Learning to Live With Pets

It's Been Nice Gnawing You: Dealing With Roundworm Infestation In Dogs

When picking up your dog's poop, you notice a huge worm wriggling around. Although the mere sight of roundworms, which can grow up to 10 to 12 cm in length, can be horrifying, you don't have to fret. Roundworms, otherwise known as ascarids, are probably the most common intestinal parasites that plague your furry little friends, and are generally found in large numbers. This article will take a look at the most common symptoms that are associated with roundworm infestation, and how you can get rid of them.

Symptoms That Your Dog Is Home To These Parasites

The most obvious symptom is probably the physical presence of roundworms either in feces or in vomit; however, if you pay attention to your dog's general health on a day to day basis, you might be able to pick up that something is wrong before you even see the roundworms. Common symptoms of a roundworm infestation include:

  • abdominal swelling, as the roundworms tend to attach themselves to the abdominal area.
  • gastrointestinal issues. Look out for diarrhea or a loss of appetite!
  • lethargy.
  • vomiting.
  • intestinal rupture.
  • coughing. This is not a common symptom, but happens when the roundworms may have migrated to your dog's lungs. 

Roundworm eggs can be easily ingested from contaminated food, water, and even feces from other dogs. Puppies that are still drinking milk from their mothers are particularly vulnerable.

How To Get Rid Of Roundworms And Prevent Them For Good

To determine if your dog is infected, a veterinarian will normally obtain a fecal sample to look for eggs and the presence of adult worms. Most veterinarians recommend getting an annual fecal exam, so that any abnormalities can be quickly detected and treated. To get rid of roundworms and prevent them for good, implement the following 3 strategies:

Administer Medication

There are various medications that are to be administered monthly in order to prevent roundworm infestation. Most of these medications contain active ingredients like Febantel, Pyrantel, Piperazine, Fenbendazole, Milbemycin oxide and Moxidectin. Keep in mind that the medication does not kill off the roundworms. Instead, they act as an anesthesia, and will cause the roundworms to loosen their grip to your dog's abdominal area and intestines. Expect to see the roundworms pass out of their body when your dog poops. This is a sign that the medication is working.

Clean Your Home

If your dog suddenly has a roundworm infestation, then there is a high chance that the environment in your home is contaminated. Roundworms are basically impossible to kill with any detergent. You'll have to rely on bleach for non-porous surfaces and you'll have to steam-clean the carpet. Bleach in a 500 ppm solution will be most effective. Mix 2 1/2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach at a concentration of 5.25% per 1 gallon of water.

Pick Up Feces In The Yard

Don't ever let any feces sit in your yard after it has been pooped out. Make the effort to pick up all of the poop and discard it to prevent soil contamination and to prevent your dog from coming into contact with the roundworms again. Roundworms are extremely resilient and their eggs can remain infective in the soil for years and years. If roundworm eggs have contaminated your soil, the only option left is to either replace it or turn the soil over to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Most experts recommend the former.


Roundworms are not necessarily lethal or harmful to your dog; however, they can be if they are left untreated. Since roundworms are so common in dogs, make sure you keep an eye out for them whenever you pick up your dog's poop. You want to treat the problem immediately before it has a chance to worsen. For more information, contact a veterinarian like 1st Pet Veterinary Centers - Chandler.