What intestinal worms could my dog have?

There are several different species of intestinal worms in dogs, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms.

It’s important to know about the different types of worms and how to protect your dog.

Roundworms in dogs

Adult roundworms live in the small intestine. Roundworm infestations in puppies are common. Puppies can get roundworms from their mother when they are in the womb, or from her milk when they are feeding. They can also be infested by ingesting eggs from the environment or by consuming infested rodents or birds. Signs of roundworm infestation in puppies may include a pot-bellied appearance, stunted growth and diarrhoea. Roundworm eggs are very hardy, and can survive in the environment for years and can be a source of constant re-infection.

Roundworm symptoms in dogs may be mild or even absent and so it can be difficult to know if your dog has roundworms. A deworming product such as NexGard SPECTRA® for Dogs, HeartGard30® PLUS or ParaGard® Allwormer for Dogs will help to protect your dog from roundworms.

Hookworm in dogs

Hookworms are thin, small worms that attach to your dog’s intestinal wall. The signs of hookworm are related to the damage that they can cause to the intestine and the blood that can be lost from their feeding.

Hookworm symptoms in dogs can include:

  • Bloody diarrhoea
  • Weight loss
  • Dull coat
  • Anaemia
  • Pale gums
  • Weakness

In severe cases, hookworm infestations can be fatal and so if you have any concerns about your dog’s health, please contact your vet. Hookworm is diagnosed by detecting eggs in the faeces by microscopic examination.


Whipworms are thin, thread-like worms that live in your dog’s large intestine. Diagnosing whipworm in dogs can be difficult as they do not produce as many eggs as some other intestinal worms (e.g. roundworm) and so a microscopic examination of a faecal sample may miss the diagnosis.

The typical symptom of a whipworm infestation is diarrhoea which is sometimes bloody. Severe infestations may result in anaemia, weight loss and in some cases, death. So what is best for whipworm prevention in dogs? Using NexGard SPECTRA for Dogs monthly will treat and control whipworm in dogs, as well as protecting against other common intestinal worms (hookworm and roundworm), fleas, ticks, mites and heartworm.

intestinal worms in dogs 2
intestinal worms in dogs 2

Tapeworms in dogs

Tapeworms are parasites which require an intermediate host in their life cycle. For example, flea tapeworms are transmitted between dogs by fleas and hydatid tapeworms are transmitted between dogs by grazing animals (e.g. sheep or kangaroos).

When it comes to the best tapeworm treatment for dogs, we recommend ParaGard Allwormer for Dogs, a liver flavoured worming tablet which treats and controls a wide range of intestinal worms, including tapeworm.

Read on to find out more about flea tapeworm and hydatid tapeworm in dogs.

Flea tapeworms

Did you know that fleas can cause tapeworm infestations in dogs? Flea tapeworm is the most common tapeworm in dogs in Australia. Fleas carry the tapeworm larvae, so if your dog ingests an infested flea during grooming the adult tapeworm can develop and grow in the dog’s intestine. Flea tapeworm segments passed in the faeces of infested dogs look like small white grains of rice. Effective flea control with NexGard for Dogs or NexGard SPECTRA for Dogs prevents flea tapeworm infestations in your dog. To treat an existing flea tapeworm infestation, use ParaGard Allwormer for Dogs.

Hydatid tapeworm

Another tapeworm that can infest dogs is the hydatid tapeworm.  Although relatively rare in pet dogs, this worm is an important one to be aware of as dogs may transmit this worm to humans, where it can result in serious disease.

Adult hydatid tapeworms are small and live in the dog’s small intestine. Worm segments containing eggs are passed in the dog's faeces and contaminate the environment. The eggs may then be ingested by an intermediate host (grazing animals such as sheep or kangaroos). Hydatid cysts develop in the organs of the intermediate host and dogs become infested by eating raw offal (organs) which contain the hydatid cysts. Because of this, it primarily affects farm dogs fed raw offal or dogs which scavenge from carcasses. Hydatid tapeworm in dogs is 100% preventable if dogs are restricted from eating raw offal or scavenging on carcasses. Dogs at risk of hydatid tapeworm (access to offal or carcasses) should be treated with ParaGard every 6 weeks.



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