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Dogs love rolling around in dirt, eating things they shouldn’t and generally living their best life. Sadly, sometimes this can lead to them getting worms, and these parasites can be a real concern for us pet parents.

Seeing signs of worms is not only very off-putting, but worms can also cause health problems if they’re not treated. Plus, roundworms can affect our human family members too.


That’s why our pet experts are sharing the key things dog parents need to know about worms, along with how dogs get worms, what the symptoms are, and how to help treat and prevent worms in the future. With all this insight at hand, it’ll be easy to get our dogs living their best life again, free from the health problems worms can cause.



Intestinal worms feed themselves by eating the food our dogs eat, or their blood. They can also damage the intestinal lining and cause symptoms such as upset tummies, weakness and irritation around the bum area. So, all in all, they lead to discomfort and health complications that aren’t very nice for our poor dogs.

The other problem is that worms can lay up to 300,000 eggs a day. That’s a lot of eggs. These eggs are shed from infected animals into the environment where they can survive for several years and infect an animal or human that comes into contact with them. 

Us humans – especially children, pregnant women, older people and people with a weaker immune system – can be vulnerable to roundworm infections from their dog. This can be serious, causing ill health and blindness. 

Fortunately, there are simple ways to treat and prevent issues with worms in dogs and help the people around them stay safer too.

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Happy dog bounding
Sat with a dog by a lake

Four ways dogs can get worms

  • 1. Swallowing fleas infected with worm eggs while giving themselves a good lick.

  • 2. Ingesting worm eggs from something or someplace that’s contaminated with them, such as their toys, grass or soil. Regularly cleaning toys and picking up poo will help reduce this risk.

  • 3. Eating or scavenging carcasses of other infected animals, such as mice, rabbits and birds. It’s natural for dogs to want to investigate other animals (dead or alive!) but stopping them from scavenging will help protect them from worms.

  • 4. From their mother if they’re a puppy – either across the placenta before they are born, or by drinking her milk. Because pups are little, the complications worms cause can be more serious.

Identifying dog intestinal worms

There are four common types of these worms in dogs. If you’ve seen white things in dog poop or vomit, around their bum or on their bedding, you’re unlikely to be able to tell which type of worm it is. However, the white things are likely to be one of these worms, or a segment that’s broken off from a bigger worm in your dog’s intestines. 

Roundworms (also called ascarids) are cylindrical – like spaghetti – and can be up to 15 cm long inside dogs. 

Tapeworms are flatter – like ribbons – and segmented. They can be 50 cm or even longer inside dogs.

Whipworms look like whips – thinner at one end, thicker at the other. They’re much smaller – around 6 mm.

Hookworms have hook-like mouthpieces with which they attach to the dog’s intestinal wall. Hookworms are around 3 mm long. 

There are other symptoms of worms in dogs, such as a change in their appetite or appearance. However, dogs that are otherwise healthy may not show many (if any) signs of worms but can still have these parasites living inside them.

Black dog ready to play
Black dog ready to play

Things to think about when choosing worm treatment

  • The range of worms the treatment works against. Products that treat a broad range of worms in a single treatment might be more convenient than using multiple products, for example.
  • How the treatment is given. Spot-on worm treatments may not be ideal for dogs who are bathed or go swimming regularly. Wormers in the form of a tasty chewable tablet, such as FRONTLINE® WORMER, mean dogs can be stroked and cuddled straight after treatment – and swimming or bathing won’t affect how the treatment works.
  • If there are several pets in the family, all of them need to be treated against parasites with a product that’s appropriate to their species, age and body weight.
  • It’s important to regularly use a flea treatment, as fleas can transmit worms too.


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How to spot the symptoms of worms in dogs

Intestinal worms can be harmful to our dogs and to people (especially children), so it’s important to de-worm your poochy pal regularly all year round.

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How to treat worms in dogs and puppies

Treating worms in dogs is simple and effective, but not all pooches are the same. Read our pet experts tips on how to treat your dog for worms.

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