How Long Can A Dog Have Worms Before It Dies | Dog Health

Having parasites in your pet’s system can be a frightening experience. With so many potential negative health consequences, including nausea, vomiting, weight loss and dehydration, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible. One of the major concerns people have when their dog has worms is how long they will last before possibly leading to death. This blog post will answer that question: how long can a dog have worms before it dies? We will take you through the various signs and symptoms of parasitic infections in dogs and explain why getting help from a veterinarian is essential for treating these conditions. 

Learn About What Is Worms In Dogs?

Worms are parasitic organisms commonly found in domestic dogs. Five types of worms affect dogs: roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms and heartworms. Symptoms of worm infestation vary based on the type of worm and the breed of dog. While some worms can be easily treated, others can cause serious health issues and even death if left untreated.

The Importance Of Treating Worms In Dogs

Worms can lead to pet suffering, illness and death. Some kinds of worms can spread between pets and people, causing illnesses.Even healthy-looking animals can carry worms, making it essential to worm pets regularly. Vets will advise on the appropriate treatment and method for individual pets. Perhaps the most crucial part of pet ownership is keeping them healthy and happy. Our four-legged friends are capable of bringing so much joy, love, and companionship into our lives that we have a responsibility to take care of them in return.

Causes Of Worm Infestations In Dogs

Here are some of the main reasons why dogs experience worm infestations:

• Consumption of infected soil, stool, vomit, or intermediate hosts such as rodents, earthworms, birds, or roaches can result in infection.
• Infection can also occur through skin and paw invasion.
• Parasites can be passed from pregnant mother to fetus.
• Additionally, puppies may be exposed to parasites from their mother’s milk.

Causes Of Worm Infestations In Dogs

Symptoms Of Worm Infestations In Dogs

Itchy bottom

If your dog is scooting, it may have intestinal worms causing irritation in its anus. The only way to relieve the pain is for the dog to rub its bottom on the floor. Other medical conditions related to anal glands could also be the cause, and you should consult a vet if your dog seems irritated.

Visible signs of worms

It is not possible to detect the presence of all types of worms through visual inspection of a dog’s feces. However, sometimes parts of worms may be observable in canine feces, which indicates the necessity for treatment. Flea tapeworm segments resemble grains or rice in size and shape, while roundworms look like strands of spaghetti.


Worms may be present in dogs, leading to decreased energy and possible anemia. Anemia can be life-threatening for pups, so any changes in energy levels should prompt a visit to the vet. Blood and nutrients are taken away by worms, resulting in weakness and fatigue.


Dogs can be infected with intestinal worms, such as hookworm and whipworm, which can cause diarrhoea and soft stools. Prolonged diarrhoea can lead to dehydration, particularly in smaller breeds. Severe cases may also involve the presence of blood or mucus in the faeces, indicating a more serious problem.


Worms can cause vomiting in dogs, with segments or adult worms detectable in puppies with heavy infestations. Vomiting can lead to dehydration. If a pet begins vomiting they should be taken to a vet as soon as possible, as there may be an underlying medical condition causing the vomiting.

Changes in appetite and weight loss 

Signs of possible worms in dogs include loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, and increased appetite. Intestinal worms can cause poor body condition and pale gums in dogs. In puppies, worm infestations can lead to stunted growth.

Bloated stomach

Dogs with a bloated, swollen or tender abdomen may have worms. Puppies with this symptom may be particularly susceptible and are often referred to as having a ‘pot belly’. Worms can be passed from mother dogs to their puppies either via the placenta during pregnancy or through nursing.


A cough in a dog could be indicative of heartworms or intestinal worms such as roundworms and hookworms. Regardless of the cause, coughing in a dog indicates a serious medical issue that needs to be addressed promptly.

Dull coat

A lack of a glossy coat in a dog may be an indication of worms. Other signs to look out for include dry or thin coats, rashes, and skin irritations. If any of these signs are observed, veterinary attention should be sought.

How Worm Infestations Affect Dogs?

Dogs can become infected with worms after ingesting the eggs or larvae. Worms are parasitic and need to live off dogs for survival. Worms can proliferate in the intestines, heart, and other vital organs, causing digestive and respiratory distress and a reduction in heart function. It is important for pet owners to understand the effects of worm infestations on their dogs and how to prevent them.

Can Worms Kill A Dog In A Short Time?

Very unwell dogs with many worms, particularly puppies, are at risk of death. If they show concerning signs including food refusal, dehydration, and weight loss, death can occur within a few days without treatment. Although worms do not kill a dog in a short time, they can cause serious and potentially fatal health issues if left untreated. Many dog owners often wonder how long it takes for worms to kill their beloved pet. The answer to this question is not straightforward as it depends on several factors such as the type of worm, the number of worms present, and the overall health of the dog.

How Long Can A Dog Have Worms Before It Dies?

The answer depends on how severe the infestation is and how quickly it is treated. If left untreated, an infestation can become fatal within a few days or weeks. It is important to seek veterinary help as soon as possible if you suspect your dog has worms so that treatment can be administered immediately and further health problems can be avoided.

How Long Can A Dog Have Worms Before It Dies?

Factors That Affect The Duration Of A Worm Infestation In Dogs

The duration of a worm infestation in dogs can be affected by several factors, including how long the worms have been present and how quickly treatment is administered. Additionally, the age and health of the dog can affect how quickly they are able to recover from an infestation. It is important to seek veterinary help immediately if you suspect your pet has become infected with parasites.

Consequences Of Untreated Worm Infestations In Dogs

Roundworms can cause poor growth and death if left untreated. The raccoon roundworm, Baylisascaris procyonis (B. procyonis), is a rare type of roundworm found in parts of North America which can infect dogs. This type of roundworm infection is known as visceral larva migrans and can be fatal if left untreated. Ingestion of the infective eggs from contaminated feces or soil leads to migration of the larvae through the body, causing damage to various organs such as the liver, lungs, and brain.

Prevention And Treatment Of Worm Infestations In Dogs

Treatment for most types of worms is provided through deworming medication, given either orally or by injection. Certain dewormers such as those for tapeworms dissolve the worms so that they are not passed in the stool. In many cases, multiple doses of medication will be required for successful treatment. Preventative measures such as regular deworming and good sanitation practices are also crucial in controlling worm infestations in dogs.

Prevention And Treatment Of Worm Infestations In Dogs

Conclusion: How Long Can A Dog Have Worms Before It Dies

It is important to monitor your dog closely for signs of illness and take them to the vet if you suspect they have become infected with parasites. Without prompt treatment, a worm infestation can be fatal for a dog. If left untreated, an infestation can become fatal within a few days or weeks. Therefore, it is essential to seek veterinary help as soon as possible if you suspect your pet has worms so that treatment can be administered and further health problems can be avoided.

Related: what are the first signs of heartworms in dogs

FAQ: Dog Worms 

What types of worms can dogs get?

Dogs can easily acquire intestinal worms, which include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Symptoms from each type of worm vary in intensity and nature. Infection can be caused by a variety of sources.

Can worm infestations in dogs be prevented?

Regular worming treatment is essential for optimal health in adult dogs. Veterinary worming products are safe and effective for treating worms. Adult dogs should be administered worming treatment at least every 3 months.

How often should dogs be dewormed?

Puppies must be dewormed every two weeks until they are 12 weeks old, then monthly until 6 months. From 6 months onwards, dogs should be dewormed at least every three months. Dogs that hunt or scavenge may need to be dewormed more frequently due to increased risk of worms.

What are the treatment options for worm infestations in dogs?

Treatment of most worms requires deworming medication, given orally or by injection. Certain medications dissolve worms so they won’t be visible in stool, such as those for tapeworms. Multiple treatments may be necessary.

Are there any natural remedies for treating worm infestations in dogs?

Fermented vegetables, pumpkin seeds, black cumin seeds, thyme, parsley, bone broth and fresh garlic are beneficial for prevention and treatment of worms. These foods boost overall health and wellbeing.

Can over-the-counter dewormers be harmful to dogs?

Risky to use natural remedies and over-the-counter dewormers for dogs, as they may not work or can cause harm. Prescription medications are tested and safe, making them effective for treating parasites.

How do I know if my dog’s worm infestation is getting worse?

Pets may not show any signs of a mild or newly acquired worm infestation. As the infestation worsens, possible symptoms include: diarrhea (possibly with blood), visible worms in the stool or on the dog’s hind end, and weight loss.

What should I do if my dog has a severe worm infestation?

Treatment for worms typically comes in the form of deworming medication, which can be administered orally or by injection. Certain dewormers are designed to dissolve the worms so that they will not be visible in the stool; this applies mainly to tapeworms. Multiple treatments may be necessary.

Can dogs get re-infected with worms after treatment?

Treatment of worms in pets is typically done with products that have no persistent action, leaving animals vulnerable to becoming reinfected. Veterinarians generally recommend treating pets every 3-6 months, but this can vary depending on a pet’s outdoor activity such as hunting or eating dead wildlife.

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