It’s gross but it’s reality … most puppies will have roundworms. You should know you haven’t failed as a dog owner because it’s not necessarily from something they’ve gotten into. Often roundworms in dogs come from the mother dog! But all dogs can get roundworms.
The good news is there are natural remedies to treat and even prevent roundworms in dogs. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are Roundworms In Dogs?
Roundworms are common parasites that live inside your dog's intestines and feed on partly digested food. Dogs get two types of roundworms: Toxascaris leonina and Toxocara canis, which is worse, and people can get it, too.
These roundworms are white or light brown. But how long are roundworms? They can be ⅛ inch and up to 2 yards long. Usually they are several inches long and look like spaghetti. One roundworm can produce up to 85,000 eggs a day so they can spread quickly and easily. You can stop the spread by cleaning up your dog’s poop and by treating your dog to get rid of them.
How Do Dogs Get Roundworms?
- Before birth, puppies can get roundworms from the mother if she’s infected with roundworms. Or they can get them from drinking mother’s milk. If your puppy’s mother had roundworms in the past, dormant roundworm larvae in her body can get reactivated in pregnancy and passed on to puppies.
- Puppies can get roundworms from the environment. They can get roundworm eggs from another animal’s poop, or from mice or small animals that are infected. There are cases when a puppy can get roundworms from sniffing another dog's poop!
Life Cycle of Roundworms In Dogs
Roundworms lay eggs in the environment that are consumed by rodents and other animals. Dogs can eat the poop they leave behind or eat the actual animal ... then they become a carrier and another source of roundworms for other dogs.
When a dog swallows roundworm eggs, they hatch and become larvae. Larvae spread through the dog’s liver and up to the windpipe. When the dog coughs, he swallows the larvae and they move into the dog’s intestine where they grow into adult worms. Then they lay their own eggs within the intestines, the dog poops them out … and the cycle continues.
That’s why it’s so important to clean up dog poop to stop the cycle.
Symptoms of Roundworms in Dogs
Other than seeing the actual spaghetti-like roundworms in dogs, there are other things to watch for.
White Specks in Dog Poop
If you see white specks in dog poop, they could be roundworm eggs. Tapeworm also looks like white spots.
RELATED: What do white spots in dog poop mean?
If your dog has diarrhea or is vomiting, it can be from roundworms. This usually is a sign of a more serious infection. Usually a few worms in your dog’s poop is enough to alert you to the worms before they become a major problem.
This is another sign of a more serious infestation. When worms go untreated, they can cause bloating and create a potbellied look.
Larvae can reach the windpipe and get coughed up and swallowed into the lungs where they form worms and cause coughing. This is another serious sign that can lead to problems like pneumonia.
Worms feed on your dog’s nourishment so when there’s a serious infestation your dog is missing out on nutrients and will become malnourished. If your dog appears weak, tired and is losing weight even though he’s eating well, he could have round worms.
Roundworms in dogs can be treated successfully, especially if you catch them early.
Natural Remedies for Roundworm In Dogs
There are many nutritional aids for roundworm treatment that are easy to obtain. The added benefit is that because many are food-based they provide your dog with additional nutrients while also supporting his immune system.
RELATED: How to get rid of worms naturally ...
Apple Cider Vinegar
ACV creates a more alkaline digestive system, which discourages parasites. Give dogs ¼ to 1 tsp apple cider vinegar per day in your dog’s water or food.
This should be food-grade to minimize roundworms in your dog. It’s a natural detoxifier that dries out parasites. You can give small dogs 1 tsp per day while dogs over 55 lbs should get up to 1 tbsp per day. It should be mixed well into your dog’s food so that he doesn’t breathe in dust particles. Don’t give DE to pregnant or lactating dogs.
Black Cumin Seed
If your dog has roundowrms, black cumin seeds can be fed lightly ground. Feed your dog ½ tsp to 1 tsp of seeds daily in his meal. You can use black seed oil, but in that case cut the dose in half.
Grated Fruits And Vegetables
Fiber has bulk that moves through your dog’s intestines to carry loose or dead worms out in your dog’s poop. Grated carrots, along with cucumber, watercress, greens, squash and fennel are excellent choices.
Pineapple and papaya are also helpful. Pineapple contains an enzyme that digests proteins while papaya contains another enzyme that repels parasites. Compounds in pomegranate can also fight off and expel tapeworms. You can also use these in tablet or capsule form. Just assume the dose is for a 150-lb person and adjust for your dog’s size.
Raw, organic pumpkin seeds contain cucurbitacin that can paralyze worms. They also have other nutrients like folic acid, niacin, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, iron, copper, amino acids, protein and fiber. Crush them and feed ¼ tsp per 10 lbs of weight once or twice a day to your dog until you stop seeing worms in the poop. Pumpkin seeds can be given to pregnant dogs.
Chamomile addresses inflammation from roundworms and whipworms. Buy a glycerin tincture, and give 0.25 to 0.5 ml per 20 pounds of body weight, 2x daily. Some dogs may be allergic to chamomile so check for sensitivity before using it. Don’t use chamomile for pregnant or lactating dogs.
When used in extract form, Olive leaf contains oleuropein, which may help with parasites. You want to use an extract with 12% oleuropein or higher and give it for 8 weeks. Here’s how to dose:
- Small dogs – 300 mg 2x daily
- Medium dogs – 500 mg 2x daily
- Large and giant dogs – 1000 mg 2x daily
Give your dog 12 drops of Oregon grape tincture per 20 pounds of body weight, and add ¼ tsp of milk thistle tincture per 20 pounds of body weight. Oregon grape can be harsh on the liver and milk thistle can support normal liver function. Don’t use Oregon grape for pregnant or lactating dogs or dogs with liver disease.
Home Remedy for Roundworms
Herbalists Greg Tilford and Mary Wulff, authors of Herbs for Pets, recommend this food supplement:
- 2 parts unsalted, raw pumpkin seeds, ground
- 1 part garlic powder
- 1 part fennel seeds
- 1 part yucca root
Mix the ingredients together. Add 1 tsp per pound of food daily for 5 days then take 2 days off. Continue until you no longer see signs of worms, which could take a month or more.
There are some situations when food alone may not be enough. In more stubborn cases you may need to ask your holistic vet for help.