How Do Pet Dogs and Cats Get Worms

Knoji reviews products and up-and-coming brands we think you'll love. In certain cases, we may receive a commission from brands mentioned in our guides. Learn more.
How do pet cats get worms, how do pet dogs get worms? How to diagnose worms in a pet, how to treat worms in a cat or dog. How do pets get heartworm? How to protect a pet from getting worms. Learn the different ways that pets get worms. Worms are int

Our pet cats and dogs, as well as other animals, are often plagued with parasites. Internal worms can be a real problem, and if neglected can cause health problems, even death.

Knowing how our cats, or dogs. get worms is important in preventing these internal parasites.

There are many different types of worms and each is slightly different in terms of how our pets get them.

Mosquitoes

Heartworm is more of a problem in dogs, but does occur in cats too. Heartworm is fatal when enough worms build up in a dogs heart. Heartworm is spread via mosquitoes. The mosquito takes blood from an infected animal, sucking up tiny eggs or larval worms in the blood it drinks – these are then transferred to the next dog where they begin to grow and eventually live in the heart muscle.

Fleas

It is interesting to know pets with fleas can get tapeworms from eating the fleas when they itch using their mouth they actually end up swallowing fleas, the fleas can carry tape worm eggs.

Mutual Grooming

Tapeworms can be transferred through grooming, as tiny segments of tape worm often cling to the fur around an animals anus or on their tail.

Coprophagia

Eating another animals stool (coprophagia) is another way animals can come into contact with tapeworms and most other worms. Quite simply put an animal who has worms may shed some, or shed some worm eggs in their stool. This behavior is more common in dogs than in cats.

Eating Grass

Once the stool has broken down, or even been cleaned up, there still may be some worm eggs in the environment. These eggs can be dormant for months. Very small worm larva move up stalks of grass. This is one way rabbits, sheep, and other grazing animals come into contact with worms, however dogs, and cats, who eat grass will also find themselves eating tiny worms which will grow once inside a host animal.

Filthy Yards

When owners do not keep their yards clean greatly increase their pets chances of re-infesting itself with worms. As well this will attract flies, which can result in the deadly concern known as “Fly Strike”, a problem with maggots, not worms..

From their Mother

If a mother cat, or dog, has worms, she will very likely pass worms on to her kittens or pups.

Eating an Animal with Worms

Cats, or dogs, who eat wild animals are very likely to get worms. Worms are common in mice, gophers, birds, and pretty much any animal a cat, or dog, might eat.

Uncooked Meat

Pork is of particularly concern as it may contain worms.

cats outside

photo by author

How to Know if a Cat or Dog has Worms

You may notice the pet is eating a lot, but not gaining weight, it may have a bloated appearance, and will always be hungry (this can also be a problem when pets are fed low quality diets). You may notice diarrhea, particularly if it has blood in it. Worms may be noticed in the stool, or in heavy cases pets may vomit worms.  Lethargy and excessive shedding are also symptoms of a heavy worm infestation.

Heartworm can be suspected if a dog is coughing after exercise, and seems not to have a normal amount of energy for its age and breed.

What to do if a Cat or Dog has Worms

There are many kinds of worms and worming products do not treat all kinds of worms. Therefore taking a stool sample to the veterinarian is important to determine what kind of worms a pet has (even if no worms can be seen in the stool, there may be eggs).

Once the kind of worms are known treatment can take place.

Again owners need to be aware that over the counter wormer is not always effective against all types of worms.

Keeping a clean yard will also reduce our pets chances of contacting worms, and always cleaning up after our pet is important. Cats can have their risk reduced if kept in a proper outdoor cat enclosure. Proper flea medication (again not over the counter flea medication – which has been linked to pet deaths) should be used only if fleas are known to be active.

Before any animal is to be bred, it should be wormed.

Pets who go outdoors should be wormed regularly, in some cases this may mean every six months.  Prevention measures should be taken against heartworm in dogs through a vaccination program.

Further Reading

Flea Medications Linked to Pet Deaths

Fly Strike - Flies Kill Pets

13 comments

Guest
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 26, 2010
lisa leverton
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 22, 2010
Kaleidoscope Acres
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 22, 2010
lisa leverton
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 22, 2010
lisa leverton
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 22, 2010
Ron Siojo
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 22, 2010
Kaleidoscope Acres
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 21, 2010
deepblue
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 21, 2010
lisa leverton
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 21, 2010
James R. Coffey
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 21, 2010
lisa leverton
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 21, 2010
Charlene Collins
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 21, 2010
James R. Coffey
0
This comment has 0 votes  by
Posted on Nov 21, 2010

About This Article

Kaleidoscope Acres

Explore Top Pet Supply Stores

Chewy Review Compare Chewy vs. top competitors See 6 Chewy Discount Codes PetSmart Review Compare PetSmart vs. top competitors See 5 PetSmart Coupon Codes Petco Review Compare Petco vs. top competitors See 63 Petco Promo Codes Rover.com Review Compare Rover.com vs. top competitors See 5 Rover.com Coupon Codes Healthy Paws Review Compare Healthy Paws vs. top competitors See 4 Healthy Paws Discount Codes BarkBox Review Compare BarkBox vs. top competitors See 27 BarkBox Discount Codes LiveAquaria Review Compare LiveAquaria vs. top competitors See 33 LiveAquaria Discount Codes Wag! Walking Review Compare Wag! Walking vs. top competitors See 14 Wag! Walking Coupon Codes 1-800-Petmeds Review Compare 1-800-Petmeds vs. top competitors See 8 1-800-Petmeds Discount Codes CertaPet Review Compare CertaPet vs. top competitors See CertaPet Discount Codes American Kennel Club Review Compare American Kennel Club vs. top competitors See American Kennel Club Coupon Codes Sway Review Compare Sway vs. top competitors See Sway Promo Codes Pets at Home Review Compare Pets at Home vs. top competitors See 4 Pets at Home Promo Codes Allivet Review Compare Allivet vs. top competitors See 32 Allivet Discount Codes PetFlow Review Compare PetFlow vs. top competitors See 182 PetFlow Discount Codes AKC Shop Review Compare AKC Shop vs. top competitors See 3 AKC Shop Coupons Doctors Foster and Smith Review Compare Doctors Foster and Smith vs. top competitors See 23 Doctors Foster and Smith Discount Codes Top-ranked pet need stores >>