant in the body for months or years which is why a seemingly worm free adult can still pass roundworms to their offspring.

​The dormant larvae can also infect the nursing mother's mammary tissues and be transmitted to the newborn through her milk where once again they are swallowed and take up residence in the puppy's small intestine.

If the pup passes the larvae in their motions these dog worms can then re-infect the mother as she cleans her babies. A month later the larvae have matured to adult roundworms and the cycle begins again.



Side Effects


Hookworms (Ancylostoma Uncinaria)

Although not as common in the UK as abroad Hookworms can cause serious health issues in your dog and with more dogs coming into the country from abroad than ever before and more of us taking our pets on holiday to the continent cases are on the increase.

Hookworms thrive in moist warm environments; they get their name from the teeth like suckers they use to attach themselves to the intestinal wall where they feed on the blood of the animal.

A large infestation of these parasites left untreated can be fatal especially for puppies. Dogs can become infected either by ingesting infective eggs in the same way as roundworms through the environment or the tiny larvae can burrow into the skin.

These dog worms also have the ability to lie dormant and once again can be passed to newborn puppies via their seemingly worm-free mother.

Although these are some of the smallest worms unable to be seen by the naked eye, you will not notice worms in your dog's stool, they can do a lot of damage.

They inject an anti-coagulant into the intestine wall which causes internal bleeding and can lead to stomach pain and anemia which can be fatal.



Side Effects


Whipworms (Trichuris Vulpis)

Whipworms are another common intestinal parasite that can affect dogs and are one of the most pathogenic.

The eggs can live in the environment for years and can be contracted either by the ingestion through food, water or soil and also from infected faeces or other contaminated animals.

They make their home in the Cecum which is the place where the large intestine meets the small.

Whipworms can affect dogs of any age and while small infestations can remain un-noticed left untreated it can result in inflammation of the bowel, bloody diarrhea and anemia in extreme cases resulting in death.



Side Effects

​Oral Treatments for Deworming Dogs



Effective Against





From 7 weeks


D-Worm, Droncit


From 4 weeks

ivermectin / pyrantel pamoate / praziquantel

Heartguard Plus

Roundworms, Hookworms

From 6 weeks


Panacur Paste

Roundworms. Hookworms. Whipworms

From 6 weeks

febantel / praziquantel / pyrantel pamoate

Drontal Plus


From 3 weeks/2lbs

milbemycin oxime / lufenuron

imidacloprid / moxidectin

Advantage Multi

Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms

From 7 weeks/3lbs

pyrantel / praziquantel



From 8 weeks/3lb


Compounded Products Only

Heartworm, Roundworm

From 8 weeks

milbemycin oxime


Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms

From 4 weeks/2lbs

piperazine salts

Hartz Advanced Care Liquid


6 weeks

pyrantel pamoate

Hartz Ultraguard

Hookworms, Roundworms

From 2-3 weeks/3lb

Lungworm (Also known as French Heartworm)

Although not as common as the intestinal parasites cases of Lungworm are increasing throughout the UK once only found in the south of England and Wales it is now becoming prevalent further north and even in Scotland.

There are two strains of lungworm that affect dogs in the UK.

​Angiostrongylus vasosum

The parasites are contracted when a dog eats a snail or slug which has picked up the larvae from infected dog poop, either intentionally or unintentionally, any contact with the slime trail either from bowls or toys kept outside can also cause infection. 3 days later the larvae migrate from the abdomen to the blood vessels supplying the dog's lungs. The mature adults reside in the blood vessels of the lungs and produce eggs which hatch into larvae that are coughed up, swallowed and re-enter the bowel, creating a new cycle.

​Crenosoma vulpis – the “fox lungworm”

The life cycle of the Crenosoma is similar The larvae exist in an infected dog's faeces until picked up by a slug or snail because foxes can also pick up this parasite their poo can also be infected producing, even more, larvae into the environment especially as they roam in more urban areas.

Can humans get worms from dogs?

Humans thankfully, cannot be infected by lungworm.

Lungworm is extremely serious and causes signs of cardiac and respiratory disease as well as hemorrhaging in the internal organs. Signs of the disease can often be confused with other illnesses as they are many but if your dog is exhibiting any of these behaviours seek medical advice immediately.



Side Effects


Heartworm (Dirofilaria Immitis)

Heartworm is not currently a problem in the UK as it is transmitted by Mosquito bites and needs the insect to complete its life cycle.

It is possible that a dog imported from a country where the parasite is common might test positive but as the disease is not spread from dog to dog and requires mosquitoes it has not become an issue in this country.

Once a dog has been bitten by an infected mosquito it takes around 6-7 months for the larvae to mature.

An adult can live 5-7 years and be up to 12 inches in length and it is possible for there to be over 200 of them in your dog's system. It takes years for the dog to show outward symptoms by which time the infestation is advanced and has started to clog the blood vessels leading to the major organs which can have serious consequences and can be fatal.

Fortunately, the condition can be picked during routine blood tests. If you have imported a dog into the UK or have recently taken your four-legged friend abroad on holiday and it is displaying any of these symptoms consult your vet immediately.




Worming Tablets

If your looking to buy dog worming pills then we have reviewed some of the best. Click the link for see.


Deworming puppies what to expect

Deworming puppies at home

Can children catch worms from dogs?

Can older dogs get worms?

Deworming a dog that doesn't have worms?

Can worms cause bloody diarrhea in dogs?

How can worms be passed from dog to human

Can I get worms from my dog sleeping in my bed

Is it necessary to deworm dogs?

How long does the medication take to get rid of worms?


Worms in dogs are a common problem, as we have discovered not only do they make our hounds miserable they can cause serious damage even death.

All of these parasites can be prevented so it is worth talking to your vet.

Now you know how often to de-worm your dog and what is the best way to prevent your pet contracting these nasty dog worms it should be simple process.

De-worm puppies as soon as possible and continue with the routine throughout their lives After all when we get a dog we want them to lead a happy, healthy life and be with us for as long as possible.

John Devlin

Husband, father and avid dog lover. Currently the proud owner of George a pedigree Golden Retriever that barely leaves my side. However, cute this sounds a little break from the dog hairs every now and then would be nice!

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Need some advice please we got a puppy unexpectedly due to saving him from a puppy farm nearly 2 weeks ago vet gave him a wormer and flea treatment on the back of his neck he had bloody diarrhoea a few days later our other puppy got the same bloody diarrhoea both are eating and drinking verypulyful but now my other 2 dogs have this bloody diarrhoea which worm could it be none are sick ?


My dog almost 6 times got worms in his poop, sometimes they are more than 20 inches, my vet told me to deworm him every 15 days. Is it ok ? Means such antibiotics can harm too. I am fed up from this. What should I do please suggest.