Did you know that there are five different types of worms that can seriously affect your animals? One of the most common health problems for dogs and other animals is worms. Worms generally negatively impact a dog's health, and in this continuing series, we will discuss each type of worm:

  • Heartworms
  • Hookworms
  • Roundworms
  • Whipworms
  • Tapeworms 

Some of the worm types are much easier to spot than the others. When you see something that looks like grains of rice in your dog’s stool, it is probably tapeworm. Heartworm is much harder to diagnose. An infection in your dog might only show subtle symptoms until it has progressed to an advanced stage.

Symptoms of Worms in Dogs

The most common symptoms of worms in dogs are the following items:

Low energy

If your dog suddenly becomes lethargic and less active than usual, it may be a symptom of having worms.


Worms can also present themselves as a symptom of soft stools and canine diarrhea. Dogs with hookworms can have blood in their stools too.


If your pet throws up, this can be a symptom of works, especially roundworms.

Change in appetite

Another system is a sudden change in your dog’s appetite. Your furry loved one may have come into contact with roundworms. Dogs that lose their appetite completed are often infected.

Bloated appearance

Your dog may have contracted worms if they are bloated or starts to appear pot-bellied. This is a common symptom in puppies if they have picked up worms from their mother.

Weight loss

If your dog has a rapid weight loss, they may have a whipworm or tapeworm.


Coughing can be a symptom when your dog has an advanced stage of heartworms. A cough may be present in dogs with hookworms and roundworms too.

Itching and signs of skin irritations

Skin irritation may indicate that your dog may have a severe infestation of worms.

Dull coat

A shiny, thick coat is a sign that your dog is healthy. A symptom of worms is that your dog’s coat begins to dull and dry out. Rashes or hair loss can also indicate worms.

Rubbing its bottom on the ground or "scooting."

Dogs occasionally rub their rear ends on the floor in order to relieve themselves of an itch that may be caused due to worms in the area. This behavior can also be caused by problems with the anal glands as well.

Visible worms in fur or fecal matter

Tapeworms can appear as tiny moving items in a dog’s fur or area around their anus. Check your dog’s stools for roundworms.

If you Suspect Worms

Worms can seriously damage your dog’s internal organs and lead to loss of consciousness and death if untreated. If your dog has any of these symptoms of worms, contact your vet immediately.

Once diagnosed, most intestinal worms can be reasonably easy to treat with medication. Heartworm is much more severe to your dog's health. Treatment can be expensive and difficult for your dog. The best approach with heartworm is monthly preventive medication, which can also prevent other worm infections. Contact your vet for recommendations for your dog.

Animal Care Center in Smyrna, GA, is owned and operated by Otto H. Williams, DVM. The veterinary practice specializes in complete healthcare for cats and dogs and offers services including preventative, surgical and nonsurgical care, internal medicine, grooming and boarding to Cobb County and surrounding cities such as Vinings, Marietta, Mableton and Sandy Springs. Call today at 770.438.2694 or request an appointment.