Worms in your dog’s poop are gross … but you can’t always see them. Hookworms in dogs aren’t visible to the naked eye … but they can be a deadly problem.
If your dog isn’t himself, he could have hookworms, so here’s what you need to know.
What Are Hookworms In Dogs?
Hookworms are less than an inch long, microscopically thin and light gray. The most common one in dogs is Ancylostoma caninum or braziliense. The wide opening of the head hooks onto your dog’s intestinal lining, allowing hookworms to feed on your dog’s blood. Untreated hookworms can eventually stop your dog absorbing nutrients through his bloodstream.
How Do Dogs Get Hookworms?
An infected dog can pass hookworms to her puppies through nursing. Dogs can also get hookworm from chewing their paws or eating contaminated food or soil. Hookworms can also tunnel into the skin through hair follicles or cuts and then get into the bloodstream.
Are Hookworms In Dogs Dangerous?
Hookworms affect dogs and people. They’re hard to detect and can cause extreme blood loss without you realizing what’s happening. Untreated hookworms in dogs can lead to anemia and even death. Young puppies are especially vulnerable.
Can Your Dog Give You Hookworms?
Your dog cannot transmit hookworms to you directly, but hookworm eggs can pass through your dog’s feces into the environment, where they can infect other dogs, animals and people.
Signs And Symptoms Of Hookworms In Dogs
There might not always be signs and symptoms of hookworms in dogs, especially if your dog’s overall health is good. Hookworms are only a few millimeters in length, so they’re very hard to see.
Here are signs your dog might have hookworms.
- Pale gums and anemia (from blood loss)
- Significant weight loss
- Lack of energy
- Bloody diarrhea
- Dull and dry coat from lack of nutrients
- Coughing (in severe cases)
- Nausea and vomiting
How To Test For Hookworms
If you suspect hookworms, you’ll need to take a fecal sample to your vet for analysis. This is the only way to confirm your dog has hookworms.
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Treatment Of Hookworms In Dogs
There are safe, effective remedies to treat hookworm, but first, let’s look at pharmaceutical deworming medications.
A conventional vet will prescribe antiparasitic drugs like fenbendazole (Panacur), moxidectin or a broad spectrum dewormer like milbemycin oxime (Interceptor). These drugs kill parasites by paralyzing them, so they can be neurotoxic to your dog … especially when treatment is needed for 30 days or more.
Side effects include:
- Nausea, vomiting
- Staggering, incoordination
- loss of appetite,
- Panting, shortness of breath
- Salivation, drooling
- Seizures, muscle tremors, collapse
- Facial swelling, hives
Other dewormers are not effective against worms that encyst (like hookworms) … meaning they have a protective coating for survival.
But you don’t have to use toxic dewormers on your dog.
Natural Remedies For Hookworms In Dogs
Here’s what you can do to get rid of hookworms without using drugs.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar creates a more alkaline digestive system that’s less appealing to parasites. Use raw, organic, unfiltered vinegar and give ¼ to 1 tsp per day in your dog’s water or food.
Organic, raw pumpkin seeds are one of the best ways to treat hookworms in dogs. They contain an amino acid called cucurbitin which paralyzes the worms and eliminates them from your dog’s digestive tract.
How To Give Pumpkin Seeds: Crush or grind seeds and give ¼ – 1 tsp per 10 lbs of weight once or twice a day until the parasites are gone. Pumpkin seeds are safe for pregnant dogs.
Black Cumin Seed
Black cumin seed is called “the cure for everything except death.” It’s very safe and very effective for adult hookworms, larvae and eggs. Try to find whole seeds. Or you can use black seed oil but use HALF the dose. This is also good as prevention.
How To Give Black Cumin Seed: Add 1/4 tsp ground seeds for every 10 lbs of body weight to your dog’s food daily.
Olive leaf is a potent antioxidant that fights hookworms. It has a high oleuropein content (use one with at least 12%) to get rid of worms and support detoxification. Olive leaf interrupts pathogenic activity.
How To Give Olive Leaf: Miniature dog: 150 mg, Small dog: 300 mg, Medium dog: 500 mg 2x daily, Large dog: 800 mg, and Extra-large dog: 1000 mg. Feed 2x day with food as it can cause nausea on an empty stomach.
Turmeric reduces inflammation in the gut and repairs damage to the intestinal wall from hookworms. Combine it with milk thistle, to support your dog’s liver while treating for worms.
How To Give Turmeric: Use the powdered form (from a health store, not the grocery store). Give 1/8 to ¼ tsp per 10 pounds of bodyweight every day. Feed with food, and don’t mix with prescription drugs. Don’t use for more than 2 months.
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Oregon grape root has been very effective against parasitic worms. It contains berberine, an anti-microbial alkaloid. You can get it in tincture form at your local health food store.
How To Give Oregon grape: Give 12 drops per 20 lbs of body weight. Don’t give it to diabetic animals, those with acute liver disease, or dogs who are pregnant or nursing.
DE is a fine powder made from fossilized marine phytoplankton. They have microscopic, razor-like edges that slice and scrape, dehydrating parasites, worms and larvae to kill them before they mature. Make sure you buy only food grade DE for your dog.
How To Give Diatomaceous Earth: Small dogs – 1 tsp with food once daily. Dogs over 55 pounds, 1T with food once daily. Make sure you mix it well so the dust settles and your dog can’t breathe it in. Give for 12 days, rest a week and repeat for 12 days.
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Dulse contains kainic acid that can kill worms and control parasites. You can use red dulse or other varieties.
How To Give Dulse: Add 1/8 tsp per 10 lbs body weight to food once a day.
Preventing Hookworms In Dogs
Here are healthy ways to prevent hookworms.
Feed A Whole Food Diet
A fresh, whole food, raw diet supports overall good health and a healthy gut … and that’s important because 90% of your dog’s immune system is in his gut. You want to feed dogs anti-parasitic foods that are cleansing and nourishing to support digestion and increase immunity. Healthy dogs may still get parasites but they’re often asymptomatic and they’ll usually expel them naturally.
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Feed Probiotics, Prebiotics And Digestive Enzymes
Probiotics provide beneficial bacteria and support the gut’s healthy flora to fight pathogenic bacteria and parasites. Be sure to include prebiotics like garlic or fermented vegetables to nourish the probiotics. Include digestive enzymes to create strong stomach acid to fight pathogens and parasites in the early stages of digestion. These measures create an anti-parasitic environment that most parasites can’t survive.
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Add Grated Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a secret weapon when fighting worms. Your dog gets the benefit of nutrients as well as fiber to keep waste passing through the intestines and taking parasites with it.
Raw veggies like carrots, cucumber, watercress, greens, squash and fennel in your dog’s will make your dog’s digestive tract less welcoming. Other good additions are pineapple and papaya. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that digests proteins (worms), and papaya has an enzyme called papain, which also fights worms.
You can also blend some carrot, beet, and cucumber juice to stir into your dog’s food. Just add 1 tsp of juice or veggies per 10 lbs of your dog’s body weight to make his intestines less attractive to worms.
Coarsely chopped carrots are a natural deworming agent that scrape the stomach walls and gut to remove mucus and worms. Add 1 tsp of chopped carrot for every 10 lbs in as little food as possible so you get the full effect. Each time you feed these foods, you’ll be doing a mini-cleanse of your dog’s digestive system.
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Include Fermented Vegetables
Fermented foods can improve your dog’s gut health and prevent parasites. They also serve as a prebiotic to nourish probiotics. You can buy fermented foods like sauerkraut or make your own Start slowly and work up to 1 to 3 tsp per day per 20 lbs of body weight.
It can take several weeks to get rid of hookworms, and it’s a good idea to continue the remedies for a few more weeks to make sure they don’t recur. If your dog had a severe case of hookworms that caused anemia, you can help him recover with iron-rich foods like sardines, organic egg yolks, green vegetables and beef liver.