How to Get Rid of Worms in Dogs

icon July 13, 2023

The idea of worms infecting your furry friend is disgusting, and if left untreated, these parasitic organisms can compromise the overall health of our beloved canine companions. Because there are many potential negative health consequences, including nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and dehydration, it is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. While worm infections should be addressed promptly, it is also important to understand the potential risks associated with long-term infections.

In this article, we will explore the effects of untreated worm infections and discuss the timeline within which intervention is crucial to prevent severe consequences, including the risk of fatality.

Treating Parasites In Dogs

Can Worms Kill Dogs?

Yes, in some cases, worms can pose a significant threat to a dog's life and, if left untreated, can lead to severe health complications or even death.

Here are a few examples of how worms can potentially harm and, in extreme cases, kill dogs:

  • If a dog has a heavy infestation of certain types of worms, such as tapeworms, a large number of worms can accumulate in the intestines, causing blockages. Intestinal blockages can lead to severe pain, vomiting, loss of appetite, and, if left untreated, can be fatal.
  • Hookworms, which feed on blood by attaching to the intestinal lining, can cause significant blood loss over time. This can result in anemia, characterized by a low red blood cell count. Severe anemia can weaken the dog's immune system and lead to weakness, lethargy, pale gums, and even death.
  • Some worms, such as heartworms, reside in the heart and lungs, causing damage to these vital organs. If left untreated, heartworms can cause heart failure, pulmonary embolism (blockage of blood vessels in the lungs), and other life-threatening complications.

How Long Can a Dog Survive Without Treatment for Worms?

Survival times for untreated worms may vary depending on a number of factors, including the type of worms, the severity of the infection, the overall health of the dog, and the ability of the immune system to cope with the parasites. It is important to note that untreated worms may have serious health consequences for the dog, and prompt treatment is often recommended to ensure their health.

What Happens If Worms Are Left Untreated in A Dog?

If worms are left untreated in a dog, several potential health consequences can arise. Worms consume nutrients from the dog's digestive system, leading to malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies. This can result in weight loss, stunted growth (especially in puppies), weakness, and poor coat condition. 

Certain worms, like hookworms, feed on the dog's blood, which can lead to anemia. Anemia is characterized by a low red blood cell count and can cause weakness, fatigue, pale gums, and reduced exercise tolerance.


In some cases, untreated worms can cause damage to vital organs. For example, heartworms can reside in the heart and lungs, leading to heart enlargement, heart failure, and lung complications. Severe infestations of intestinal worms can result in intestinal blockages or perforations, requiring emergency medical intervention.

What Are the Most Common Types of Worms in Dogs?

1. Roundworms (Toxocara canis, Toxascaris leonina)

Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasites found in dogs, especially puppies. They have a round, tubular shape and can grow several inches long. Puppies can acquire roundworms from their mother either during gestation or through nursing. Adult dogs can get infected by ingesting roundworm eggs from contaminated soil or feces. Symptoms may include diarrhea, vomiting, a pot-bellied appearance, poor growth, and a dull coat.

2. Tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum, Taenia spp.)

Tapeworms are flat, segmented worms that attach to the dog's intestines. Dogs can get tapeworms by ingesting fleas or lice that carry tapeworm larvae, or by consuming raw or undercooked meat from infected animals. The presence of tapeworms may not always cause noticeable symptoms, but some dogs may experience weight loss, scooting, and the presence of rice-like segments in their feces or around the anus.

Tapeworms in Dogs

3. Hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum, Uncinaria stenocephala)

Hookworms are small, thin worms that have hook-like mouthparts. They attach to the intestinal lining and feed on blood. Dogs can get hookworms by ingesting hookworm larvae or through skin penetration when in contact with contaminated soil. Hookworm infestations can cause anemia, weight loss, dark and tarry stools, weakness, and a poor coat condition. Severe hookworm infections, especially in puppies, can be life-threatening.

4. Whipworms (Trichuris vulpis)

Whipworms are small, thread-like worms that reside in the large intestine. Dogs become infected by ingesting whipworm eggs from contaminated soil. While many dogs may not display obvious symptoms, heavy infestations can lead to chronic diarrhea with blood, weight loss, and overall weakness.

Whipworms In Dogs

4. Heartworms (Dirofilaria immitis)

Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites and primarily affect the heart and lungs. When infected mosquitoes bite a dog, they transmit heartworm larvae into the bloodstream. Over time, these larvae develop into long, thin worms that reside in the heart and pulmonary arteries. Heartworm infestations can cause serious health issues, including heart failure, coughing, difficulty breathing, and exercise intolerance.

5. Worm in Dogs Eye

Eye worm is a vector-borne disease carried by fruit flies, and infection begins when a fruit fly carrying the parasite lands on the eye and lays infected larvae that feed on tears. However, some pets exhibit

  • Red, sore eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Swollen eyes
  • Mucus around the eyes
  • Excessive watering of the eyes
  • Ulcers in the eyes
  • Visual disturbances

In some cases, you may see worms in the eye.

How Long Does It Take for My Dog to Pass Fecal Worms After Deworming?

In most cases, you may start to see dead worms in your dog's feces within 24 to 48 hours after deworming. such as roundworms may be passed in the feces relatively quickly after dewormingHowever, it's important to note that not all worms will be immediately expelled after treatment. Other worms like tapeworms may take longer to be eliminated.

How to Get Rid of Worms in Dogs?

Depending on the type of worms, the veterinarian will prescribe appropriate deworming medication. Common dewormers include oral medications, such as tablets or liquids, that target specific types of worms. Follow the veterinarian's instructions regarding dosage, duration, and frequency of administration.

Common types of worms in dogs include roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. Here are some commonly used medications for treating these worms:

  • Pyrantel Pamoate: This medication is effective against roundworms and hookworms. It works by paralyzing the worms, allowing them to be passed in the stool.
  • Abamectin B1: Abamectin B1 is often used to treat a variety of parasites in dogs, including heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, and some types of mites. However, it's important to note that certain breeds, particularly collies and related breeds, can have adverse reactions to Abamectin B1, so its use should be discussed with a veterinarian.
  • Albendazole: Fenbendazole is effective against a range of intestinal parasites, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and giardia. It's often used for treating a variety of worm infections.
  • Praziquantel: This medication is primarily used to treat tapeworm infections. It works by causing the tapeworm to detach from the intestinal wall, allowing it to be passed in the stool.
  • Milbemycin Oxime: This medication is used to prevent heartworm disease and also has activity against some intestinal parasites like hookworms and roundworms.
  • Drontal: Drontal is a combination medication that contains praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate, and febantel. It's used to treat a broad spectrum of intestinal worms, including tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.
Puainta® albendazole for dogs

Buying albendazole online is convenient and Puainta products are effective in killing various common parasites in pets such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. 

  • Effective deworming, esp. the parasites inside pet’s body, including roundworm, tapeworm, nematode, hookworm, whipworm, trichinella.
  • Schistosoma lung is a parasitic organism called trematode, which is quite common in dogs in North America and is called Paragonimus kellicotti. Albendazole is widely used to treat this infection.
  • Puainta® Albendazole Anthelmintic tablets will remove the common tapeworms, Dipylidium caninum and Taenia taeniaeformis, from dogs and puppies.
Puainta® Topical Deworming Drops to Kill Fleas & Ticks in Dogs/Cats

Abamectin B1 treats and prevents 7 veterinarian-recommended pests, including fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, Mites, roundworms, threadworms, and lice. Within 12 hours of application, Abamectin B1 Large Breed repels pests and kills fleas on contact so they don't need to bite your dog and die. This once-a-month, easy-to-use topical formula is fragrance-free and waterproof after 24 hours.

  • Topical application to kill or remove fleas, flea eggs, ticks, lice, and even mosquitoes on skin.
  • The drug penetrates into the capillaries from the skin to the whole body and treats Mites, roundworms, threadworms in the body.
  • Prevents heartworm.

Related: Do Dogs Get Tapeworms?

How Often Should I Worm My Dog?


Puppies are typically born with roundworms and can acquire other worms through their environment. To prevent and treat worm infestations in puppies, a deworming protocol is usually initiated from a young age. Puppies are often dewormed at two, four, six, and eight weeks of age, followed by regular deworming every two to three weeks until they are three to four months old. Afterward, a monthly preventive medication can be administered to protect against common worms.

Adult Dogs

For adult dogs, the frequency of deworming depends on their lifestyle and potential exposure to worms.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Urban areas or well-maintained homes, may be dewormed once or twice a year.
  • Parks, dog parks, or areas with wildlife, may benefit from deworming every three to six months.
  • Dogs living in rural areas, or dogs that have frequent contact with other animals, may require more frequent deworming. These dogs may benefit from deworming every two to three months or as recommended by a veterinarian.

How Do I Know If Worms Are Killing My Dog?

There are several signs that could indicate worms are killing your dog's health. 
If your dog is infected with a significant number of worms, it may exhibit fatigue, lack of energy, and weakness. Heavy infestations of blood-feeding worms, such as hookworms, can cause anemia, characterized by pale gums and weakness. 
If your dog has vomiting and diarrhea with loss of appetite and inability to eat, this symptom is very dangerous and needs to be taken to a veterinarian promptly for treatment.

Heartworm Disease

What Are the Chances of Getting Worms from Your Dog?

The chances of getting worms from your dog are relatively low, but it is still possible.The most common way to get worms from your dog is through direct contact with contaminated feces. If you handle your dog's feces without proper hygiene precautions or accidentally ingest them, you may be at risk of acquiring the worms.
Worm eggs can survive in the environment for some time, especially in moist and warm conditions. If your dog eliminates in your yard or in a public area, and you or someone else comes into contact with the contaminated soil, there is a potential risk of infection.

Does Garlic Kill Worms in Dogs?

While garlic contains compounds that have been shown to have certain health benefits in humans, such as antimicrobial properties, the concentration of these compounds in garlic is generally not sufficient to effectively eliminate worms in dogs. 

Furthermore, it's worth mentioning that feeding dogs excessive amounts of garlic can be harmful. Garlic, especially in large quantities, can potentially cause toxic effects on a dog's red blood cells, leading to anemia and other health complications.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Kill Worms in Dogs?

While ACV has some potential health benefits, such as antimicrobial properties, its effectiveness in eliminating worms in dogs is uncertain. 

It's worth noting that using ACV inappropriately or in excessive amounts can have adverse effects on a dog's health. ACV is highly acidic, and when given in large quantities or without proper dilution, it can cause irritation and damage to the gastrointestinal tract, leading to digestive upset and potential long-term health problems.

Are Pumpkin Seeds a Cure for Worms in Dogs?

Yes, pumpkin seeds can be beneficial for dogs and may help in controlling certain conditions, including worms. Pumpkin seeds contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin, which has been known to have anthelmintic properties, meaning it may help eliminate certain types of worms. However, it's important to note that pumpkin seeds alone may not be sufficient to completely treat a worm infestation in dogs.


Worm infestations can pose significant health risks to dogs, and timely intervention is crucial to prevent severe consequences, including the risk of fatality. If you suspect your dog has worms or notice any unusual symptoms, seek veterinary care promptly. Remember, prevention is key, so maintain a regular deworming schedule and follow preventive measures to keep your furry friend healthy and free from these parasitic invaders.

RelatedAlbendazole (Puainta®) for Dogs



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