You just brought your puppy home for the first time! Congratulations! There’s nothing better than becoming a pet parent to a new puppy! Puppies are so cute and cuddly! They’re also very fun to play with!
But what some pet parents may not realize is that it is possible for puppies to have worms. What? Yes, you read that correctly. If you’re a first-time pet parent, worms will be the last thing on your mind! You just brought a new puppy home. Why would you need to worry about worms?
Many puppies are infected with worms. They may become infected before birth or after birth. So, in this article, we’ll take a look at worms (also called intestinal parasites) in puppies and what you can do to help your puppy. We’ll also answer the question in the title!
Puppies & Intestinal Worms
Intestinal worms are a widespread problem in puppies; however, not all puppies have worms. Puppies may become infected with intestinal worms either before or after birth. They can even become infected from their mother’s milk. It’s the worm eggs or larvae that cause the infection.
The worm eggs and larvae may be found in the puppy’s bedding, in poop, and even on plants. It’s very easy for a puppy to become infected with intestinal parasites. For this reason, vets recommend having puppies dewormed. This is the process of getting the worms out of the puppy’s system.
Vets usually recommend deworming puppies when they’re about 2-3 weeks old. And it usually takes more than one dose to ensure the puppies have no more worms.
How to Tell If My Puppy Has Worms?
You may first notice worms in your puppy’s poop. While this is gross, it’s just how it is, and this is often the first place worms show up. You may notice worms, white specks, debris, and other things that don’t seem normal. If you see a live, wriggly worm in your puppy’s poop, then you know he probably has intestinal parasites.
To make sure of what’s going on with your puppy, it’s best to have him examined by the vet. The vet will perform a fecal test to check for intestinal parasites.
Fecal tests are usually taken from a piece of fresh poop. The vet then checks the poop under a microscope for any signs of worms. However, in some cases, the vet may want to send your puppy’s poop out to a lab to be examined. This may take about 24 hours or more to get the results.
What are the Intestinal Parasites Most Common in Dogs?
There are several different types of worms that are extremely common in dogs, and they can all prove to be an annoying source of headaches for you and your dog. These types of parasites include the following mentioned below.
Tapeworms are intestinal parasites that a puppy may catch from being bitten by infected fleas, or eating one. This type of intestinal parasite is very common in animals (and humans). It is possible that your dog ingests fleas accidentally by chewing on an itchy spot. When fleas are eaten, eggs hatch in the flea. During that time, the worm latches onto the intestinal wall and grows to eight inches long.
If your puppy has tapeworms, you may notice white, rice-like pieces in your dog’s poop. Tapeworms are unique because they grow in segments. Those segments, with a flat and rectangular-like shape, will break off and end up in your pup’s poop. These eggs, also called “small sesame seeds”, can also get in your dog’s bottom.
Hookworms are another common worm in dogs. Puppies can pick up hookworms from eating poop that’s infected, digging in the dirt, or even from their mother before birth. These parasites are extremely dangerous because they feed on the puppy’s blood.
A hookworm infection can cause severe anemia in puppies.
This is another type of dog worm that’s very common, though it’s impossible to see with your own eyes. Whipworms look similar to the roundworms, but they have a long curly tail instead.
These worms are usually caught from eating dirt that’s infected with the worms. They also nourish themselves with the nutrients found in your dog’s food. As they become accustomed to living in your pup’s body, they can cause inflammation and bleeding in that pup. Yuck!
Roundworms are intestinal parasites that can be caught if a puppy eats infected feces or dirt. They can also catch these intestinal parasites from their mothers before birth. Roundworms are well-known for causing severe gastrointestinal issues. That is, they often cause diarrhea and loose stool.
These worms are very common in puppies. If you see a puppy that has a large pot-belly, chances are he’s infected with roundworms.
Coccidia is not really a worm but a protozoan. They can make puppies very sick and can damage their digestive tract. If you suspect that your puppy may have this parasitic infection, they must be found by the vet and treated as soon as possible.
Are Worms Really That Dangerous for Puppies?
Yes, worm infestation is very dangerous for puppies. Intestinal parasites rob puppies of the nutrients that these dog’s bodies need to grow strong and healthy. Not even just that; they can lead to very serious medical problems for your furred companions!
You may notice these symptoms of worms in your puppy if they’re infested:
- Loose stool
- Frequent bowel movements
- Gurgling in their stomach
- Abdominal pain
- Change in appetite
- Weight loss
- Blood in your dog’s stool
- Breathing difficulties
- And more
If your puppy is showing any of these symptoms or other signs of worms (such as a pot belly and/or white specks or worms), then it’s time to call the vet. Your puppy needs to be treated as soon as possible for treatment. The sooner he receives treatment for intestinal parasites, the better he will be. He will also have a better chance of making a full recovery if he receives prompt medical treatment.
How Does the Vet Treat a Puppy for Worms?
The vet will use medication that is made to deworm your puppy. By “deworming,” we mean getting the worms out of your puppy’s system. The vet may prescribe a broad-spectrum dewormer, which is able to kill a wide variety of intestinal parasites. If the vet suspects your puppy is infected with a specific worm, then they will prescribe a medication that’s specially made to treat that parasite.
When it comes to deworming medications, some are available OTC, and others are prescriptions only. We strongly urge you to take your puppy to see the vet if you suspect he has worms. This is because worms are extremely dangerous to puppies and can even lead to death. The parasites need to be treated with the right type of medication to kill off these horrible creatures. It’s best not to try to deworm your puppy on your own. Always check with the vet first.
So, it’s possible the vet may advise you to use an OTC dewormer, and that’s OK. They will know which one is best for your puppy and provide instructions on how to properly administer the medication.
How Do Puppy Dewormers Work?
Puppy deworming medication is usually given in an oral or injectable form. Deworming medication works to kill the intestinal parasites, their larvae, and eggs.
The vet may prescribe the medication to be used for about every two weeks, depending on your puppy’s age and health. It’s necessary to repeat the deworming process in order to ensure all the worms, larvae, and eggs are killed. Some vets even recommend deworming treatments every two weeks until the puppy is about three months old. Your vet will recommend the right schedule for your snuggly fur baby.
Once the worms are killed, the vet may then recommend the puppy be dewormed twice a year to prevent another infection of intestinal parasites by any leftover dead worms. Vets also recommend this as a precaution for adult dogs.
Are There Side Effects for Deworming a Puppy?
Yes, there may be some side effects involved with the deworming process. Some of the most common side effects of dewormers include:
- Bloody stool
- Mood swings
If your puppy shows any of these symptoms, then call the vet right away. And be sure to call the vet about any symptoms that are concerning when your puppy’s being dewormed. The vet will let you know if the symptoms are anything to worry about or if they need to see your puppy.
How Long Will Puppy Poop Worms After Deworming
Now, we’ve reached the all-important question of how long a puppy poops worms after deworming! Puppies may poop out worms for about two days as the worms begin to die. This may happen as often as every two to fourteen hours.
However, a puppy can still poop out worms for about a week after being dewormed. This is not unusual. But if you’re concerned, do call the vet.
How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Worms in a Puppy?
That’s another great question! The length of time needed to get rid of the worms depends on how bad the infection was. It can take up to two hours before the medication begins to work. And then it can take up to 12 hours (or more) for the worms to come out.
If the worm infection is severe, the treatment process will need to be repeated. The entire process can take up to two weeks before the puppy is completely cured of intestinal parasites.
What Happens After Deworming my Puppy?
As the medication begins to work, you will probably see whole or parts of worms in the puppy’s poop. This is gross; we understand. But it’s also an indication that the medication has begun to work. So, it’s crucial to check your puppy’s poop to see if worms are coming out after using deworming medication.
It’s also possible the adult worms will still be alive and moving when they come out. Yuck! However, you know the medication is working. As the puppy poops, be sure to clean it up, along with any live worms. Poop that’s infected with worms and left on the ground could re-infect your puppy or could cause the infection to spread to you (depending on the worms) and other pets.
It’s a good idea to use paper towels or old towels and rags to clean up the poop. When you’re done cleaning things up, toss these used towels into the trash. After cleaning up the wormy poop, be sure to clean your hands thoroughly.
Furthermore, even if your pup has been fully dewormed, there is still a risk that he will become infected again. The best way to protect your dog from intestinal worms is to have them on a monthly heartworm prevention product.
Regularly using such a product will help maintain treatment and control other common intestinal worms. Make sure you pick a heartworm prevention product that is effective and safe. They can come in the form of a topical solution or a digestible pill.
Common Questions About Intestinal Parasites in Puppies
In this section, we’ll review some of the most common questions we’re asked about worms and puppies. These may especially apply to first-time pet parents who aren’t completely sure about intestinal worms!
Can I Get Worms From My Puppy Licking Me?
As a pet parent, you treasure your puppy’s kisses! However, when you think about the intestinal parasites that may inhabit your dog, their kisses may not seem so great after all.
It is possible for a puppy to pass on certain worms through licking. He may pass on roundworms or hookworms in this manner.
Can Roundworm Eggs Live in the Carpet?
When you’re going through the deworming process, it’s natural to be concerned about the prospect of getting worms from the carpet. We hate to tell you, but yet, it’s possible that roundworm eggs can live in the carpet.
However, you can get rid of them by thorough vacuuming and steam cleaning the carpet. When you’re finished, be sure to throw out the vacuum back and disinfect the inside of the vacuum and steam cleaner. Don’t wait to do this but do it right after cleaning.
What If I Forget to Give My Puppy the Next Dewormer Dose?
As with other medications, it’s imperative to follow the deworming schedule and dosing instructions given by the vet. However, things can happen that make you forget to give your puppy the next dose. If you’ve forgotten a step in the worming treatment, don’t feel bad!
Having said that, the next dose must be given at least within 15 days of the first dose. If not, then the deworming process will not work, and you’ll have to start all over again.
If My Puppy Has Worms, Do My Other Dogs or Pets Need to Be Treated, too?
Many of us keep more than one dog or pet in our homes. And it is possible for intestinal parasites to infect other pets. So, when you’re talking with the vet, be sure to remind them you have other pets at home. Ask if these pets also need to be dewormed.
If they do, the vet will provide the right medication and instructions on how to use the medication with your other pet(s).
Summing It Up
There you have it! Regular deworming is something that can be extremely beneficial to your puppy’s health. Remember that intestinal parasites can make a puppy very sick. They can also cause death if left untreated.
When your puppy reaches the age of three months old, it is important for you to deworm your puppy once every month. This requirement only applies until the puppy is six months of age. Once your puppy reaches this age, it is suggested that you deworm your dog only once for every three months.
And if you have any questions about deworming your puppy, be sure to contact your vet! They have all the knowledge and plenty of experience when it comes to dealing with your puppy’s health issues!