What Does a Dog Act Like If He Has Worms?

by Jodi Thornton O'Connell Google
    Check for worms under his tail if he frequently licks his bottom.

    Check for worms under his tail if he frequently licks his bottom.

    Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    A dog's stoic disposition sometimes leaves little clue as to how he is feeling. When he gets infected by parasitic worms that live deep inside his body, the condition may go unnoticed until a dog becomes seriously ill. Subtle shifts in your dog's behavior often provide the first clues that he is under attack from the parasites.

    Can't Sit Still

    Parasites such as roundworms and tapeworms pass through the dog's intestinal tract and out with his feces, causing anal itching and burning. Scooter may drag his bottom across your carpet to relieve the discomfort, or spend time licking his anus and biting the hair around it. Take a peek under his tail to look for tapeworm segments or pale pink roundworms in his fur. Follow up with your vet for a test to see if he has parasites if you see worms or his obsession with his backside continues.

    Sir Coughs-a-Lot

    If your dog is constantly clearing his throat or coughing, don't automatically write it off as allergies. Heartworms and lungworms infest their namesake organs, causing blockages that make a dog cough to try to rid himself of the sensation. While a heartworm cough is known as a "soft cough" -- the dog version of throat-clearing -- lungworms often cause a hacking cough or wheezing as the dog struggles to pass air through increasingly blocked airways.

    They Make Him Sick

    If your dog is vomiting or has frequent diarrhea without a discernible cause, he might have parasites. Take a look at his vomit or feces to see if you can see any tapeworm segments or rice-sized, pale pink roundworms moving around. Whipworms and hookworms often cause blood to show up in the feces. A dog infected with hookworms or whipworms often has pale gums caused by anemia from blood loss.

    Diary of a Couch Potato

    As a dog's parasite load increases, he may just want to lie around and have less interest in going for a walk or playing a game of fetch. Despite his inactivity, he may start to grow thin and develop a rough, dull texture to his coat. He may seem sad and distracted as he stares into space with a listless look in his eyes. Have your dog checked by a vet to decide whether parasites are the cause of his inactivity.

    Photo Credits

    • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Jodi Thornton O'Connell has been an outdoorswoman for more than 45 years. She shares her love of adventure in columns for "Out-and-About Magazine," "Adam’s Rib," "Senior Christian Lifestyles," "Creede Magazine" and various websites.

    Trending Dog Behavior Articles

    Have a question? Get an answer from a Vet now!