Your dog may have worms and you might not even know it because some worms aren’t visible to the eye. Whipworms and hookworms in dogs are 2 types that you won’t be able to see in your dog’s poop.
Even though you can’t see them, let’s look a little closer at hookworms in dogs.
Symptoms Of Hookworms In Dogs
If your dog is in good health and you don’t see any signs of worms in his poop, you might not even think about worms. But if your dog has any of these signs and symptoms of hookworms in dogs, you’ll want to get him checked out.
- Blood loss leading to pale gums and anemia
- Noticeable weight loss
- Diarrhea with blood
- Dull coat or fur loss (from missing nutrients)
- Coughing (in severe cases)
- Nausea and vomiting
How To Test For Hookworms
A fecal test is the best way to confirm hookworms. Take a sample to your vet for analysis.
What Are Hookworms In Dogs?
Hookworms are a tiny parasite … only a few millimeters in length, so they’re very difficult to see without a microscope. They are thin and light gray. Ancylostoma caninum or braziliense is the common type that dogs get. The head has a white opening that hooks onto your dog’s intestines (hence the name). Then it feeds on your dog’s blood and can prevent your dog from getting his own nutrients through the bloodstream.
Can Hookworms In Dogs Be Dangerous?
Yes, they can. Because they are so hard to detect visually, they can cause blood loss before you even know there’s something wrong. Your dog can seem weak and sickly for no apparent reason. Untreated hookworms can lead to anemia and even death. Young growing puppies are especially at risk.
Are Hookworms In Dogs Contagious?
Yes … but only indirectly. Both dogs and people can get hookworms. Your dog won’t pass them on to you but he can pass on the eggs and that’s the problem. When your dog passes hookworm eggs in his poop, they can infect other dogs, animals and people.
What Causes Hookworms In Dogs?
As already explained, the eggs lead to an infestation of hookworms. If a mother dog is infected, she can pass hookworms to her puppies through nursing. When a dog has been in contact with contaminated poop or soil, eggs will transfer to his paws and then to him if he chews his paws. And even nastier … hookworms can burrow into the skin through hair follicles or cuts and enter the bloodstream.
Veterinary Treatment of Hookworms In Dogs
The standard veterinary care is to give pharmaceutical deworming medications which come with a list of side effects similar to some of the symptoms of hookworms: lethargy, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite … and even worse, like seizures, hives and shortness of breath.
Antiparasitic drugs prescribed by vets include:
- Fenbendazole (Panacur)
- Milbemycin oxime (Interceptor) a broad spectrum dewormer
These drugs paralyze parasites so that means they can also be neurotoxic to your dog … and dangerous when given for 30 days or more. And because hookworms encyst with a protective coating, some dewormers aren’t effective. In really serious or stubborn cases, you’ll want to work with a vet to determine if a dewormer is the best course of treatment for your dog.
There are several natural and non-toxic things you can do to get rid of hookworms in dogs … and because most are foods, you just add them to your dog’s meals and he gets the benefit of added nutrients too.
Natural Remedies For Hookworms In Dogs
Here’s what you can do to help if your dog has hookworm …
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar supports normal stomach pH that’s less appealing to parasites. Use ¼ to 1 tsp per day in your dog’s water or food.
Organic, raw pumpkin seeds may promote elimination of worms from your dog’s digestive tract. Give ¼ - 1 tsp of ground seeds per 10 lbs of weight once or twice a day. Pumpkin seeds are okay to give to pregnant dogs.
Black Cumin Seed
You can use black cumin seed or black seed oil but if you use oil, give HALF the dose. This also works as a prevention. Add 1/4 tsp ground seeds for every 10 lbs of body weight to your dog’s daily meal.
Olive leaf tincture has oleuropein (use one with at least 12%) that may support detoxification. Here’s how to dose: Miniature dog: 150 mg, Small dog: 300 mg, Medium dog: 500 mg 2x daily, Large dog: 800 mg, and Extra-large dog: 1000 mg. Feed twice a day with food.
Oregon grape root contains berberine. Use it in tincture form and give 12 drops per 20 lbs of body weight. Don’t use it for diabetic animals, those with acute liver disease, or dogs who are pregnant or nursing.
How To Prevent Hookworms In Dogs
But, of course, prevention is the best way to avoid hookworms in dogs, and support your dog’s ongoing health. Here’s what you can include.
Whole Fresh Foods
A fresh, whole food, raw diet can support your dog’s health … and a healthy gut. Dogs with a robust immune system can get parasites but they can often expel them naturally when fed a supportive diet.
Probiotics, Prebiotics And Digestive Enzymes
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that help maintain proper gut flora. Include prebiotics like garlic or fermented vegetables to feed the probiotics. Digestive enzymes support digestion and absorption.
Grated Fruits And Vegetables
Grated fruits and vegetables become scouring fiber for the intestinal tract ... and your dog gets nutrients too.
Include raw veggies like carrots, cucumber, watercress, greens, squash and fennel; and pineapple, pomegranate and papaya. Add 1 tsp of chopped veggies or fruit for every 10 lbs in just a bit of food for a higher concentration.
Fermented foods may support your dog’s gut health when your dog has hookworms. You can feed foods like sauerkraut. Work up to 3 tsp per day per 20 lbs of weight.
It can take several weeks to several months to fight hookworms in dogs. The secret is consistency and diligence.
If your dog had a severe case of hookworms that caused anemia, feed your dog iron-rich foods like sardines, organic egg yolks, green vegetables and beef liver.