As a dog owner, you’re probably already familiar with the risk of intestinal parasites in your pet. Dogs are prone to having parasites, and many dogs will experience intestinal parasites at least once in their lifetimes. Most of the time, these types of parasites are not too serious and can be cleared up with medication and a trip to the vet.
It’s important to learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of parasites in your dog’s poop. Once you know what to look for, you can be aware of any changes that may signify an issue with your dog’s digestive and intestinal health.
Diarrhea is a common symptom of intestinal parasites in dogs. However, it is also commonly associated with a variety of other ailments and conditions. Some dogs may have diarrhea from factors as mild as a change in diet, while others may have diarrhea from organ failure.
If your dog experiences diarrhea just once or twice and then seems to be fine, there is probably nothing wrong. On the other hand, if she has diarrhea frequently, and especially if there is blood or mucous in the diarrhea, take her to the vet. She may have intestinal parasites that need to be cleared up.
Vomiting, like diarrhea, may be a symptom associated with a wide range of health problems in dogs. However, intestinal parasites are one of the potential causes of this symptom. If you notice your dog vomiting for more than a day, with or without the other symptoms on this list, take her to the vet as soon as possible to be diagnosed.
If your dog is vomiting from intestinal parasites, this vomiting may occur more frequently shortly after your dog has eaten. However, this is not always the case; dogs may vomit from intestinal parasites at any time as well.
Scooting sometimes means that your dog’s anal glands need to be expressed by a vet or groomer. However, in some instances, this behavior may also mean your dog has intestinal parasites.
Dogs tend to scoot because they have itching around the anus and rear end. This symptom is associated with the presence of worms that exit the dog’s body through the anus when the dog poops. As the parasitic infection worsens, you may notice your dog scooting more and more. A dog who scoots once now and then doesn’t need to see a vet, but a dog who scoots often does.
Loss of Weight
As intestinal parasites linger within a dog’s body, over time they will cause the dog to lose weight. Although weight loss is not an early sign of intestinal parasites in dogs, it can be a symptom later on.
If you think your dog’s weight loss could be caused by parasites or if you’re unsure what’s causing her to lose weight, take her to the vet to be examined. Weight loss can be a symptom of a wide range of health problems, including some that are much more severe.
A swollen abdomen is typically a symptom of a moderate to severe infection from intestinal parasites. Dogs who have been dealing with parasites for some time already may experience swelling of the stomach and abdomen as the infection causes more inflammation within the body.
Additionally, heartworms can also cause a swollen abdomen in later stages of the disease. For this reason, it is necessary to take your dog to the vet to be thoroughly checked out if you notice abdominal swelling. The problem could be worms, or it could be something much more serious that requires immediate treatment.
Dull and Patchy Coat
Finally, if your dog has intestinal parasites, chances are good her coat will appear dull as well. It may not shine the way it is supposed to, and the hair may become brittle in some instances, too. Some dogs may experience patchy hair loss as a symptom of worsening intestinal parasites.
Coat health problems can be attributed to food allergies, fleas, and contact dermatitis as well. If you notice changes in your dog’s coat health but aren’t sure why, talk to your vet for more information. A quick stool sample and checkup for your dog can help rule out or diagnose intestinal parasites.
With the help of this guide, you should be ready to examine your dog’s stool and make sure she doesn’t show any signs of parasites. If you do notice a problem with your dog’s poop, don’t panic, but don’t wait to take her to the vet either.
When you bring your dog to the vet, bring along a stool sample from within the last 24 hours, too. This way, the vet can carefully examine the sample for signs of parasites and can let you know what, if anything, your dog may be dealing with.