Do Dog Worms Live Outside of the Dog Once Passed?

by Betty Lewis
Parasite eggs last a long time outdoors, putting dogs -- and sometimes people -- at risk for infection.

Parasite eggs last a long time outdoors, putting dogs -- and sometimes people -- at risk for infection.

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Creepy, slithery worms: the thought of a parasite living in your dog can make your skin crawl. However, just about every dog has had at least one of the common worms: hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, whipworm and heartworm. You can kill those nasty parasites, but getting rid of their larvae is key to keeping your pup worm-free.

Moving On to Greener Pastures

Dogs pick up parasites a variety of ways; a pregnant and nursing mother passes them on to her puppies, an infected mosquito shares his infection with an unsuspecting dog, or a dog ingests an infected flea while grooming. Regardless of how a dog gets the worm, the goal of treatment is the same: get rid of the worm, either by killing it inside the dog, or forcing it to release its grip on its host to die after it passes through the dog's system. You may spy some movement in a roundworm that passes through your pup, but the parasite can't survive outside its host environment, so its life outside is short-lived. Other worms, such as hookworm, are killed by prescribed medication, so any worms that pass through your dog are dead on arrival. However, it's not the worm's condition you should be concerned about. The intestinal parasite's larvae are alive when they hitch a ride to the outside world via your pup's poop, where they lay in wait to infect another animal to feed from. Some parasite eggs are hardier than others, able to survive in extreme environments. Going outside is just the break they need to begin again.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images