Caring for a puppy is difficult. Most pet parents don’t know what to do if they find that their puppy is infested with gastrointestinal worms or whether they can be transmitted through touch. So, can you touch your puppy if he has worms?
You absolutely can. But you need to make sure that you follow all hygiene practices afterward. Since worms get transmitted primarily through feces, it’s important that you wear gloves when picking up any feces from your dog.
Keep reading below as we answer this question in more detail and provide more information about puppy worms.
Before reading this article, “Can I Touch My Puppy If He Has Worms,” check out: How Long Will My Puppy Poop Worms After Deworming? Vet Advice! (2023) and How to Deworm a Puppy Naturally! (2023).
Can I Touch My Puppy If He Has Worms?
Most internal parasites are only transmitted to humans through the ingestion of infected animal feces, so you can safely pet your puppy even if he has worms. Puppies are especially vulnerable to worm infection, either prior to birth or via their mothers’ milk.
That’s why it’s crucial to check the puppies’ feces frequently and give them preventative medication if necessary. However, if you practice good hygiene, you should be able to pet and touch your puppy even if he has worms.
Although there is always a chance of contracting a disease, it is highly improbable that you will contract worms from your puppy if you only touch him.
Which Worms Can I Contract From My Dog?
Below, we’ll cover the types of worms that are transmissible from dogs to humans.
The eggs of roundworms are deposited underground. Some of the worm eggs will be excreted by your dog if he has them. These eggs have the ability to grow even after being buried underground.
After that, they sit around and wait to be picked up by a host. Getting infected with roundworms is as simple as putting your hands in your mouth after picking something up off the floor. While it may seem gross, many people will dive into a bag of chips without first washing their hands.
Eating undercooked or badly processed food can also cause roundworms in dogs. Keep an eye out for roundworms if you let your dog run after rodents and squirrels.
When compared to roundworms, hookworms are more easily contracted. Their mouths are hooked, and they use these to latch onto the stomachs of humans and dogs. Hookworm eggs can be found in feces, where they will hatch and develop into filariform larvae.
Hookworms can penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream. Walking barefoot on the grass can expose you to hookworms, especially if you do so near your dog’s favorite poop location. When dogs dig in the soil or frolic in the sand, they put themselves at risk of becoming infected with hookworms.
Hydatid tapeworms prefer to infest dogs, although they will infect humans if given the chance. Infestation by hydatids is potentially fatal.
Occasionally, people might go months or even years before showing any symptoms. Infection with hydatid tapeworms can occur in people if they come into contact with eggs that are still in their infectious stage.
Dogs contract these tapeworms by eating offal, also known as variety meat, which is the digestive tract of animals like sheep and cattle. Strangely, dogs are immune to the harmful effects of hydatid tapeworm.
They have the potential to bring about abnormal organ function, abnormal organ pressure, and sudden bone fractures in people. Hydatid illness, caused by the hydatid tapeworm, is a type of cystic echinococcosis.
The transmission of whipworms is similar to that of roundworms and hookworms. On the other hand, it is far more challenging to get rid of them.
The mature whipworm feeds on the lining of the dog’s or human’s intestine. The female whipworm deposits its unfertilized eggs in human waste. These eggs can remain viable for up to five years before needing to be retrieved by a host.
Each day, the female whipworm will lay hundreds of eggs. Although their lifespan as a species is only around a year, whipworms reproduce at a frightening rate.
In some cases, whipworm infections can return three months after treatment has ended. When trying to get rid of particularly hardy worms, such as whipworms, a second dose of deworming medication two weeks after the first is recommended. The second dose kills any surviving worms and any eggs they may have laid.
Heartworms are spread to dogs when they are bitten by an infected mosquito. The larva then travels to the heart and lives in the pulmonary arteries.
Heartworms are extremely dangerous, as they can destroy vital organs and cause fatal lung disease in dogs. Heartworm symptoms only appear once the worm has established itself in your dog’s blood vessels.
To our good fortune, heartworms do not thrive on human blood for very long. The majority of them die before reaching the heart. In humans, heartworms are unable to mature into full-grown adults and instead stay dormant close to the skin. They could be very painful and unpleasant.
How Do Dogs Get Worms?
Below, we’ll explain some of the ways your dog can get worms.
Feces or Environment
Most worms in the digestive tract reproduce in the feces of their hosts. Your dog is at risk of infection if it eats or plays with the feces of sick dogs, cats, or wild animals.
Worm eggs can also be deposited in the soil near toilet areas used by dogs or other animals. It’s also possible for the larvae of certain worms to enter the body through the skin. Even when the feces is picked up, the dirt can still be dangerous for dogs to walk on.
Likewise, human children are frequently infected by worm eggs in the soil due to the common habit of putting one’s bare hands in one’s mouth after engaging in a bit of dirt play.
If your dog eats an infected rodent like a mouse, he or she may get a worm infestation. Even if your dog isn’t a born hunter, it’s possible they’ll still try to put anything in their mouth if they come across a dead animal on a walk.
Puppies can get worms from their mothers while still in the womb or while they are nursing. This is why it’s crucial to protect pregnant pets from parasites.
The life cycle of some worms, like tapeworms, is more intricate than that of others. A tapeworm spends its early life in a smaller host (often a flea) and its later life in a bigger host.
If your dog gets bit by an infected flea and then turns around to lick the sore spot, he or she runs the risk of swallowing the flea and thus contracting the tapeworm.
The good news is that a person cannot contract tapeworms from a dog. On the other hand, you run the risk of getting the worms any time you’re in an area with fleas.
Dog Worm Treatment
Dewormer medication is the only surefire way to rid a dog of worms. In order to effectively treat worm infestations, it is important to identify the species of worms. No one dewormer is effective against every type of parasite, and not all worms react to the same medication.
Some over-the-counter worm treatments don’t work very well at all. Your vet can advise you on the best wormers for your pet based on the specific parasite it has. Deworming generally has no negative effects on dogs.
If unwanted effects do arise, however, they usually show up as:
Most cases are minor and clear up without the need for veterinary care. Dogs with a mutation in the multi-drug resistance 1 (MDR1) gene may be more susceptible to side effects and hypersensitivity to deworming drugs than others.
If you’re interested in having your dog examined for this gene mutation, it’s best to speak with a veterinarian in your area.
Worm Prevention for Your Dog
Protecting your pet from heartworms and intestinal parasites is as simple as giving them a commercially available dewormer once a month.
Since the average parasite’s life span is only three to four weeks, monthly treatment is usually enough for prevention and treatment.
If you give your pregnant dog a dewormer on a monthly basis, you will be able to prevent the infection from being passed on to her puppies. After weaning is complete, the puppies can begin taking a dewormer.
Here are some more precautions you may take to protect your dog against worms.
Pick Up Your Pet’s Waste
Because of how quickly pets may get reinfested with worms, prevention is key following deworming. Pick up the poop as soon as possible in your yard.
Stay Out of the Dog Parks
Pets might pick up worm eggs or larvae from other pets if they frequent places like the dog park. Try to limit their time in the dog park.
Frequently Asked Questions
To prevent the spread of hookworms and roundworms, you should not let your dog lick your face. You should also take similar precautions if your puppy has Giardia.
It’s wise to separate your dog with worms from any other pets and your children and clean up after them in the yard. Additionally, your veterinarian will likely want to deworm your other pets.
Generally speaking, you should be fine to sleep with your dog while he has tapeworms. The chances of spreading the worms in that context are highly unlikely.
Conclusion for “Can I Touch My Puppy If He Has Worms”
In conclusion, you can touch your puppy if he has worms. But you’ll have to be careful about hygiene. Make sure to wash your hands afterward. The best way to prevent transmission is to treat your puppy for worms through dewormer medication.
If you find this guide, “Can I Touch My Puppy If He Has Worms,” helpful, try these topics:
- Why Your Puppy Died After Deworming! (2023)
- How Long Does Dewormer Take to Work? (2023)
- Puppy Growls When Picked Up! How to Stop It?
Learn more by watching “How to Deworm a Puppy Yourself At Home (And What You Must Know Beforehand)” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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