How Long Can a Dog Have Worms Before It Dies?

How Long Can a Dog Have Worms Before It Dies?

Worms are a common problem in dogs, and they can be difficult to get rid of. Parasites can cause serious problems for your dog’s health. It’s important to know how long your dog can have worms before it becomes fatal.

This article will explore the most common types of worms found in dogs, symptoms of worm infestation, and treatment methods.

How Do Dogs Get Infected With Worms?

Dogs can get infected with worms in several ways. Puppies often contract worms from their mother, either through the placenta or while nursing.

Adult dogs can also get infected by worms while grooming themselves, hunting infected animals, or coming into contact with infected objects like contaminated water, soil, or feces.

Worm eggs or larvae can be found in the environment. When a dog sniffs or licks an area where these eggs are present, they can easily be ingested.

Types of Worms That Dogs Get

There are several types of worms that commonly infect dogs. These include roundworms, tapeworms, heartworms, and hookworms.


Roundworms are often transmitted from the mother to the puppies after birth or even when they are in utero. These types of worms are found in the small intestine and can grow up to seven inches in length.

Once inside the host’s (dog) body, they go through several stages of growth and finally become enclosed within a cyst in body tissues.


Dogs can get ringworm through contact with other infected animals or humans, or by touching contaminated objects or surfaces. Ringworm in dogs often appears as a dry, gray, scaly patch on the skin, but it can also cause inflammation, redness, hair loss, and itchiness.

In some cases, dogs can carry the ringworm fungus without showing any symptoms, making it difficult to detect and easy to spread to others.


Tapeworms are long, flat, and segmented worms found in the intestines of dogs. Tapeworm infection in dogs is caused by fleas or rodents carrying tapeworm larvae.

Fleas carrying the tapeworm egg get attached to a dog’s fur during walks or when they are playing outside in the yard. Once the dog swallows the flea, the tapeworm egg hatches and attaches itself to the intestinal lining.


Heartworms are the only ones that dogs don’t pick up from their environment. These worms are transmitted through mosquito bites. Mosquitoes ingest tiny immature worms called microfilaria when they bite an infected dog.

The microfilaria grows for around 10-14 days within the mosquito’s body and then travels to its mouthpiece. The microfilaria then enters their host when the mosquito bites an uninfected dog.


Hookworms are a type of intestinal parasite that is commonly found in warm and moist environments. They are called hookworms due to their bent head and mouthpart, which resemble a hook.

These worms use their hook-like mouthpart to anchor themselves to the inner lining of their host’s intestinal wall.

How Long Can a Dog Have Worms Before It Dies?

The length of time a dog can have worms before it becomes fatal varies greatly depending on the type of worm, the severity of the infestation, the dog’s overall health, and whether or not the dog is receiving treatment.

For instance, heartworms are one of the most dangerous types of worms. If left untreated, a heartworm infestation can become life-threatening within just a few months due to the damage these worms cause to the heart and lungs.

On the other hand, dogs can live with other types of worms, such as roundworms and tapeworms, for several years without experiencing life-threatening effects. However, these worms can still cause significant discomfort and health issues, such as weight loss, diarrhea, and anemia.

It’s important to note that while some dogs may be able to survive for some time with worms, this doesn’t mean that the worms aren’t causing harm.

Even a mild worm infestation can lead to significant health problems over time, including malnutrition, damage to the intestines, and a weakened immune system.

This is why it’s so crucial to get your dog treated for worms as soon as possible. The sooner the worms are eliminated, the less harm they can do to your dog’s body, and the quicker your dog can recover.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Regular vet check-ups, deworming, good hygiene, and a balanced diet can all help to prevent worm infestations and keep your dog healthy and happy.

How to Know If A Dog Has Worms?

Worm infestation in dogs is tough to spot until it is already too late. But worm infestation can negatively impact your dog’s general health condition and appearance.

Be on the lookout for these changes: a sudden change in your dog’s appetite, a bloated belly, a dull and dry coat, lethargy, vomiting, persistent coughing, diarrhea, scooting, skin allergy, and worm in fur or fecal matter.

Worm Infestation in Dogs: Treatment Methods

Worm infestation is a common issue seen in dogs. It is easily treatable, and stop worrying about how long can a dog have worms before it dies.

Here are some things that you can do if you think your dog has worms and the basic treatment for worms in dogs:

  • Deworming Medication: Deworming medications are the most common and effective treatment for worms in dogs. These medications are designed to kill the adult worms in your dog’s intestines. They come in various forms, including tablets, granules, and liquids, and are typically administered orally. The type of medication and the dosage will depend on the type of worm your dog has, its size, and its overall health.
  • Natural Remedies: Some dog owners prefer to use natural remedies to treat worms. These can include dietary changes, such as adding certain foods to your dog’s diet that are believed to help eliminate worms, like grated carrots, fermented foods, or pumpkin seeds. There are also herbal deworming treatments available that use ingredients like wormwood and black walnut. However, while these remedies may help support your dog’s overall health, they are typically not as effective as deworming medications at eliminating worms.
  • Proper Hygiene: Maintaining good hygiene is crucial for preventing and controlling worm infestations. This includes promptly picking up and disposing of your dog’s feces, preventing your dog from eating feces, regularly cleaning and disinfecting your dog’s living area, and washing your hands after handling your dog or cleaning up its feces. Regular grooming and bathing can also help remove any eggs or larvae from your dog’s fur.

Regular Testing for Worms in Dogs

While you may not think of worms in dogs as a threat to your dog’s health, it’s a good idea to regularly test your dog for worms to ensure its overall health. If you find out that your dog is infected, it’s best to get it tested for these parasites before the parasites begin to kill your dog.

Flea Control for Dogs

Flea control for dogs is vital to the prevention of flea infestation. Pets are constantly at risk of picking up fleas from public places such as kennels and pet groomers.

They can also be picked up while roaming the yard or from wildlife. The best way to prevent a flea infestation is to have your pet on a regular prevention schedule.

We always recommend using a flea and tick collar for your dog.

Importance of Hygiene in Preventing Worm Infestation

Practicing good hygiene like regular waste removal, hand washing, and bathing your dog can help break the life cycle of certain parasites and reduce reinfection risks.

The Impact of Worms on a Dog’s Health

Worms can have a significant impact on a dog’s health. Depending on the type of worm, the effects can range from mild discomfort to severe health issues.

For instance, roundworms can cause diarrhea and vomiting, leading to malnutrition and weight loss. Tapeworms can lead to similar symptoms and may cause your dog to have an itchy rear.

Heartworms are particularly dangerous as they live in the heart and blood vessels of the lungs, causing severe lung disease and heart failure. Hookworms are blood-suckers, attaching to the intestinal wall where they suck blood, leading to internal blood loss.

It’s important to note that while some dogs may show obvious signs of worm infestation, such as weight loss, changes in appetite, or a dull coat, others may not show any signs at all. This is why regular vet check-ups and fecal tests are crucial for early detection and treatment.

Preventing Worm Infestation in Dogs

Worms are a common problem in dogs, but they can be easily prevented with a few simple steps.

  • Regular Deworming: The most important step in preventing worm infestation is regular deworming. Puppies should be dewormed every two weeks until they are 12 weeks old, then monthly until they are six months old. After six months, dogs should be dewormed every three months.
  • Good Hygiene: Good hygiene can also help prevent worm infestation. This includes picking up your dog’s feces promptly, preventing your dog from eating feces, and regularly cleaning and disinfecting your dog’s living area.
  • Flea Treatment: Regular flea treatment is also essential, as fleas are often infected with tapeworms. If your dog ingests an infected flea, they can become infected with tapeworms.
  • A Balanced Diet: Feeding your dog a balanced diet can boost their immune system, making them less susceptible to worm infestation.

Following these simple steps can help keep your dog healthy and free of worms.

Here are some additional tips for preventing worm infestation in dogs:

  • Avoid letting your dog play in areas where there is a lot of dog feces, such as dog parks and beaches.
  • If your dog does come into contact with dog feces, wash their paws thoroughly with soap and water.
  • If you have children, teach them to wash their hands after playing with your dog or handling their food and toys.

If you think your dog may have worms, take them to the vet for a diagnosis and treatment. With proper prevention and care, your dog can stay healthy and free of worms.

The Role of Vets in Treating Worms in Dogs

If you suspect your dog has worms, it’s important to consult with a vet immediately. The vet will likely perform a fecal test to determine the type of worms and the severity of the infestation.

Once the type of worm is identified, the vet will prescribe a course of treatment. This usually involves oral medication that kills the worms. The medication may need to be administered multiple times to ensure all worms and their eggs are killed.

In severe cases, such as heartworm infestation, more aggressive treatment may be required. This can include injections and hospitalization.

The Importance of Regular Vet Check-ups

Regular vet check-ups are crucial for early detection and treatment of worms. During a check-up, the vet will perform a thorough physical examination and may also perform a fecal test to check for worms.

Regular check-ups are especially important for puppies and older dogs, as they are more susceptible to worm infestation.


Worms in dogs are a common but treatable problem. With regular vet check-ups, deworming, good hygiene, and a balanced diet, you can keep your dog healthy and worm-free.

Remember, the earlier worms are detected, the easier they are to treat, so don’t wait until your dog shows symptoms to take action.

By ensuring that your beloved pooch is happy, healthy, and worm-free, you can continue to have many more adventures together.

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