How to Tell When a Dog Is Recovering From Worms?

By Nina Rotz

Intestinal parasites and worms in dogs are treated with three common ingredients: milbemycin oxime, ivermectin and Pyrantel. The medication administered to dogs for worms acts quickly to kill larvae and adult worms inside the dog. Results can be seen within days and can continue to destroy worms for up to two months, until the infestation is completely cleared out. Treated dogs expel worms and parasites through bowel movements. It is normal to see diarrhea the day after a dose is administered, and pieces of worms may be seen in the dog’s stools days after medicine is given.

Home Examination

Place a plastic bag on your hand. Pick up a small amount of the dog's feces and examine it for expelled worms.

Look for tapeworm segments which are 1/4 inch long, flat and whitish-tan in color. Live tapeworm segments will wiggle but dead or dry ones will resemble grains of rice.

Examine for yellowish-white worms that coil up in the stool, these are roundworms. Look for jelly- or mucous-like excrement, which is also another sign of roundworms passing.

Feel the underside of your dog's belly. Move your hand from the top of its chest all the way to its private parts. Dogs with worms have a potbelly appearance and their bellies feel swollen. The swollen or bloated feel should surpass within a week of medication administration.

Behavior and Eating Changes

Watch your dog for vomiting or coughing. Dogs who have been treated with deworming medicine will stop vomiting and coughing. Cough in dogs with worms often starts after a physical activity.

Spot signs of recovery by examining the dog's physical activity levels. Dogs with worms can be lethargic. Within a week of medication your dog should be able to run, play and show its normal interests.

Monitor your dog's eating habits. The dog should be eating again and showing interest in treats/dry dog food within a week. Treated dogs show signs of improvement quickly, as worms no longer give them an upset stomach or belly aches.

Veterinarian Visit

Take a fecal sample to your dog's veterinarian. Place a small amount of feces (preferably fresh, collected the day of the appointment) in a plastic bag.

Have the veterinarian perform a microscopic examination of the dog's feces.

Include an anal swab or examination of the dog's anus and hair around it.

Have the veterinarian perform blood work for a complete blood count (CBC), for signs of anemia or elevated eosinophil count. Both are signs of a parasitic infection.

Purchase monthly prevention medication from the veterinarian or over the counter (all pet stores sell worm preventive medicine). Administer according to package directions, based on the dog's weight.