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How to spot the symptoms of worms in dogs

As pet parents, we know we need to be aware of the signs of intestinal worms in our dogs – and that’s so much easier to do if we know what to look out for! Our FRONTLINE® pet experts have put together a list of top symptoms dog parents need to know about – and what to do if signs of intestinal worms, such as tapeworms and roundworms, are spotted. Let’s get into it.

Signs to spot

  • Losing weight - Some worms eat the food our dogs consume. This means dogs can lose weight even if they’re eating more, because some of the food is feeding the worms inside them.

  • Lack of energy and enthusiasm - The nutrients in your dog’s food may be helping the worms inside them to thrive, instead of your dog. Add to this the fact that some worms feed off blood and it’s easy to see why worms can cause dogs and puppies to seem unenergetic or unenthusiastic. Poor pooches.

  • Upset stomach - Worms inside a dog’s intestines can understandably create tummy upsets, with or without vomiting. Some little white worm segments may be seen in the sick.

  • Bloated tummy -

    Dogs and puppies with worms might have a ‘pot belly’ because the worms inside them are causing tummy upsets and a rounded abdomen.

  • A dry or dull coat -

    This is again down to worms taking the nutrients a dog needs to stay healthy.


  • Different appetite -

    Both a hungrier or less hungry than usual dog or puppy is another thing to look out for. Increased hunger may be a signal that worms are living off the food your pet eats – so, naturally, dogs want to eat more to feed themselves. But some dogs actually have decreased hunger because of the discomfort worms are causing in their intestines.

  • Seeing actual worms -

    The above signs aren’t just associated with worm infections – they could be the result of other ailments. But if worms or worm segments are spotted around their bum, in their poo, on their bedding or in their sick, this is a definite sign a dog has intestinal worms. Worms that are alive can be wriggling, whereas dead worms can be dried out and look like little grains of rice. It’s useful to know that roundworms are cylindrical – like spaghetti – whereas tapeworms are flatter – like ribbons – and segmented.

  • Scooting or sledging -

    Dogs can start sliding their bottoms along the ground because of the irritation worms are causing there. However, this isn’t definitely down to worms, it can also be a sign of full anal glands – good to know!


Seen these signs in a puppy?

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Then treat your puppy right away. Worms can be passed from the mother to the puppy and little pup’s small organs are less able to cope with an infestation. Heavy infestations can cause serious complications in little ones (sadly, worms can even kill them), so keep on top of it by treating regularly using a worm product that’s right for your puppy’s age and body weight.

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Seen these signs in an adult dog?

See our quick guide to treating worms in dogs.

No sign of these symptoms?

The unfortunate thing is worms can easily go undetected because dogs that are otherwise healthy don’t always show any signs of infection. But that doesn’t mean that worms won’t be living inside them – yucky as that is to think about. We’d advise you not to wait until visible signs of worms appear before deworming your dog as, by then, the infection can be quite severe. 

Regular worming treatment throughout the year is nice and simple with chewable tablets such as FRONTLINE® WORMER. It can be given with or without food and, because it’s so tasty, dogs may see it as a treat rather than a treatment!

Get answers from the experts

Got a question about fleas, ticks or worms? We can help! Take a look at our FAQs or send us a message.

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