Roundworms in Dogs

Learn about this common dog worm and six symptoms of roundworms in puppies.

The most common internal parasite found in dogs is the roundworm (Toxocara canis). Parasites, like dog roundworms, consume nutrients dogs need and prevent the dog’s body from properly absorbing these nutrients. Roundworms are so common that most dogs are born with them, unless the mother was treated for dog worms during and after her pregnancy. Whether or not they show signs of infection, puppies should be de-wormed every two weeks until they are eight weeks old. Then they can be started on preventive medication. Treat dog roundworms with a de-wormer prescribed by the veterinarian.

While they don’t usually cause serious problems in adult dogs, roundworms can be big trouble for puppies, especially if there are a lot of them. Here are six symptoms of roundworms in puppies:
• Look thin and scrawny
• Have a distinctive potbelly
• May vomit frequently
• May have diarrhea
• Have a rough, dull coat
• May develop a cough or even pneumonia

Although it’s rare, roundworms can be passed from dogs to people. Usually this occurs when young children put their hands in their mouths after touching egg-laden dog feces or playing in dirt or grassy areas where roundworm eggs have been deposited. Prevent roundworm infection by picking up and disposing of dog feces daily. Adult dogs should have an annual fecal exam so they can be treated for any worms that may be present.

Note: Cats and dogs can pass roundworms to each other and to humans. Roundworms are contracted by ingestion of the larvae of the worm or the worm itself or ingesting whatever the worm or larvae of the worm is on. Click here for more information about roundworms in cats.

Excerpt from the book The Original Dog Bible, edited by Kristin Mehus-Roe, with permission from its publisher, BowTie Press. Purchase The Original Dog Bible here.

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Dogs · Health and Care