How to Know If My Dog Has Worms

Dog pooping on the grass

How to Know If My Dog Has Worms? To know if your dog has worms, look for common symptoms such as changes in appetite, weight loss, scooting, vomiting, and visible worms in stool.

Recognizing Symptoms of Worms in Dogs

  • Changes in Appetite and Weight Loss: One of the first signs that your dog might have worms is a change in appetite. Dogs with worms might suddenly lose their appetite or, conversely, become unusually hungry. Weight loss, despite a normal or increased appetite, is also a common symptom.
  • Scooting and Licking: Dogs with worms often scoot their bottoms on the ground or frequently lick their anal area. This behavior is typically due to the irritation and itching caused by worms around the anus.
  • Vomiting and Diarrhea: Vomiting and diarrhea can also indicate a worm infestation. In some cases, you might even see worms in your dog’s vomit or stool. Look for spaghetti-like roundworms or small, rice-like tapeworm segments.
  • Visible Worms in Stool: The most definitive sign of worms is seeing them in your dog’s stool. Roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms can all be visible to the naked eye.
  • Bloated Abdomen: Puppies, in particular, may develop a pot-bellied appearance.
  • Lethargy: Dogs with worms may be less energetic and more lethargic.
  • Anemia: Hookworms can cause significant blood loss, leading to anemia, characterized by pale gums and weakness.

How Dogs Get Worms

Dogs may contract worms through the consumption of tainted food or water containing worm eggs or larvae.

Tapeworms are frequently transmitted via fleas, with dogs becoming infected when they ingest a flea during grooming.

Puppies have the potential to be born with worms if their mother is infected, as worms can be transmitted through either the placenta or the mother’s milk.

Additionally, dogs that hunt and consume wild animals are vulnerable to acquiring worms from their prey.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Dogs can contract worms through multiple means, including ingesting contaminated food or water with worm eggs or larvae, being exposed to fleas that transmit tapeworms during grooming, and inheriting worms from an infected mother either through the placenta or nursing.

Additionally, hunting and consuming wild animals can also expose dogs to worm infections.

For more information on keeping your dog healthy, read our articles on dog grooming tips How Often Should You Wash Your Dog and maintaining a balanced diet for dogs Can Dogs Eat Raw Meat?

Types of Worms in Dogs

Worm on the ground
  • Roundworms: Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasites in dogs. They look like spaghetti and can grow several inches long.
  • Hookworms: Hookworms are smaller and attach to the intestinal lining, feeding on your dog’s blood, which can cause severe anemia.
  • Whipworms: Whipworms live in the large intestine and can cause chronic diarrhea and weight loss.
  • Tapeworms: Tapeworms are segmented worms that are usually spread by fleas. Segments resembling grains of rice can often be seen around your dog’s anus or in their stool.

For more detailed information about different types of parasitic worms, refer to Parasitic worms on Wikipedia.


Recognizing the signs of worms in your dog is crucial for their health and well-being.

By being vigilant and taking prompt action, you can ensure your dog receives the necessary treatment and prevent future infestations.

Regular veterinary check-ups and preventative measures will help keep your dog healthy and worm-free.