Dog Parasite Symptoms

Helping Dog Owners Recognize  Parasites

Common Parasites In Dogs Header

Parasites in dogs can be dangerous to their health if not detected early. Dog parasite symptoms will help owners to recognize them so early treatment can begin. Parasites have been around for thousands of years. As a pet parent you want to be on the lookout for these pests so your dog does not suffer bad health. If your dog should suffer from any of these parasites, by knowing the symptoms, you can take corrective steps to begin the appropriate treatment.

Video – 5 Most Common Parasites

This is a short 5 minute video on the 5 most common parasites found in Dogs. Take a look!

Types of Dog Parasites

The most common dog parasites are listed below. There are three types of parasites and they are internal, intestinal, and external.

  • Heartworm (Internal)
  • Hookworms (Intestinal)
  • Ringworms (Intestinal)
  • Roundworms (Intestinal)
  • Tapeworms (Intestinal)
  • Whipworms (Intestinal)
  • Coccida, Giardia, & Spirochetes (Intestinal)
  • Fleas (External)
  • Ticks (External)
  • Lice (External)
  • Mites (External)

Most Common Symptoms

Now, let’s take a look at some of the most common intestinal parasite symptoms and they are:

  • Diarrhea with or without blood or mucus
  • Scooting
  • Vomiting
  • Distended abdomen (belly)
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased activity
  • Dull coat

If you should notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet right away so he can examine your dog to determine if a parasite is causing the symptom. If that is the case, corrective treatments will begin in removing the parasite.

Dog Parasite Home Remedies

Parasites will always be around and you will have to contend with them because your dog goes outdoors. That is where these parasites thrive. There are some natural alternatives that can use to treat and prevent these parasites invading your dog. Of course, always consult your vet first if you suspect your dog with a parasite symptom.

Try some of these home remedies:

  • Pumpkin Seeds. These seeds are extremely effective as a deworming agent because they contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin. What they do is paralyze the worms which makes them easy to be eliminated from the intestine. You can feed them whole as a treat or grind them as a powder to be added in the dog’s feeding bowl. Use raw pumpkin seeds unsalted. Dose: 1 teaspoon per 10 lbs. of body weight twice a day.
  • Carrots. This vegetable is a good source of vitamin A and can get rid of worms in your dog. They scrape the walls of the stomach and gut as they are digested. It removes the mucus and any parasites that are within it. Feed carrots as a treat or include it at meal times. They are safe and boost the dog’s immune system.
  • Coconut. Dried coconut can help in eliminating worms from the dog’s body. Just sprinkle it on food. Dosage: 1 tsp. for small dogs, 2 tsp. for medium size dogs and 1 tablespoon for large dogs. When taken regularly, they can rid parasites from your dog and provide other health benefits like: shinny coat, relieves itchy skin, improves digestion, bad breath, boosts immune system, and helps eliminating fleas and ticks.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar. The fermented apple cider can work as an effective worm treatment for your dog. What it does is increases the alkaline levels in the dog’s intestines making it inhospitable for parasites and worms. Dosage: ¼ to 1 teaspoon of raw organic ACV to your dog’s water every day. In time, you will notice an improvement in the coat along with other health benefits. Check with your vet to determine the proper amount for your dog’s breed.

Again, check with your vet to be sure you can use any of these in house remedies on your dog.

You should always have your dog checked with the vet every 6 months to ensure no parasites are in your dog’s body. Vets may have to deworm him periodically.

Dog Parasites – Taking A Closer Look

In this section, we are going to take a closer look at heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms.

In this section, we are going to take a closer look at heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms.

Heartworms (Internal)



  • Heartworm Species
  1. Dirofilaria Immitis (bite of a mosquito)
  2. Grow up to 1 foot long
  3. Attack heart, lungs, other organs
  • Clinical Signs
  1. Mild persistent cough
  2. Reluctance to Exercise
  3. Fatigue After Moderate Activity
  4. Decreased Appetite
  5. Weight Loss
  • Stages of Heartworms
  1. Class 1: No symptoms or mild symptoms occasional cough
  2. Class 2: Mild to moderate symptoms occasional cough and tiredness after moderate activity
  3. Class 3: More severe symptoms sickly appearance, persistent cough, tiredness after mild activity, trouble breathing
  4. Class 4: Most serious called caval syndrome. Blood blocked flowing to the heart and is life-threatening. Surgical removal is the only treatment.

As soon as you see any tendency of heartworms in your dog, contact your vet immediately. If not treated, heartworms can kill your dog within 1 to 2 years.

  • Lifecycle of Heartworms: 5 years
  • Preventive Treatment: Frontline Plus, K9 Advantix II, Advecta Note: Before starting a preventive heartworm treatment, be sure to have your dog tested for heartworms by your vet first. Giving your dog a preventive medicine while he has heartworms does not kill them. He is still infected and taking preventive treatment may be more harmful and deadly.
  • Active Cases Treatment: Veterinarian

Roundworms (Intestinal)



  • The female lays 85,000 eggs a day.
  • 3 species found in dogs and cats
  1. Toxicara Canis
  2. Toxicara Cati
  3. Toxascaris Ieonina
  • Effects the small intestine
  • Grows up to 18” in length
  • Contagious to humans
  • 95% of puppies in the USA are born with them (CDC)
  • Transmission
  1. Transplacental (to puppies before birth)
  2. Transmammary (to puppies in milk)
  3. Ingestion of egg (older dogs)
  • Life Cycle: 2-4 Weeks after Ingestion
  • Clinical Signs
  1. Diarrhea
  2. Adult dogs, eggs in the feces
  3. Respiratory distress
  4. Dull coat
  5. Potbelly appearance
  6. Pneumonia (severe cases)
  7. Death (severs cases)
  • Preventive Treatment: Bayer Quad Dewormer, Durvet Triple Dewormer, Safe-Guard 4
  • Active Cases: Vets treat by deworming dog 2 times a year

Hookworms (Intestinal)



  • 25” to 0.75” long
  • Does not cross placental
  • Produces 20,000 eggs a day
  • Mother puts eggs in milk
  • Contagious to humans
  • 4 Species in dogs and cats
  1. Ancylostoma Brazilense
  2. Ancylostoma Caninum (Common in Dogs)
  3. Ancylostoma Tubaeforme (Common in Cats)
  4. Uninaria Stenocephala (Colder Climates)
  • Effects the small intestine
  • Transmission
  1. Ingestion of infective larvae
  2. Transmammary (Mother’s Milk)
  3. Skin Penetration of the larvae
  • Life Cycle: 14-20 Days Post Infection
  • Clinical Signs
  1. Weight Loss
  2. Not Eating
  3. Black, Tarry Stools
  4. Blood In The Stool
  5. Pale Mucous Membranes (Anemia)
  6. Weakness
  7. Circulatory Collapse
  8. Death
  • Preventive Treatment: Bayer Quad Dewormer, Durvet Triple Dewormer, Safe-Guard 4

Whipworms (Intestinal)

  • Whipworm Trichuris Vulpis

    Whipworm Trichuris Vulpis

    Species: Trchuris Vulpis

  • Effects Large Intestine
  • Infectious To Dogs Only
  • Whip-like Shape
  • 4-7mm in length
  • Anterior end smaller than posterior
  • Feed on secretions rather than blood
  • Transmission
  1. Remain viable in the environment for years
  2. Ingest Infective Eggs
  • Life Cycle
  1. In the soil & develop into 2-cell stage
  2. Advance to cleavage stage
  3. Embryonate
  4. Infective in 15 to 30 days
  • Clinical Signs
  1. Anemia
  2. Pale Gums
  3. Weakness
  4. Weight Loss
  5. Bloody Diarrhea
  6. Itchy Paws
  7. Poor Growth
  8. Death
  • Preventive Treatment: Bayer Quad Dewormer, Safe-Guard 4

Tapeworms (Intestinal)

  • Tapeworm Lifecycle

    Tapeworm Lifecycle


  1. Dipylidium Caninum (Fleas, most common)
  2. Taenia Pisiformis (Wild Rabbits, Mice, common in hunting dogs)
  • Rice Appearance In Feces
  • Infect All Animals
  • Require an Intermediate Host
  • Lifecycle
  1. Segments containing eggs pass in feces
  2. Ingested by Intermediate Host
  3. Egg hatches, develops into infective larvae & migrates to a suitable organ
  4. Dog eats the intermediate host
  • Clinical Signs
  1. Weight Loss (Even with eating normally)
  2. Lethargy
  3. Distended Abdomen
  4. Vomiting
  5. Diarrhea
  6. Dull Coat
  7. Visual Evidence of Tapeworms

When you notice any of the clinical signs of any of the worms described above, take your dog to the vet right away and if possible a sample of his stool.

  • Preventive Treatment: Bayer Quad Dewormer, Durvet Triple Dewormer, Safe-Guard 4

External Parasites In Dogs

The most common external parasites in dogs are fleas, ticks, lice, mange, and ear mites. Let’s look at each of these parasites more closely.


Flea - Adult Size

Flea – Adult Size

The majority of flea’s infestations on dogs are cat fleas. Fleas cause severe allergies resulting in itching, hair loss, and skin infection. If fleas are found, all pets in the household must be treated. Fleas also carry the tapeworm.

  • Clinical Signs of Fleas
  1. Dropping or flea dirt in the dog’s coat (small dark grains of sand)
  2. Flea eggs (tiny, white grains)
  3. Allergic dermatitis
  4. Excessive scratching, licking or biting at skin
  5. Hair loss
  6. Scabs and hot spots
  7. Pale gums
  8. Tapeworms
  • Fleas Hate Strong Odors: Odors like eucalyptus, lavender, clove, citrus, peppermint and citronella work as effective repellents against fleas.
  • The flea life cycle goes from egg to larva to pupa before the final adult stage. The process can take anywhere from two to three weeks to several months, depending on the conditions. Adult cat and dog fleas can live up to one year in ideal situations, but only about one to two weeks if no host is present.
  • Preventive Treatment: Any Flea Treatment Product (FrontLine Plus, K9 Advantix II, Advecta)




Ticks are nasty common external parasites as they feed on the blood of their host. Ticks can attach themselves to any place on the dog’s body. In rare cases, ticks can cause anemia. Female ticks can cause a paralysis in dogs due to the toxin they produce. Ticks can carry a dangerous Lyme disease. If you notice ticks on your dog, contact your vet for assistance in removing them. In most cases, they can be removed using a tick removal tool.

  • Species
  1. American Dog Tick (Midwest, South, East & California)
  2. Black-Legged tick (Midwest, South & East)
  3. Brown Dog Tick (All 50 States)
  4. Groundhog Tick (Midwest, South & East)
  5. Gulf Coast Tick (Gulf Coast States)
  6. Lone Star Tick (South, & East)
  7. Rocky Mountain Tick (Rocky Mountain States)
  8. Asian Longhorned Tick (South & Ohio Valley States)
  9. Soft Tick (West & Rocky Mountain States)
  10. Western Black-Legged Tick (West Coast States)
  • Clinical Signs
  1. Fever
  2. Lethargy
  3. Decreased Appetite
  4. Enlarged Lymph Nodes
  5. Bleeding
  6. Lameness
  • Lifecycle of Ticks
  1. Egg
  2. Six-Legged Larva
  3. Eight-Legged Nymph
  4. Adult
  5. After hatching from the eggs, ticks must eat blood at every stage to survive.
  • Transmitted Diseases
  1. Lyme Disease
  2. Ehrlichiosis
  3. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  4. Babesiosis
  5. Tick Paralysis
  • Preventive Treatment: FrontLine Plus, K9 Advantix II, Advecta


  • Lice



  1. Linognathus Setosus (Bloodsucking)
  2. Trichodectes Canis (Biting, and serves as an intermediate host for intestinal tapeworms)
  3. Heterodoxus Spiniger (Biting Feeds On Blood)
  • Clinical Signs
  1. Biting
  2. Rubbing of infected areas
  3. Rough dry coat
  4. Matted hair
  5. Small wounds
  • Life Cycle of Lice
  1. Females lay up to 100 eggs
  2. Cycle take about 21 days to complete
  • Transmission
  1. Direct contact with another animal
  2. Contaminated bedding
  3. Dog Collars
  4. Grooming Tools
  • Preventive Treatment: PetArmor Plus, Advantage II, Activate II, Sentry FIPROGuard Plus


Mange - Demodectic

Mange On A Puppy

Mange is a parasitic skin disease caused by microscopic mites.

  • Species
  1. Sarcoptic Mange (lives under the surface of the skin)
  2. Demodectic Mange (resides in the hair follicles)
  • Clinical Signs
  1. Severe Itchiness
  2. Skin Lesions
  3. Thickening of the Skin
  4. Hair Loss
  5. Lethargy
  6. Depression
  7. Secondary Skin Infections
  • Lifecycle of Mange: 21 Days
  1. Egg
  2. One Larval
  3. Two Nymphal Stages
  4. Adult
  • Transmission
  1. Between Animals
  2. Direct Contact
  3. Indirect Contact
  • Preventive Treatment: Classics Lime Sulfur Cream, Goodwinol Ointment, Veterinary Formula Clinical Care, Happy Dog Naturals

Ear Mites

  • Ear Mite

    Ear Mite


  1. Otodectes Cynotis (Dogs & Cats)
  • Clinical Signs
  1. Excessive Scratching of Ears
  2. Frequently Shaking the Head
  3. Thick Red-Brown or Black Crusts In the Outer Ear
  4. Clumps in the Ear Canal That Look Like Coffee Grounds
  5. Abrasions and Scratches on the Back Side of the Ears
  6. Hearing Loss
  • Transmission
  1. Direct Contact
  • Lifecycle of Ear Mites
  1. Females lay 5 eggs per day or 140 eggs a month
  2. Takes 3 weeks to develop from an egg to an adult
  3. Go through 4 stages (egg, larva, protonymph, & tritonymph)
  4. Ear mites live about 2 months continually reproducing
  • Preventive Treatment: PetArmor, Miracle Care R-7M, Adams, Hartz UltraGuard, Bio-Groom


We presented to you the most common parasites that dog owners must be on the look-out for. Many of these parasites can be dangerous to your dog if not treated early. Dog owners can also do some preventive treatments for all of these parasites. It will help control how infected your dog may get in areas where some of the parasites are prevalent.

The symptoms of each parasite was given so pet parents can know which type of parasite is attacking their dog.

The bottom line here is doing pest prevention should be your top priority in taking care of your pet’s health. Parasites will attack your dog. You must be alert to the signs your dog exhibits.

We cannot stress enough that if you should notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, always contact your vetinerian. They can do a complete thorough examination of your dog and determine if they have a certain type of parasite. They also can prescribe the proper medication or treatment you can give your dog to bring him back to normal health.

Whatever you do, don’t delay in communicating any changes your dog may exhibit to your vet. You will be glad you did.

Shop Parasite Treatment Products

Below are some treatment products you can give your dog as preventive medicine against the most common parasite. You will be taken to Amazon where you can place the order. You also can read the customer reviews, answered questions and select the dose that best fits your budget.

Adams Ear Mite Treatment
Advantage II 3-10 Lbs.
Advantage II 11-20 Lbs.
Advantage II 21-55 Lbs.
Advantage II Over 55 Lbs.
Advecta Flea & Tick
Bayer Dewormer 2-25 Lbs.
Bayer Dewormer 26-60 Lbs.
Bayer Dewormer Over 45 Lbs.
Davis Benzohyl Mange Shampoo
Durvet Dewormer M-L
Durvet Dewormer Small Dogs
FrontLine Flea Tick 5-22 Lbs.
FrontLine Flea Tick 23-44 Lbs.
FrontLine Flea Tick 45-88 Lbs.
FrontLine Flea Tick 89-132 Lbs.
Goodwinol Mange Treatment
HomeSake Tick Tool 3-Pack
K9 Advantix II 4-10 Lbs.
K9 Advantix II 11-20 Lbs.
K9 Advantix II 21-55 Lbs.
K9 Advantix II Over 55 Lbs.
LuFOX Tick Removal Tool
Miracle Care Ear Mites
PetArmor Plus Flea Tick
PetHonesty Ear Cleaner
Virbac Ear Mite Treatment
Veterinary Formula Shampoo
TickCheck Tick Removal Kit

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