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How to tell if your puppy has worms

Updated on September 17, 2012

Some signs possibly suggesting your pup has parasites

Having worked at an animal hospital I have seen my fair share of puppies. These cuddly balls of fur often carried a baggage of pesky parasites along. Because most puppies have parasites (they inherit them from their mother's milk or while in the uterus) we always recommended all new puppy owners to bring along a stools sample for their puppy's first vaccination appointment.

A fresh stool sample must not be older than 24 hours old. A teaspoon amount is sufficient . Results come in fairly quickly, however, many vets give deworming medicine in any case during the pup's first vet exam.

While often there are no signs of worms in puppies, those heavily infestated may exhibit some particular symptoms that can be easily recognized:

A potbellied appearance

Dull coat


Rice like parasites on rectum

Rice like parasites found near sleeping areas

Blood in stool

Spaghetti like parasites in the stool

Spaghetti like parasites in the vomit


Weight loss

Ravenous appetite

Pale gums

Roundworms are usually the most common parasites found in puppies. They resemble spaghetti and can be found in a dog's stool or vomit. They often cause a pot bellied appearance, dull coat and puppies may have gastro-intestinal issues. In severe cases, the puppy may become anemic and exhibit pale gums and even an intestinal obstruction. A cough may appear if the roundworms migrate to the lungs.

Tapeworms produce segments that resemble rice grains and occur when puppies ingest an infected flea that acts as a vector. These sort of rice grains can be found found near the rectum or near areas where the puppy sleeps. The tapeworm segments may cause rectal itching and scooting.

Hookworms often may cause blood in a dog's stool and even anemia, since they thrive on the dog's blood. Because they are dangerous to puppies, a fecal test should be always be performed on puppies.

Whipworms as well cause bloody stools, anemia and gastro-intestinal issues. Heartworms instead invade the heart and are present when affected mosquitoes bite you dog. They cause coughing spells and lethargy and treatment is difficult.

Protozoans such as giardia and coccidia are also possibilities.

As seen, puppies may carry a vast array of parasites with them. Because some of these parasites are not species specific, meaning they can transmitted to humans, fecal tests and deworming medications are of utmost importance to safeguard your pup's health and the health of your family.


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    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 3 years ago from USA

      What type of worms? Usually, tapeworms are the ones coming out, but what you are seeing is not the actual worm but segments of eggs. For hygiene purposes, I wouldn't sleep with a dog with tapeworms, but you're unlikely to get them too.

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      bb 3 years ago

      Can a puppy sleep with you if it has worms coming from its butt?

    • barbat79 profile image

      B A Tobin 3 years ago from Connnecticut

      Thank you for a breakdown of each type of worm and symptoms. Very informative!

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      Dogs don't necessarily have to develop all the signs, actually many have worms without any signs which is why it's important to have a fecal test run every year to make sure.

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      Gizmo 5 years ago

      I took my puppy to the vet and they gave me dewormer, but the only sign of worms he has is the pot belly. Any thoughts?

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 6 years ago from USA

      You may have to do another treatment after 3 weeks. Read the product label to make sure.

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      temp * 6 years ago

      ihave a puppy that's 6 weeks and i noticed a worm that looked like spagehtti come out his butt wen he shitted i was so scared i started screamingg !!! den i went to pet smart and this lady helped me find D worm i gave him one tablet ; he shitted da nxt day a whole much of worms ilooked like a pile of spagehtti with poop ! i was so freaked out now ikeep watchin him how many more cud be in there ????

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 7 years ago from USA

      Do these worms look like rice grains? Then you must deworm your puppy against tapeworms. Do they look like thin spaghetti? Then you must deworm against roundworm...Not sure? Collect a stool sample and have your vet take a look. He will prescribe the most appropriate dewormer...

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      madison 7 years ago

      hi i have a puppy and i just wanteed to know what do i do if worms are coming out of his butt??? i really need to know..he sleeps in my bed with me.and sometimes i will find them all over my bed!!please answer back

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      amanda 7 years ago

      just wondering my puppy is yelping a chasing his bum big time he has been dewormed and the vet says that this is why he is yelping so much coz his bum is soar and itchy and he can't scratch it have you heard of puppies having pain as a result of worms the little guy is only ten weeks today

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 8 years ago from USA

      Weight loss is a common symptom of worms, but I do not think it typically would cause much pain to cause growling unless the infestation is severe. I would have him checked by the vet, he may may have an upset stomach due to an intestinal blockage (swallowed something like a piece of bone or a toy) or a bout of gastro-enteritis.Any vomiting or diarrhea? Worms can be easily ruled out by having your vet run a fecal test on your dog.

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      jasminw 8 years ago

      my dog is acting relly werd we think he haves worms but we can't tell we don't see lost of wight or enthing when you toch of tummy he grawws plz help.