Could your dog have worms? It’s almost certain that puppies have worms at some point in their lives, but what about your adult dog? Can adult dogs get worms?

Don’t panic! It’s normal.

Worms are one of the most common health problems dogs have.

They get worms from a number of sources, including the environment. It’s one of the reasons you bring a little bag of fresh poop when you go to the Vet – he/she can monitor for them quickly. Worms can be harmful to your dog — and to you and your family — so here’s what to watch for.

5 Most Common Worms Dogs Get

  1. heartworms
  2. roundworms
  3. hookworms
  4. tapeworms
  5. whipworms

As the name says, heartworms are found in the dog’s heart and blood system; the others are found in the intestines.

Symptoms of worms

Dogs don’t always show signs of worms, and may seem to be in good health. That’s why Vets test (via the ‘fresh bag of poop’) and it’s why routine de-worming might be recommended, depending on your Morkie’s lifestyle.

Some worm eggs or larvae can live in your dog and stay dormant. They’re activated only in times of stress, or in the later stages of pregnancy. Then, they grow like mad, infesting the soon-to-be-born puppies and kittens.

Top Signs of Intestinal Worms in Dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Low energy
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Change in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dull coat

Regular Stool Tests at Your Vet's are Very Important

Even dogs who get regular parasite preventive meds, are susceptible to a variety of worms and diseases.

When you take a stool sample to your Vet, he/she uses a flotation test that can identify intestinal parasites and Giardia, a parasite that causes severe diarrhea.

Scooting isn’t always a symptom of worms

Worms rarely cause that infamous bumwalk – when your Morkie scoots, it’s more likely impacted anal glands or a food allergy.

Only your Vet can confirm the cause.

The 4 most common intestinal worms


Roundworm is a common, worldwide parasite; dogs get infected by sniffing or licking infected feces. They’re also spread by rodents, earthworms, roaches, and birds, Roundworms are very serious for puppies;  they can cross over to humans, especially children playing in areas with lots of old dog poop around.


The hookworm attaches to the lining of your dog’s intestinal wall and feeds on the blood. Its eggs are ejected into the digestive tract and pass into the environment through your dog’s feces. They’re a serious threat to dogs because they’re consuming blood. For puppies, the threat is even bigger. Humans CAN be infected with hookworms from dogs.


Tapeworms are long, flat worms with segmented bodies. They may look like grains of rice. Dogs with tapeworms aren’t always sick. Fleas are an intermediate host for hookworms, so keeping your Morkie flea-free is important. Tapeworms can also be spread by mice and other rodents. People are rarely infected with them.


Dogs with whipworms may have no symptoms at all; however, a serious infection can kill your dog! Dogs with a bad case of whipworms will often have bloody poop. Whipworms can be more difficult to diagnose, so seeing a Vet for regular feces testing, is vital.

Worms can be harmful to you and your family too

sandboxes can play host to wormsIt’s so important to remove dog poop right away, in case kids or other pets get into it; this is where dog worm eggs live.

Frequent hand washing is another key key to prevention, and especially before meals

Public sandboxes are suspect too – worms can live for YEARS in the environment.

FRESH POOP isn’t the problem and doesn’t contain dangerous worm eggs. They develop once they’ve incubated for a few weeks. The risk is old poop, again why picking up quickly is key.

What worms can people from dogs?

Hookworms and roundworms are the two that people are most likely to get from the environment, or from a dog. 

Farmers, gardeners, landscapers, sunbathers lying on sand, and children playing in potentially contaminated areas such as sandboxes are at higher risk because they’re closer to potentially infected soil. 

Can you get any of these from kissing your dog? advises that hookworm, roundworm, and giardia CAN be passed from dog to human through licking. So… you might want to be careful smooching your pup. Especially if you’re ill or have lowered immune system.

New puppies need regular worm treatment

Breeders regularly de-worm pregnant moms and newborn puppies.

If you have a new puppy, your Vet is the best source of information on how to prevent worms, and how to treat them. 

people meds can kill pets

Use over-the-counter worm medications with care

It’s safest to talk to your Vet about de-worming. The stuff you can buy at the store is dangerous:

  • it can be far too harsh for your Morkie, causing more health problems than it’s solving
  • you may not be treating the right kind of worms with it