Worms are a common problem for dogs. Some dogs can be born with different types of worms passed on by their mothers. Others can easily get them from other animals, feces, or soil. Unfortunately, specific types of dog worms CAN be passed on to humans.
Worms can be dangerous for your dog. If you get worms from your pet, you could be in danger, too. They can be especially harmful to children and people with compromised immune systems.
These parasites breed and multiply. According to Sentry Pet Care, worms can lay up to 200,000 eggs every day! So, it’s no surprise that worms can be spread from dogs to humans.
The good news is there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family from getting worms from your dog. We’re going to look at everything from preventative measures to understanding how to treat different varieties of worms. So, let’s get started right away.
Table of Contents:
- Can I Get Worms from My Dog?
- What Do Dog Worms Look Like?
- Are Dog Worms the Same as Human Worms?
- How Can Dog Worms be Passed to Humans?
- What Are the Symptoms of Worms in Humans?
- Can I Get Worms from Kissing My Dog?
- Can Dog Worms Live in Carpet?
- Can Kids Get Worms from Dogs?
- Can Dog Worms Affect Pregnancy?
- Can Dog Worms Kill Humans?
- How Do Humans Get Rid of Worms?
- How Do I Prevent Getting Worms from My Dog?
- Is It Common for Humans to Get Worms from Dogs?
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Can I Get Worms from My Dog?
Unfortunately, the chances of your dog spreading worms to you or someone else in your household is surprisingly high. It depends on what type of worms they have, and their actions as well as your own. Not all kinds of worms your dog can get can be spread to people.
But, they can wreak havoc on your system. This guide will cover which worms you should be concerned about, and what you can do to prevent them. If you do contract these parasites from your pet, we’ll let you know what you can do to treat the problem.
What Do Dog Worms Look Like?
There are several types of parasites that infect dogs, but we’ll cover three of the most common intestinal worms dogs can get that can also affect humans. Knowing what these different worms look like from your dog can help you to identify them quickly and get your dog treated.
Worms that can infect your dog as well as people include:
- Roundworms: These can often be seen by the naked eye in your dog’s stool. Sometimes, you can even see them if your dog vomits. Roundworms are most often passed onto dogs when they’re puppies, through their mother. As far as appearance, they are often compared to cooked spaghetti noodles. They have round and smooth bodies. They are usually 8-10cm in length, but they can get to be up to 18cm long.
- Hookworms: These are considerably smaller than most other types. They rarely get over 2cm long. Unfortunately, they are also extremely thin and almost translucent. It can be hard to see them with the naked eye.
- Tapeworms: These have flat, segmented bodies. They can grow to a massive size compared to other parasites. They can be anywhere from 50cm-250cm long. When you spot a tapeworm in your dog’s feces, it’s likely that you’ll only see a segment and not the entire worm itself. So, don’t assume that your dog is rid of a tapeworm just because you see it in their poop.
Are Dog Worms the Same as Human Worms?
The answer to this is yes and no. Humans aren’t supposed to be infected with the worms dogs can get. But, some of these parasites can be transferred from dogs to people and affect them negatively. They’re the same kind of worm, but they often affect humans differently.
With dogs, intestinal worms usually stay in the intestinal tract. That’s why it’s so common to see them in your dog’s stool. When it comes to worms infecting humans, they can travel to other parts of the body. This is what makes some of them such a problem. In fact, some parasites that are originally found in dogs can be more dangerous to humans.
How Can Dog Worms be Passed to Humans?
You might not think about avoiding certain things with dogs or not allowing them to come close to you in certain situations. Unfortunately, being careless with your dog if they have worms can make it easy for you to contract the parasites, yourself.
They are the rarest type of parasite you can get from your dog, but it does happen. Dogs often get tapeworms by swallowing an infected flea. That’s the most common way people get them, too. If your dog has fleas and you share a bed or other furniture, the fleas could easily jump onto you. They might even attach to you when you’re playing with your dog outside or petting them.
They can easily penetrate the skin. They can also live outside your dog’s body for quite some time. So, if you were to walk barefoot over an area of soil that once contained hookworm-infested feces, you could still contract the parasite. That’s the most common way an infestation occurs in humans.
They may be the scariest parasite you can get from your dog, as well as the easiest to contract. This is because roundworms lay so many eggs, and those eggs are continuously being shed. If you touch a roundworm egg (which can’t be seen with the naked eye) and then touch your hand to your mouth, you could become infected. This could happen easily by either touching your dog or picking up their feces.
What Are the Symptoms of Worms in Humans?
Knowing the symptoms can help you to seek out treatment for yourself faster. The signs of worms in dogs and humans aren’t always the same. Different worms can cause slightly different symptoms depending on where they travel in the body.
But, intestinal worms typically cause the following problems when they infect people:
- Abdominal pain
- Extreme weight loss
- Rash around the anus
- Blood in the stool
This is just a sample of what might occur if you contract worms from your dog. Some symptoms can be even more severe.
For example, roundworms can travel throughout the human body. They can move to different organs, including the brain, liver, lungs, and eyes. This can result in things like vision loss or a heavy cough. If you have these symptoms, starting a treatment right away is imperative.
Can I Get Worms from Kissing My Dog?
Almost everyone likes to get kisses from their dog. Unfortunately, canine kisses can quickly infect you with worms. The reason why may have you thinking twice before allowing your dog to lick you again.
Canine worms are passed through dog kisses if your infected dog licks around their anus. They could pick up the worms themselves, or, more likely, worm eggs on their tongue. When they go to kiss your face, they’re spreading those eggs to you. It’s easy for you to then ingest them and become instantly infected.
The fecal-oral route is the main problem when it comes to dogs passing worms to their owners. If your dog has chronic worms or has had them recently, you might want to avoid being licked for a while.
Can Dog Worms Live in Carpet?
Most dogs go inside and outside on a regular basis. If they’ve stepped in worm-infested feces and then walk through your house, they could be tracking in an infestation. Worm eggs can remain in your carpet for a while, though not as long as they can survive outside in the soil. But, if your dog tracks in worms and then you step in the same area of carpet, you could easily become infected.
Keep your home as clean as possible, especially if your dog already has worms. Steam clean your floors and carpets and vacuum them regularly. Heat is one of the best ways to kill the eggs of these parasites, so steam is your friend when it comes to deep cleaning your house.
You should also clean your dog’s toys, bed, blankets, etc. Making sure no eggs are sticking to anything you or your pet come in contact with on a regular basis will make it easier to treat the worms and keep them away.
Can Kids Get Worms from Dogs?
Children are more susceptible to worms from dogs than adults. There are reasons for this. First, children tend to put their hands in their mouths more often than adults. If they had their hands in the feces-infested soil, they could easily pick up worms from a dog.
Kids also love getting kisses from the family dog. As you now know, it can be sweet to get a lick or two from your pet, but it can also transfer worm eggs quickly.
Children also tend to have less-refined hygiene skills than adults. They don’t wash their hands as much and are eager to touch anything and everything in sight. If your dog has worms or has had them in the past, you need to be aware of how your child interacts with him.
Don’t let them go barefoot in the backyard or play in any dirt where your dog may have gone to the bathroom. If they do, make sure they immediately wash their hands and feet.
Can Dog Worms Affect Pregnancy?
Pregnant women usually have enough to worry about on their own. So, finding out your dog has worms while you’re pregnant can add a lot of stress if you’re not sure what it means for you and your unborn baby.
Pregnant women can go through the same unfortunate side effects as anyone else if they contract worms from a dog. If you’re having abdominal pain and bleeding, diarrhea, etc., it could be severe. An infestation also may take critical nutrients from your body that your pet needs to thrive.
The best thing you can do is to call your doctor or OBGYN if your dog has worms and you’re afraid you’ll get them while you’re pregnant. Your doctor may have some insight on what you can do to protect yourself. They may also want to make sure you haven’t been infected.
In the meantime, be sure to disinfect as much as possible around your house. Try to avoid spending too much direct time with your dog (sleeping in the same bed, sharing a couch, etc.). Make sure you’re washing your hands as often as possible and avoid touching your face.
Unfortunately, these parasites don’t discriminate. You can get them just as easily if you’re pregnant. The most important thing is making sure you take the right steps to keep your baby safe and healthy.
Can Dog Worms Kill Humans?
Roundworms are the most dangerous type of intestinal parasite a person can get from a dog. If left untreated, they can cause serious risks to a person. This is because they can travel throughout the body and affect different parts of it.
Even if roundworms stay in a human’s intestinal tract, they can still cause a lot of damage. If you find blood in your stool or you’re losing a lot of weight suddenly, it could be because of the infestation in your body. Things like breathing issues or coughing, or neurological problems can also be caused by worms in your system.
If these symptoms get bad enough and you don’t treat the problem, it could lead to fatal conditions. This is especially true if the worms are affecting your heart or lungs.
The symptoms that come with different types of worms can start out mild. Some people have worm eggs lying dormant in their bodies for a long time before they ever start to experience any severe signs.
That’s why being aware of your dog’s health and knowing if they have worms can help you to fight back against getting them, yourself. That way, you can get a diagnosis and start a treatment plan.
How Do Humans Get Rid of Worms?
Since certain dog worms can pose a threat to humans, it’s good to know how to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Treatment for these parasites is usually pretty straightforward.
Once you’ve officially been diagnosed with worms, your doctor will likely give you a medication. Most medications designed to ‘de-worm’ a human either kill the worms or paralyze them in place so they can’t lay any more eggs. This allows you to pass the worms through the intestinal tract so that they can be released through your feces.
In rare and severe cases, the worms in your intestine can build up so much that they cause a blockage. If this happens, you may need surgery to clear the blockage and get rid of the rest of the worms.
If one member of your family or anyone living in your household has worms, everyone living there should be treated.
It usually only takes a few weeks of treatment for symptoms to clear up. Your doctor may want to schedule a follow-up appointment with you. They will likely take a stool sample to determine if the worms are still present in your system. If they are, you may need to undergo a second round of treatment.
Natural Ways to Treat Worms in People
Some people have had success with home remedies to get rid of worms. You may already have some of these foods in your home to treat the infestation. These solutions are used because they have anti-parasitic properties.
Eating them in their purest form will yield the best results:
- Unripe papaya
- Pumpkin seeds
These foods don’t pose any risks unless you have or develop an allergy. You can use them along with your prescribed medication to make the symptoms to go away faster.
What Are the Side Effects of Treating Worms?
When you take medication, there are always risks to consider. De-worming medications are usually relatively easy on the body and don’t cause too many serious side effects.
But, some people may experience the following adverse side effects from worming meds:
- Abdominal pain
- A headache
As stated above, some medications might also cause a buildup of worms in your intestinal tract, which can cause discomfort and may affect your ability to go to the bathroom. In this case, surgery can sometimes be required to correct the problem.
For the most part, though, you should have nothing to worry about in taking a worming medication. If any of the side effects (listed above) become hard to bear, you should contact your doctor immediately.
How Do I Prevent Getting Worms from My Dog?
Just as it’s not entirely possible to keep your dog from getting worms, there is no guaranteed way to prevent becoming infected.
But, there are things you can do to lower your risk:
- Don’t walk barefoot in areas where your dog poops.
- Wash your hands frequently, especially after being outside.
- Wash your hands after petting and playing with a dog who has worms.
- Don’t let a dog or puppy with worms sleep in your bed.
- Frequently steam clean and disinfect your floors and dog’s belongings.
- Make sure everyone in your household follows these preventative measures.
Because worms are either ingested or penetrate through the skin, you probably won’t know the exact moment when you contracted them. That’s what makes them so hard to prevent. But, by using the above tips, you can help to keep these parasites away from your family.
Is It Common for Humans to Get Worms from Dogs?
It’s common for humans to get infected with intestinal parasites from a dog. But, there are ways to lower your risk of this happening.
The first step is making sure your dog doesn’t have worms. If they do, getting them on a de-worming treatment right away will be the best thing that you can do for them, and everyone in your family.
If you do get worms from your dog, recognizing the symptoms straight away means that you can treat them sooner. Worms are reasonably easy to treat in people. But, if they’re given time to thrive inside your body, some types could lead to serious and lasting health problems.