We love our four legged friends, and we want to do everything that we can to take care of them.
Sometimes they get sick, and it’s up to us, their protectors, to take care of them.
One of the common things our dogs might end up contracting is worms.
What’s worse, even when we get them medication to treat the worms, we may start to notice blood in their stool!
This can be very scary, and cause us to want to rush them to the nearest Emergency Veterinarian to make sure that everything is ok.
But before we do that, let’s take a little deeper look into the entire process of worms, the treatment and what that bloody stool might mean.
Why and how do puppies/dogs get worms?
It is surprisingly easy for our dogs to catch worms, in fact, some puppies are born with them, or get them through their mother’s milk.
You may be wondering, what exactly is a worm though? Because it’s not like the earthworms that people use for fishing are living in our dogs right?
The worms that we are talking about are actually parasites, invisible to the naked eye.
Some of the most common types of parasitic worm encountered by our dogs are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and coccidia.
These worms live inside other organisms, eating their host’s blood and nutrients.
It is important to note that many of the worms that can infect our dogs, can also infect humans.
So, how do these parasitic worms end up in our hairy best friends?
One of the most common ways that dogs get infected with worms is through the soil.
When an animal that is infected with worms defecates, their feces often contain the larvae of the worms they are infected with.
These feces mix with the soil, and when an unsuspecting dog comes running through the park and rolls around, they may end up swallowing some of the soil or dust that is infected with the worms, causing them to be infected.
The same thing goes for animals or animal carcasses that dogs may stumble across.
It’s important to remember that dogs don’t have hands, and often use their mouths to explore.
If your dog should eat a small animal or part of a carcass that was infected with worms, they can become infected as well.
The third common method for dogs getting worms is from fleas.
Many fleas serve as hosts for worms, and when the flea sets up shop on a dog, it often passes their worm infection to them as well.
What are the signs that your puppy/dog has worms?
There are a few signs that may indicate that your dog or puppy has been infected with worms.
Remember, these worms feed off their blood and other nutrients from the dog’s diet. This denies your dog the use of those nutrients and can often sap their strength from blood loss.
One of the most common signs of a worm infection is your dog showing a sudden increase in fatigue.
They will become very tired very quickly, whereas before they may have been playful and full of life.
Many dogs infected with worms often end up getting diarrhea that doesn’t go away.
They may also show signs of rapid weight loss and abnormal fur color due to their bodies being denied the nutrients that they need.
How do dewormers work with dogs?
Because there are several different kinds of worm that your dog can be infected with, dewormers work in several different ways.
Most commonly, the dewormer works to kill the worm, which will then be passed through your dog’s digestive system, often breaking down into parts or pieces.
There are some more resilient worms that don’t go down so easily.
The issue with these more resilient worms, like tapeworms and hookworms, is that any medicine strong enough to kill them, could also have a negative effect on your dog’s health.
So instead, the dewormer medicine is designed to temporarily paralyze them.
Once they are paralyzed your dog’s body will be able to dislodge them and pass them through its digestive system and into their feces.
Amazingly some hookworms or roundworms are big enough to be seen with the human eye, and you might see them moving around in your dog’s poop once the paralyzing effect wears off. If that happens, don’t panic, it’s actually a good thing, because it means they aren’t living in your dog anymore.
How often should puppies/dogs be dewormed?
When it comes to deworming it’s highly recommended that you talk to your vet to determine how often your dog or puppy should be dewormed.
There are several factors that will be taken into consideration depending on the dog’s age, size and the type of worms they are infected with.
Generally speaking, a puppy will be dewormed every two to three weeks until they are six months old.
After six months, it’s best to deworm every three months as a preventative measure.
Veterinarians will also typically not recommend that you give your dog deworming medicine if they are pregnant.
Instead choosing to wait until the puppies are born and giving dewormer to everyone.
Why might dewormers cause blood in stool?
Now we come to the initial question of this article, what might cause dewormers to put blood in your dog’s stool.
Well, we actually already mentioned it earlier, when we talked about the worms that the dewormer kills.
Those worms have bodies, and they are full of your dog’s blood that they’ve been feeding on.
Once that worm’s body enter’s their digestive tract that blood will not be reabsorbed by your dog’s body.
This means that any blood that was in the worm, will end up in your dog’s feces.
Should you visit a vet if this happens?
While it can be alarming to see blood in your dog’s feces, understanding that it is because of the dewormer doing the job can definitely set your mind at ease.
Most veterinarians recommend that you monitor your dog for excess blood, and keep a log of how often you see it.
If you are at all worried, you should call your vet, to at least let them know so they will have it on record.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that the dewormer should only be causing blood in their stool only one to two days after they take the dewormer.
If they continue to show blood for days, or there is a large amount of blood, it is best to get your dog to the vet as quickly as you can.
What are the other side effects of deworming your dog?
Like any medication, your dog may have some negative side effects from the deworming medicine.
Since the medicine is administered orally, the most common side effect is that they will vomit up the medication soon after taking it.
Other side effects include nausea, lack of appetites and diarrhea.
How long do these side effects last?
These side effects should last no more than twenty-four hours after giving your dog the deworming medicine. If they last longer than that, it’s time to take them to the vet.
Are there any effective home remedies for deworming dogs?
A brief search online will lead you to several articles talking about home remedies to deworm your dog or puppy.
The most common methods entail feeding them pumpkin seeds, carrots, dried coconut, apple cider vinegar and chamomile.
There is something very important than any dog owner needs to be aware of though.
Almost all of these articles are going to tell you that these are methods to “try.”
They are not methods that have been proven to work, and they are not approved by veterinarians to be successful in deworming your dog.
So, as we draw to a close, we now have a greater understanding of the parasitic worms that can infect our fur babies.
We know that these worm’s goal is to feed off of them, depriving them of nutrients that their bodies need.
We also know the likely places where our dogs can contract worms.
This will help us try to avoid those places, or be more aware when they might have been exposed.
Most importantly, we now know more about how the dewormer works, what side effects to expect, and that we shouldn’t panic if we see some blood in their stool in the day or two after they take the dewormer.
As a dog lover, this is all great information to make sure that we continue to take care of them and have them live a happy, healthy life.