How to Get Rid of Worms in a Dog Without Going to the Vet

Symptoms of worms in dogs vary, based on the type of worm and the dog’s general health. A dog’s health depends on the lifestyle and the diet provided by the human primary caregiver.

Yet, no matter how prudent the dog owner is, dog worm infestations are common as they will always go to places and eat things they are not supposed to. In doing so, they expose themselves to numerous types of external and internal parasites.

Symptoms of worms in dogs

Between the two, internal parasites or worms are more difficult to detect. A dedicated dog owner should know the essentials of worm infestation in dogs. In doing so, proper treatment and prevention are sure to follow.

Types of Worms in Dogs

It is often frightening for dog owners to even think that there are worms inside their beloved pets. Yet, worms do find their way into dogs, especially those who frequent the outdoors.

Some of them reside in the tissue and others in the intestines. There are worms that stay alive inside a dog but doesn’t cause harm. Others can often be tolerated when they are in small numbers.

But when their populations explode, therein lies the problem.

Common Worms a Dog can Acquire:

1.) Roundworms

These worms are also known as ascarids. They are white worms that resemble white noodles. Roundworms reside in a dog’s intestines and can grow up to 20 centimeters or eight inches long.

These worms consume the food in the dog’s intestines. As long as there is food for them, they will continue to lay eggs. 

symptoms of worms in dogs
Below are more facts about roundworms that any dog owner should consider:

  • How Does it Spread?.  Once ingested by the dog, roundworms travel via the bloodstream, straight toward the lungs. When they reach the lungs, the body tries to expel them by coughing them out.  When they reach the oral cavity, they are swallowed again. The larval stage of the worm travel through the dog’s liver and brain.
  • Manifestations. Dog owners may never notice their pets having these worms until the worms show up in the dog’s excrement.  Roundworms cause vomiting, bloating, and diarrhea. The dog also tends to be hungry all the time and while voracious at first, would then suddenly stop eating.
  • Level of danger to dogs and humans. Untreated puppies acquire roundworms from their mothers. The roundworms could migrate to the womb or to the teats.  When untreated, the worms could rupture their bowels. Pregnant dogs are usually treated for roundworms.

These intestinal worms are detrimental to children. That is why dogs should never be allowed to defecate in play areas for children, particularly in the sandbox.

Roundworms can stay dormant in a sandbox for years. The moment they enter the child’s body, they migrate to the brain, liver, eyes, or lungs. They become encysted there permanently.

2.) Tapeworm

It is called a tapeworm mainly because of how it looks like. Its structure consists of a series of white segments linked together like pieces of tape.

Tapeworms keep joining together until they reach several feet in length. Then, they drop off strategically to reproduce. Each segment that falls off contains eggs that look like rice grains that wriggle.

They look like pieces of rice in the dog’s stool. Sometimes, they stick to the dog’s anus like tiny clusters of white eggs. 

symptoms of worms in dogs
  • How Does it Spread?. Many varieties of tapeworms exist. Some hitch a ride on fleas, so if the dog is infested with fleas, it is likely that tapeworms are also in the dog’s body.  People can acquire tapeworms if they ingest a flea from a dog. Swallowing a flea is possible, since it is almost invisible. It effortlessly makes its way to a plate or a hand that holds a chip.
  • Level of danger to dogs and humans. Tapeworms are not detrimental to a dog. It is often referred to as a smart endoparasite. However, it is dangerous to people because they can cause liver disease.

3.) HookWorm

This parasitic worm resembles a hookworm, but it has hook-like teeth at its anterior end. The six teeth grab onto the dog’s intestines so that it can suck its blood.

Here are more things about hookworms a dog owner should know:

Symptoms of worms in dogs
  • Level of danger to dogs.  A hookworm changes its attachment point several times a day. Because they consume a lot of blood from the dog’s body, the host experiences iron-deficiency and anemia. 
Hookworms can kill an older dog, but it can kill a puppy more quickly. Puppies become infested through their mother’s milk. Deaths in a young litter of pups might be caused by hookworms. Anemia in puppies can indicate hookworm infestation as well.

4.) Heartworm

These six-inch long worms live in the large blood vessels and in the heart. The following are more details about heartworms:

Symptoms of dogs in worm
  • Mode of transmission. Spread by tree-hole mosquitoes that breed in oak trees, these worms are highly likely to be present in areas where there are oaks. Heartworms are not easily detected. The dog remains asymptomatic until the infestation reaches its advanced stage.

5.) Whipworm

These intestinal parasites can only be diagnosed by vets through diagnostic tests.

symptoms of worms in dogs

Whipworms are small parasites which measure about 2 inches long and tapered at one end, like a whip. They commonly inhabit attach the colons of dogs and feed on dog’s blood. 

You won’t be able to see them, unless your dog passes them in a clump in his stool. Signs of whipworms include diarrhea, vomiting and weight loss.

Your dog can pick up whipworms by swallowing the eggs in soil, water or other places that may contain dog feces.

How Do Dogs Get Worms?

It is common for a dog to get worms through ingestion. 
The dog ingests an organism that serves as the primary host to the worm (a flea).

This usually happens during grooming another pet or self-grooming. Rodents, birds, or rabbits can transmit eggs as well.

When the tapeworm eggs finally settle in the dog’s small intestine, it starts to develop into a mature tapeworm.

A mature tapeworm is made of numerous segments (proglottids). They can grow up to 28 inches long.

The tapeworm’s segments fall off, settling in the stool. The segments harbor the tapeworm’s eggs. When the dog defecates, the tapeworm’s eggs will be scattered, waiting for a flea to inhabit. The cycle continues.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), proglottids are usually seen crawling on fresh feces or near the anus of dogs.

These tapeworm eggs are then released into the surrounding environment once the segment dries. Sometimes, the dried proglottids can even stick to the dog’s fur.

Symptoms of Worms in Dogs

Common Clues Your Dog Has a Parasite Infection:

Weight Loss
Vomiting (worms may be present)
Scruffy Fur or Dull Coat
Intermittent or Frequent Diarrhea (with Mucus or Blood in Feces) 
Excessive Itching or Scooting, particularly near the anus
Bloated Belly
Loss of  Appetite
Skin Irritations
Swollen Abdomen
Weakness / Lethargic

Some worms are not visible to the naked eyes. In case your dogs  are showing these kinds of symptoms,  get a fecal test analyzed by your vet  to confirm a diagnosis of worms. 

White Worms in a Dog’s Feces

If the dog’s feces have been left for some time and the dog owner finds white worms in it, the dog owner should not conclude right away that the dog has worms.

Those white worms could be maggots from flies that colonized the feces while they were still fresh. Checking the dog’s stool regularly helps identify what the dog’s health needs.

When the dog owner sees white worms in the dog’s fresh feces, it is a sign of a tapeworm infestation.

Kibble-fed dogs are much more susceptible to worms than raw fed dogs because parasites love the starch and sugars in kibble.

How To Prevent Worms in Dogs

  • Avoid feces become infested with worm larvaeClean your dog's living area  to remove feces and other waste materials at least once a week. Doing this will remarkably lower the risk of worm infestations in your pets. Also, wash and sanitize dog's bedding every week to prevent fleas from breeding.
  • Check your dog’s fur, anus, or stool for fleas regularly and seek de-wormer treatment  immediately. Not all worms can be seen by our naked eye, by doing this check up periodically can help prevent a more serious infection and keep your dog healthy.
  • Clean the Dog's AreaTo prevent hookworms, dog's play area or kennel run needs to be cleaned regularly.  Hookworms live in soil and may either get into a dog through the skin on his feet or get ingested by the dog while he is grooming his feet.
  • Dispose any stagnant water outdoor to avoid mosquito breeding. Dogs can easily get heartworms through bites from infected mosquitoes.  Mosquitoes pick up heartworms when they bite an infected dog, coyote or fox,  hence they transmit the heartworms to the next dog  they can bite.
  • Get rid of slugs and snails Snails and slugs can infect your dog with lungworms so its better to keep these pesky  molluscs away from your backyard. They leave slime trails on dog toys which can cause your dogs to get infected once they eat them.

Lungworms are difficult to diagnose, but if your dog has trouble breathing or frequent coughing, or experiences weight loss, have your vet check your dog for lungworms.

How to Get Rid of Worms in a Dog without Going to the Vet 

Dog owners should de-worm their dogs regularly to keep the dog and the surrounding people or animals healthy and safe. 

If left unchecked, the worms can cause terrible suffering or death. Some parasitic worms in canines can even jump from pets to other animals or to people.

You can take appropriate steps to get rid of worms once you know for sure that your dog is infected, this process is called deworming

Basically, treatments include a lot of chemicals and may contain elements that are hazardous for your pet and can lead to negative side effects.
But instead, you can try the natural route by starting out a healthy diet to help your dogs build strong immune system while keeping them worm-free. And raw meat based diet or whole foods is the best option.

Food as Natural Dewormer for Dogs

Good thing there are some natural ways to get rid of  worms. If you don't feel like feeding harsh, synthetic de-wormers to your pets, here are some of the known organic solutions to get rid of or keep away intestinal parasites:

  • Kefir. This is a fermented food item, non-dairy is best for dogs which can be in the form of raw goat milk or coconut milk. You can make your own or you can purchase these non-dairy kefir products from the local health food shops or grocery stores. 
natural dewormer for dogs
Feeding Directions:
  • Add the kefir to your dog meal or give it as a special treat.
Size of Dog
1 tsp to 1 tbsp a day
1 to 2 tbsp a day
2 to 3 tablespoons a day

  • Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds. These potent vermifuge have been traditionally used as an anthelmintic (a substance that helps expel intestinal parasites) in both pets and humans.  They contain high levels of amino acid known as "cucurbitin"  that helps paralyze and eliminate the worms. This prevents the worms  from holding on to the intestinal walls hence can be easily expelled from the body during a bowel movement.  
symptoms of worms in dogs
Feeding Directions (for 2 weeks):
  • Grind the seeds using a coffee grinder or a blender and sprinkle it in your dog’s food. ( Note: only use raw, organic unsalted pumpkin seeds).
  • Give 1/2 teaspoon per 10 pounds of your dog’s weight once a day.
  • Feed the appropriate amount daily to eliminate worms in 2 weeks.

  • Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).  This raw, organic, unfiltered vinegar is known as a natural food that kills parasites.  This is very popular remedy to eliminate worms because of its powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.    It’s natural and safe for your dog to digest.
symptoms of worms in dogs
Feeding Directions:
  • Start by adding 1/4 of a tsp  or 1 tsp of ACV to  your dog food or water once a day.  Doing this will create a more alkaline digestive system which is less attractive to parasites. 
  • Only use raw, organic , unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar to see good results. 

  • GARLIC.  Seemed like conventional vets panic when they hear that you're feeding garlic to your dog.  I can vouch that feeding garlic to your dog isn't toxic at all. I fed it to my dogs for about 15 years and they live longer than expected.  In fact feeding your Fido in moderate quantities, garlic can help deworm your dog and human.  It helps remove mucus from your dog’s stomach lining, making it hard for the worms to thrive and attach.  However, like most things that are otherwise good for us, it should be used in MODERATION, all you need is to know how to use it safely.  Besides, garlic is something that has been used as an effective home remedy for centuries by pet owners with no side effects.
garlic for dogs
Feeding Directions:
  • Peel the garlic and chop, mince or grate.  Let it sit for about 10-12 minutes before adding them to your dog food. NoteChopping or mincing garlic will release or activate the compound called "allicin" - a pungent, oily liquid with anti-bacterial properties found in garlic.
  • Allicin degrades quickly, so feed the garlic right away after the "sitting" period to maximize the benefits.
  • Use a level measuring spoon to determine the right amount of garlic according to your dog's weight for  consistency and exact dosing.

How Much Garlic Should You Give to your Dog?

Size of Dog
Dosage Per Day
5 lbs
1/6 tsp 
10 lbs
1/3 tsp 
15 lbs
1/2 tsp 
20 lbs
2/3 tsp 
30 lbs
1 tsp

Refrain from feeding garlic if your dog is  taking these  medications.

High Blood Pressure
Chemotherapy meds
Heart Medications
Blood Thinners
Blood Thinners
Immune Suppresant

Cautio​n for Puppies and Pregnant/Nursing Dogs

  • Pregnant Dogs -  Be cautious when feeding garlic to your pregnant dogs. It is recommended to consult your vet when administering garlic to them. Moreover,  no garlic for nursing dogs as it can change the taste of their breast milk.
  • Puppies -  Never try feeding garlic if your puppy is under 6 months old. Basically, puppies don't produce new red blood cells while they are young like about 8 week or less.
  • 6 Months to 1 year old Puppies - Take precaution and just feed half of the regular dose.

  • Unsweetened Dried Coconut Flakes/Meat.  Coconut flakes or meat can act as a  vermifuge and is highly effective (about 90%) in expelling tapeworm from the body. Besides, it also has a pleasant smell and taste for your dog to enjoy it with their food.
symptoms of worms in dogs
Feeding Directions:
  • Sprinkle unsweetened dried coconut meat into your dog food. 
  • Repeat 2x a day for 10 days
Size of Dog
Dosage Per Day
Small dog
1 tsp 
Medium dog
2 tsp 
Large dog
1 tbsp

Fruits Or Veggies for Dogs

Fruits or vegetables that are rich in vitamin A are efficient natural remedies that help slow down or eliminate parasitic worms.  

Just follow the proper dosage when feeding your dogs and don't go overboard because they can upset their digestive system especially when you first introduce them into their diet.

symptoms of worms in dogs
Feeding Directions:
  • Start slow to get your dog accustomed with fruits and veggies. Feed them 1/2  a teaspoon of fruits or vegetables for every 10 pounds of body weight daily (at least a week ) until they get used to them.  After that, you can increase the dosage to 1/2 a teaspoon for every 10 pounds of body weight twice a day at mealtimes. 
Fruits and vegetables that have high levels of vitamin A include:
Papaya fruit
Grated Raw Carrots
Green Veggies (like spinach, kale etc.)
Green Peas

Chelsea is a qualified veterinarian with background in animal care and training services. She loves dogs and at personal level, understands the powerful, emotional connection that dogs and humans have with each other.

Chelsea Moore / DVM

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and are for informational and educational purposes only.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top