Worms In Puppies – Symptoms and Treatment

Intestinal worms can cause severe disease in puppies, and some of them can infect people too. Read on to learn more about puppies and worms, including information on puppies and deworming.

Puppy laying on a teddy bear.
Puppy laying on a teddy bear.

Types of worms in puppies

There are four major types of intestinal worms in puppies to be aware of:

  • Roundworms are long, white worms and resemble spaghetti, residing in the small intestine. 
  • Hookworms are shorter than roundworms and have sharp, biting mouthparts. They attach to the intestinal wall and feed on blood. In severe infestations the blood loss can be fatal.  
  • Whipworms can cause significant disease in dogs of all ages. These parasites reside in the large intestine, where their thin heads burrow into the intestinal wall.
  • Tapeworms do not generally cause significant signs of illness in dogs. The flea tapeworm, the most common tapeworm infesting dogs in Australia, is transmitted by fleas. 

Worms in puppies symptoms

Symptoms of worms in puppies can vary depending on the type of worm. Signs may include:

  • Diarrhoea: Bloody diarrhoea may develop with hookworm infestations, while dogs with whipworms may experience diarrhoea with mucus. There are many causes of diarrhoea in puppies so it’s best to consult your vet.
  • Pot belly: A common symptom of roundworm in puppies.
  • Itchy bottom: Rubbing their bottom on the ground is a potential indicator of worms in puppies. However, an itchy bottom can also result from other conditions, so it’s important to consult your vet.
  • Worms in puppy faeces: Sometimes worms (or segments of worms in the case of tapeworms) may be seen in puppy faeces. This can actually be one of the side effects of deworming a puppy as the dead or dying worms may be passed in the faeces. 
  • No symptoms: Frequently, there are no symptoms at all. For instance, puppies and dogs with tapeworms typically do not display symptoms.

How to choose a dewormer for puppies

When looking for the best dewormer for puppies, the sheer number of options can be confusing. It’s important to always check the product information for the minimum age and weight of the product to be used. Talk to your vet if you need advice so you can choose the right product for your puppy.

Side effects of deworming a puppy

Puppy deworming products are generally very safe and effective, however, all medicines for humans and animals have the potential to cause side effects. If you have any questions about the safety of a product for your individual puppy, it’s best to speak to your vet.

Worm prevention for puppies

The NexGard® Range includes highly effective puppy worming tablets and chews.

  • NexGard SPECTRA® is a dewormer for puppies from 8 weeks of age and 1.35 kg bodyweight. NexGard SPECTRA makes parasite control simple because it provides the most complete protection against fleas, ticks, mites, heartworm and intestinal worms, all in one tasty chew.
  • HeartGard30® Plus: A highly palatable real beef chew to provide protection against intestinal worms (roundworm and hookworm) and heartworm. It can be used in puppies from 6 weeks of age. 
  • ParaGard® Allwormer for Small Dogs and Puppies: Liver flavoured broad-spectrum dewormer tablets for puppies and small dogs that can be used from 2 weeks of age. 


  • Can a puppy survive having worms?

    Worm infestations can cause serious disease in puppies but they are rarely fatal when treated appropriately. If you have any concerns about your puppy’s health, it best to speak to your veterinarian. 

  • How long can worms stay in a puppy?

    Some types of worms can live for years if not treated. That’s why it’s important to give puppies and dogs regular deworming treatments. 

  • How serious are worms in puppies?

    Although they can cause serious illness, there are highly effective treatments for worms in puppies. Regular deworming is important to protect puppies and dogs from worms. 

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NEXGARD SPECTRA®, NEXGARD®, HEARTGARD30® and PARAGARD® are registered trademarks of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group.
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