If ever there was an animal that is susceptible to worms it is dogs. They get worms from just walking around. Walking in the park or anywhere in the neighborhood, you can see them eating things such as feces that have worms in them. Did you know that worms can get in through broken skin and stepping into soil laced with worms spells problems for the animal?
Additionally, dogs that eat raw meat and fish are likely candidates, or one that may be unlucky enough to ingest a flea with worm eggs. Luckily, worms are not a big inconvenience and can be easily eliminated. While you have the conventional way of deworming, there are several home remedies for worms in dogs that you can try. In our past article, we’ve shown how dog parasite health concerns are often overlooked by pet owners, which shouldn’t be the case if your really care for you pooch.
Worms that are often found in dogs
Before you know what you are treating, you should have an idea what these parasites are like. The common offenders of these pests are tapeworm, roundworm, whipworm, threadworm, heartworm and hookworm. Our previous article on the tell-tale signs of worm infestation in your dogs can help you a lot.
These sometimes enter the dogs gut by swallowing a flea that is carrying the tapeworm eggs, or it could eat something that has the worm attached to it. The worm itself is a white, flat creature that is made up of segments and attaches to the walls of the animals intestines from where it exists by sucking food. Tapeworms can range from 4 – 28 inches in length.
How do you know your dog has tapeworm? Segments of the worm can be broken off and passed out in the faeces where you will see them crawling around or appear as grains of rice. Sometimes also, the segments lodge at the opening of your dog’s anus where it can be pretty irritating.
This is why your dog may be dragging its bottom all over the ground to ease itself of the itching caused. Tapeworm can also appear in the dog’s vomit.
Also called ascarids, roundworms are white or light brown in color, and several inches in length looking more like spaghetti when they bundle. These worms get into a dog’s intestines by several means. Mothers that are infected do pass on the worms to their puppies at the time of birth and or through their milk. A dog can get infected also by eating infected faeces, small mice and other small creatures.
You may want to schedule a visit to the Vet if you notice any of several things. In the first place, your puppy may have stunted growth where there is a buildup of worms. You see, an abundance of worms will only rob the puppy of vital nutrients as they suck vital nutrients from the body. However more physical signs include: pot belly, diarrhea, vomiting, belly pain, weakness, dull coat, weight loss and roundworms in stool.
This is another common pest in dogs. The whipworm gets its name because of its shape, like a whip – a broad head (the whip) and a thick body (like a handle). Dogs get the worm by ingesting the eggs of the worm which can be passed off in other fecal matter, water and food. It can also be passed on by contact with other animals. When the whipworm larvae are hatched, the worms attach themselves mainly in the area where the small intestines meet the large intestines and in the large intestine itself. From there the worm sucks the blood of the dog.
There will not be any noticeable signs unless there is a large number of worms in the dog. When there is an infection however diarrhea will occur, inflammation of the intestinal walls, hemorrhaging in the intestines and anemia and loss of weight. To lessen the occurrence of whipworm, dogs should not be left in the company of other dogs, and frequent cleaning of kennels and other areas is to be carried out.
The hook worm is another parasite that lives in the intestines of infected dogs. These are very tiny animals, usually a quarter to half of an inch that hook themselves to the walls of the small intestines. There they suck blood and intestinal juices from the dog. The often resulting signs are black tarry stools, a sign of hemorrhaging, and weak and malnourished dogs. Dogs get hookworm through their mother’s milk and placenta, from ingesting infected materials, and also direct penetration through the pads of the animals’ feet.
This is a parasite that is passed on from one animal to another by an infected mosquito. When the mosquito bites an infected dog it then deposits the worm larvae in uninfected animals. The larvae grow into mature worms in about 6 – 7 months and lodge themselves in the heart, lungs and other organs of the dog’s body.
The best prevention against heartworm is getting rid of mosquitos. A dog that is infected with heartworm will hardly show signs of the infection until months after. It will refuse to exercise, appear lethargic, may develop a cough, and exhibit a pot belly.
See our comprehensive article on preventing and treating heartworms in dogs for more information.
Here is another parasitic worm that is often found in dogs and that can be fatal to the animal. Threadworm is a tiny threadlike animal from which it gets its name. A dog can get the threadworm via several medium. Puppies ingest the larvae of the worm through their mothers’ milk. The larvae are transmitted in the saliva of ticks when they bite the animals. Poor sanitary conditions in communal kennels and holding areas where dogs tend to eat stools passed out by other animals.
The worm also is able to penetrate the skin of animals, and so environments that are poorly maintained are easy places for this to take place. Threadworm is transported through the bloodstream and passes from the throat and windpipe into the intestines. Dogs that are infected with threadworm can get very sick having diarrhea, painful bloated stomach, weakness, lethargy, coughing, and dehydration among other symptoms that may be displayed.
Preventing worm infestation
The best way that you can ever consider to have your dog worm-free is by prevention. This is easier said than done. Dogs are social creatures and they will go hooping after others that bear infections. Their very nature will see them eating other infected animals and their excrements. Your biggest task is to control the environment of your dog. Frequently clean and sanitize areas that he frequents such as his kennel. Periodically deworm to rid them of larvae and early stage infestation. Prevent social meetings with other dogs and animals.
Don’t forget to check our dog vaccination schedule in our previous post which includes deworming to further prevent these harmful parasites.
Natural medicine versus conventional medicine
The virtue of using natural medicine is ageless. People have always gone back to the natural elements in foods and herbs to treat their aliments and have even applied these to their animals. This they do for several reasons. Conventional medicine can be expensive. There are many people who have dogs with worm and other issues who cannot afford to take them to a vet, let alone buy the medication prescribed. Secondly, you will find out that you do not have to treat every problem with costly medical treatments.
Thirdly, conventional medicine can be hard on your dog and every care has to be given to reduce this. Prescribed medicine can affect the kidney and liver, leaving them eroded and scarred. Fourthly, natural medicines have worked time and again and have proven successful.
Our article on using natural treatment for parasites in dogs will give you more options for your pets.
Natural remedies for dogs with worms
Many natural remedies have been known for their potency in treating illnesses and disorders in dogs. Although worm in dogs is not necessarily fatal, (except you do not take action), it is not a thing that we often want to deal with. It is however important to identify that the dog has a problem and seek to get a solution. Let’s explore some of the natural remedies out there that people have used and that have worked.
Fortunately, many of these are materials that are readily available in the store, or they are grown in the backyard or can be found on some farm:
- Pumpkin seeds. One of the most potent and effective curative agent especially against tapeworm and hookworm is found in pumpkin seeds. It is said that Native Americans discovered the benefits of the product in treating kidney and other urinary problems and have used it to get rid of parasites.
Scientific studies have shown that the pumpkin seed elements are quite effective in eliminating these worms in both human and animals. Use a grinder to grind the seeds to a very fine powder consistent. Mix 1 teaspoon to every ten pounds of your dog’s weight in his food daily. Cucurbitacin, an amino acid in the pumpkin seed eliminates the parasites from the dog’s gut and at the same time providing a rich source of zinc, calcium, potassium, niacin and Vitamin A for his growth and wellbeing.
- Garlic. Garlic is a staple that is found all year round and it has been identified as one of the world’s best natural medicines when used by humans. It has also been found to have quite an effect on dogs as it can flush worm from a dog’s system. Just grate a clove or two and mix with some fennel before feeding to your dog. The herb can be very potent, so therefore give the dog in moderate amounts according to the dog’s body weight. While garlic eliminates the parasites in dogs, it also serves as a good immune system booster.
- Wormwood. This herb has been used as a dewormer for centuries, expelling tapeworm, threadworm, roundworm and many other parasites from the body. Great care must be taken when administering this product to dogs as it is known to have a serious effect on the dog’s nervous system, liver and kidney.
The Food and Drug Administration has listed this food as unsafe for internal use and which must not be applied to dogs with seizure, liver and kidney diseases, or to pregnant or lactating mothers. When using to deworm your dog, add only a quarter of a teaspoon of wormwood to your dog’s food. To be sure that you are exercising the best care when using this herb, it is recommended that you do so under the supervision of a professional vet.
- Clove. You may be more familiar with cloves as a spice used in baking or other type of cooking. However, this spice has been around for a long time and was even used in Asian cultures to cure illnesses such as malaria, scabies and malaria. It is said that you would not be able to speak to the Emperor in ancient China if you did not have a clove in your mouth to combat bad breath.
The virtues of cloves have been extended to dog care used in the treatment of parasites and often found in anti-parasitic mixtures. For deworming, give an adult dog a clove per day for one week. After this, apply the treatment every other week for the next two months. By then, parasites would have been expelled from the animal. Results are best when clove is mixed with other herbs such as black walnut and wormwood.
- Black walnut. The Black Walnut contains a variety of chemicals some of which are useful for expelling heartworm and other intestinal worms. It is said that the black walnut is used when other remedies like pumpkin seed and wormwood fail.
However, consider that if other remedies fail, before you use black walnut you may need to do something to improve your dog’s immune system. In such instance you should consult with your vet. While black walnut is good, it is highly toxic and if not given in the correct dosage, it can have adverse effects on your dog such as vomiting, diarrhea and gastritis.
- Carrot. Carrot is an excellent source of vitamin A for us human and we enjoy the vegetable in many a meal. However, never once would you think that it could be used for the removal of worms in dogs. The carrot when coarsely chopped is added to the dog’s food. When he eats, the carrot acts as roughage and as it goes through the gut, it scrapes all mucus from the walls of the stomach and intestines bringing with it all parasites that are lodged within. Carrot will not harm the dog. It is a safe source of nutrients and great support for the dog’s immune system.
- Oregon grape. The medicinal properties come from the roots of the plant. The plant has a variety of chemicals, especially berbarine a substance that has the properties to boost the immune system, fight infections and act as an antiseptic. Oregon grape is therefore found to be effective against viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. The plant also is used to cleanse and support the liver.
The medicinal properties of Oregon grape have been tapped and made available in tincture. Twelve drops to 20 pounds of dog weight twice per day is sufficient to eliminate worms that affect your dog. It is important that you administer the correct dosage and that you avoid medicating pregnant dogs and those with liver problems with the substance.
- Diatomaceous earth. This is a very interesting substance to treat your dog of wormy parasites. Diatomaceous earth is a powdery substance that is made from the fossiled remains of small animals that lived in water. This substance is used to kill pests such as bugs that tend to attack peas that farmers stored. Diatomaceous earth is an excellent means of ridding your dog of worms. The substance is available in farm stores.
Only ensure that you select the one labeled as food grade. Smaller dogs can get one teaspoon of the substance while dogs of 55 pounds could take one tablespoon daily. Always mix the substance thoroughly in the dog’s meal so they do not inhale it accidently, and cause irritation.
- Papaya. The papaya fruit has been used to treat worms in pigs successfully and may just be as good in your pet dog. Papaya is great as a source of digestive enzymes that are capable of carrying out protein digestion of parasites. Look for a mature green papaya in the nearest food store.
- Turmeric. This is a wonderful spice that is used in both commercial and local foods. The spice has anti-parasitic properties and while providing an environment that is not conducive to the growth of worms, it also heals the areas of the intestines that were infested with worm (Home Remedies for Intestinal Parasites (Worms) in Pets, 2009).
As much as worm infestation in dogs is rarely fatal, the parasites can present other serious health issues in your dog. Read our article on the dangers of getting worm infestation from your dog to see the importance of keeping Fido healthy.
Drug prescriptions do work but often prove quite an expensive affair. Then we have found that there are many home remedies that exist which are able to do the job of getting rid of worms. Only much care must be taken not to overdose your friendly pet. At the same time, dog owners are advised to do preventive care to decrease the risk of the dog getting worms.