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Six ways your dog could pick up worms

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Heartworm and intestinal parasites like roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms are often hiding in plain sight. Find out how your dog can come in contact with them.
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A sad dog with his head on his paws

1. Eating worm eggs or worm larvae 

Many parasites live in the grass and soil outside your home, and some parasites – like hookworms and roundworms – can survive there, making it easy for your dog to pick up these parasites when he’s outside sniffing around, exploring and playing with toys. For example, roundworm eggs can pass into the soil from the faeces of an infected animal and lie dormant for a year or more, and your dog can accidentally ingest these worm eggs, which can lead to a parasitic infection.

2. Hunting behaviour 

If your dog likes to hunt, it’s possible to catch worms from other infected animals, such as rodents, birds, sheep and other animals that are infested with worms. Keep an eye on where your dog roams and prevent scavenging.

3. Grooming 

Dogs can also contract worms when grooming themselves. Roundworm eggs can attach themselves to your dog’s coat, and if your dog swallows these when grooming, a new roundworm infection may develop.

4. From fleas

Swallowing fleas when grooming can lead to tapeworm infestations, too. Fleas can carry tapeworm larvae, which when swallowed develop into adult tapeworms in the dog’s intestine. Keep up with your regular flea prevention program to reduce the likelihood of a parasite or, even worse, a flea infestation in your dog and home.

5. From mother to pup

Roundworm, the most common worm affecting pets, can be transmitted from an infected mother to the unborn puppies in her womb via the placenta.

An infected dog can also pass roundworms and hookworms to her puppies during nursing. This means that puppies that are suckling are at risk of continual exposure to these parasites.

Roundworm and hookworm infestations can be extremely serious in young puppies and can even be fatal in severe cases. This is why regular worming treatments for dogs young and old are so important. If you have recently adopted a new dog, check with your vet to see when you can begin worming treatments for your puppy.

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Golden retriever feeding her puppies

6. From mosquitoes

Unlike the intestinal worms mentioned above, heartworm is passed to dogs from mosquito bites. Heartworm can cause a number of serious health issues in dogs, including a persistent cough, fatigue after exercise, fainting spells, a decreased appetite and weight loss. In some cases it can result in death. Find out more about how to protect your dog against heartworm.

As you can see, worms are found in your dog’s environment every day. It’s critical to ensure you deworm your pet regularly. A worming treatment like Drontal® protects your dog from a broad spectrum of intestinal worms, including roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm. The monthly spot-on treatment Advocate® treats and controls intestinal worms, including roundworms, hookworms and whipworm, and prevents heartworm.

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