Worms can be a common problem for puppies and young dogs.
The various causes for these worms are actually numerous, including the fact that their mothers may be passing on these parasites during birth or the practice of nursing.
Puppies with worms can experience a number of unpleasant symptoms, ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to a bloated-looking belly.
Fortunately, there are several medications that can kill off of these intestinal buggers, allowing them to be expelled as waste through the digestive and excretory systems.
But just how long will your puppy poop out these dead or barely-alive worms after being treated with a de-wormer?
And if the process is taking too long, is it safe to deworm your puppy twice?
These are just some of the questions will we address in more detail in the article below.
In addition, here we will highlight some of the common signs and symptoms of a parasitic infestation in puppies.
Signs and Symptoms of Worms in Puppies
Before your vet can recommend a prescription or OTC medication to treat worms, he or she will no doubt ask you to explain some of the signs and symptoms that your pup may be displaying—signs that could indicate a serious parasitic infestation in your pet.
To help you with this, below we have covered some of the more common symptoms.
- Diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of the hallmarks of a parasitic infection in dogs. Worms live in the intestines and can cause them to become irritated to say the least. For protection, your digestive system goes into over-drive to help rid the body of these parasites. Blood or mucus in the diarrhea are signs that the worms are causing damage within your pup’s digestive tract.
- Vomiting. As with diarrhea, vomiting is a bodily response to help eliminate the irritant within the digestive organs. Check the vomit carefully for blood and the presence of adult worms.
- Potbelly. With some worm infestations, particularly a roundworm infection, your puppy can show signs of a bloated stomach—a pot belly. As worms fill the intestines it causes the gut to uncomfortably bloat and distend—a very uncomfortable scenario for small puppies.
- Weight Loss and Malnutrition. A worm infestation can cause weight loss and malnutrition. The irritation caused by the worms may make it hard for your puppy to eat. Worms can also feed on partially digested food, effectively stealing the nutrients your puppy needs to grow and thrive.
- Scooting or Biting. A worm infestation can be very uncomfortable for your puppy. As a result, you may see him scooting his butt along the floor, trying to rid the itch and other symptoms these critters can cause. Biting at their rear end is often done for the same reason.
- A dull coat. Dogs need nutrients to maintain a healthy, shiny coat. However, when those nutrients are being robbed by parasites, their coat may turn very dry and dull.
These are just some of the many symptoms with which your puppy can present once infected by the various types of worms that feed on blood and partially digested food within the digestive tract.
Generally, if your dog is listless and physically unwell, it is absolutely crucial that you take him to the veterinarian for treatment.
The Process of Deworming
The worms that typically infest a dog’s digestive tract, usually ending up in the small or large intestine of your puppy, go by many different names.
Parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms and heartworms can all enter your pup’s digestive tract through a number of different means, including mosquito and flea bites, the soil or garbage around your house, and even from the pup’s mother, who may unknowingly pass on the worms when weaning her offspring.
Many of these worms cling to the walls of the small and large intestines with the help of tiny teeth that enable them to feed and grow on the blood of the animal.
If left unchecked, a mild worm outbreak can turn into a major problem for your puppy, ultimately causing sickness and even death.
If your dog is exhibiting some of the signs and symptoms of worms—symptoms highlighted in the previous section—your local veterinarian will almost certainly perform a thorough exam of your pet.
And if intestinal parasites are indeed deemed to be the culprits behind these symptoms, he or she will likely prescribe a de-worming drug.
These drugs are very powerful and can be extremely toxic when used inappropriately.
However, when used as directed, these agents will immediately go to work paralyzing and killing the intestinal worms.
Deworming medications have a variety of scientific titles and brand names.
However most fall under two broad categories of anti-parasitic agents: anthelmintic and vermifugal drugs.
While different drugs are designed for different types of worms and parasites, and although each acts in its own specific way, they all have something in common.
All of these medications work to paralyze and kill the worms that are attacking your puppy’s digestive system.
When these drugs are introduced into your puppy’s system, their paralyzing properties force worms to release their grip on the walls of the intestines.
Now, deprived of food, most of these worms will simply die off; and then they are excreted as waste when your pup does his business.
Thus, the presence of worms in your dog’s poop AFTER you introduce one of these deworming drugs is a very good sign: it means the drug is working.
How Long Will My Puppy Poop Worms after Deworming?
Now that you understand the basic deworming process, let us address the title question of this piece: how long will my puppy poop worms after deworming?
Actually, the answer to that question depends on a number of factors.
These factors include:
- Type of worms. Due to variations in the way they live and feed in the digestive tract, different types of worms are more difficult to treat than others. As such, it may take longer for the deworming agent to completely do its job.
- Type of deworming drug. Not all deworming drugs work alike. While all of these drugs have an end goal that is similar—killing off the parasites—the timetable at which that happens varies from drug to drug. For instance, a fast-acting drug designed to kill roundworms will initiate a rapid worm elimination sequence; while a slower-acting drug for heartworm may take longer to produce the same results.
- Puppy size and age. The size and age of the puppy can both play minor roles in determining just how long your dog will continue to poop worms after you initiate the deworming medication. Complete elimination of the worms depends on the speed of the dog’s digestive and excretory systems. Very young and smaller pups tend to go poop much more frequently than larger and older dogs. Because of this, the process of worm elimination tends to be faster with the former group.
Many of the deworming agents on the market today can produce results in a mere matter of hours, especially in puppies, whose waste elimination occurs much more frequently than that of older dogs.
Thus, you could start to notice worms in your dog’s poop after just 3-4 hours following treatment, and continue to see them for up to 24 hours after that.
But not all parasitic agents work as quickly as others, which is why it is not uncommon for a dog to still poop out worms some two weeks after being medicated.
This long timeframe is generally not cause for concern, but if your dog is still pooping out worms after this two-week timeframe, especially if the worms are alive, he should definitely be checked out by your veterinarian.
Is It Safe to Deworm a Puppy Twice?
After deworming your puppy, there may come a time when you think the elimination process is not moving fast enough.
You may even be tempted to use the deworming medication for a second time.
If this is where you currently find yourself, we urge you to take caution, as this may not be the right strategy for your pup.
Remember, deworming medications are toxic to the worms they treat.
And when given in excess, they can even be toxic to your dog.
Deworming medications are carefully studied for their effectiveness and safety.
However, the “safety” you are promised is only applicable when you use the drugs as directed.
Giving a second round of dewormer to a puppy—before a specific amount of time has elapsed—can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting.
These symptoms can then lead your dog to become dehydrated, spurring all the unfavorable symptoms that go hand-in-hand with this condition.
If your dog is experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of worms—diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, scooting, etc.—be sure to have him examined by a veterinarian.
Your vet will probably direct you to one of the prescription or OTC medicines designed to treat the exact type of parasite from which your puppy suffers.
With many of these medications, and depending on the type of worm, you may begin to notice the results within hours of administration, but eliminating each and every worm from the digestive tract may take days or weeks.
Be patient, though, and trust the process; resist the temptation to administer a second dose too soon.
Too much of any one (or a combination of) intestinal parasite drugs can be toxic to your pet, producing the same type of unwanted symptoms you are seeking to treat.