Hello AKC! My 14-month-old pug loves earthworms and eats them at every opportunity. He consumes the same quantity of dry dog food as his sibling but prefers to munch on earthworms outside. His sibling doesn’t consume earthworms. Surely, hunger is not the problem. Is there something missing from his diet? Can the earthworms hurt his health in any way? Do I need to stop him from eating them? Undiscovered Pleasures in Delaware Message to Unearthed Dogs will consume the most bizarre stuff. Experts frequently disagree or don’t know why something is the way it is. For instance, it is not proven that so many dogs consume grass. Some think dogs do it to relieve digestive issues, while others assert it’s just because they like greens. Others claim they may be lacking a nutrient. Regarding earthworms, I’ve heard several dog owners say that their canines happily eat these segmented hors d’oeuvres without suffering any negative consequences. There are a few reasons, though, why you shouldn’t allow your dog to eat this garden garnish. Due to their ability to move soil, clean it up, and add nutrients, earthworms are excellent for the soil. They accomplish this by ingesting the dirt. An earthworm could come across germs and other parasites that are hazardous to dogs while out and about. Parasite Issues While germs could affect your pet’s stomach, roundworms should be your main concern. Other canines or wildlife may deposit roundworm eggs (Toxocara larvae) in the soil, which the earthworms subsequently consume. Your dog then stands the danger of contracting the common parasite after eating the earthworms. Roundworms can easily infect puppies, especially if their moms have them. But they can also affect grownups. The most obvious symptom of roundworm infection is spaghetti-shaped worms, which you can see in your dog’s stool. Don’t lose hope if your dog does contract roundworms; developing a de-worming regimen with your veterinarian will generally solve the issue. An estimated 20,000 or more earthworms can be found in a medium-sized garden. Even worse, if your dog contracts roundworms, he might pass them on to you. Therefore, prevent your dog from eating the earthworms to keep both you and him parasite-free.
The non-profit AKC, which was established in 1884, is the acknowledged authority on dog breeds, health, and training. The AKC is committed to improving dog sports and actively promotes responsible dog ownership.
Can my dog become ill after consuming dead worms?
Worms on their own don’t hurt your dog. They are being threatened by the soil surrounding them as well as any parasites, bacteria, fungi, or toxins that the worms may be carrying.
When your dog begins frequently consuming worms, it runs the following major risks:
Your dog can ingest harmful bacteria
Numerous fungus and bacteria found in soil have the potential to sicken your dog. After consuming worms, they could experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The nasty bacteria in these worms don’t usually constitute a long-term health concern, but your dog may feel sick for a few hours or days after ingesting them.
Your dog can ingest toxic chemicals and pesticides from eating the worms and surrounding soil
Along with his delectable worm diet, your dog may also consume some soil. The chemicals and pesticides in this soil may be harmful to your dog. Additionally, these toxins may be concentrated inside the worm.
It’s best to stop your dog from eating so many worms if you want to prevent long-term negative effects.
Your dog can catch parasites from eating worms
Common parasites that may be present in the worms themselves or in the soil around them can be contracted by your dog. One of the reasons it’s bad for your dog to consume earthworms is that these parasites can make your dog ill.
The following are typical parasites that your dog may acquire:
These are typical in dogs, and pups in particular. Check your dog’s excrement frequently for microscopic, threadlike white worms if you are concerned that they may have roundworms. If you notice them, speak with your veterinarian about the best course of action to get them out of your dog’s system.
Additionally, consuming earthworms and nearby soil might result in the development of whipworms and hookworms.
The Capillaria plica is less typical (aka dog bladder worm). As the name implies, this parasite targets your dog’s kidneys and bladder, where it can cause serious health problems if it becomes entrenched.
It’s advisable to visit your veterinarian if you observe typical signs of this parasite, like incontinence or blood in the pee, even though they’re not life-threatening.
The gigantic kidney worma parasite, which can be consumed along with the common earthworm, is even less frequent but still poses a risk.
This worm attacks your dog’s kidneys and abdomen, as its name suggests. If these worms enter both of your dog’s kidneys, they could die. They can grow up to a meter long.
Do worms affect dogs in any way?
Worms can harm your dog’s internal organs, cause unconsciousness, and even cause death if left untreated. Take your dog to the closest vet clinic if you believe it may have worms.
The greatest preventive measure is to take a prophylactic medication on a monthly basis. These drugs typically cost $6 to 18 per month and can also help avoid other worm illnesses. Be careful to include this significant expense in your monthly pet budget. The cost of de-wormers may be partially covered by a pet insurance plan with preventative care, which will encourage you to continue with regular check-ups and refills.
If your dog exhibits symptoms of worms, as with any pet health issue, get advice from your veterinarian.
Has your dog ever had heartworms diagnosed? How did you handle it? In the comments, please.
Why do dogs lick the remains of worms?
“Many dog behaviorists think that the real cause of this rolling is that dogs are attempting to leave their natural scent on the dead things. By scent-marking their prey, dogs’ ancestors kept other scavengers at bay, according to Claudine Sievert, DVM, a veterinarian based in Kansas and a veterinary consultant at CatPet.club.
However, Sievert claims that it doesn’t make sense to her because dogs don’t brush their necks and lips to expel saliva; instead, they rub and roll around on their backs, which appears to be an attempt to absorb or ingest something “Put on the fragrance.
The majority of animal scientists believe that the practice is probably a relic from the dog’s distant predecessors, the wolves, who were known to roll around in dead items and smelly objects to disguise their scent while hunting.”
This is how wolves mask their scents to avoid being detected “Hunt more successfully by hiding from the prey, claims Sievert.
In the same way that dogs scratch and circle on their beds or yours when they are getting ready for bed because their wild ancestors patted down tall brush to bed themselves at night, researchers have studied scent rolling behavior among wolves, foxes, and coyotes and continue to debate the real reasons this leftover behavior remains among our domesticated dogs.
Can dogs become ill after consuming earthworms?
Look at the young child in the picture below. As long as you boil this little guy, the ordinary earthworm, it’s perfectly fine to eat.
However, a crucial query was raised in a Labrador retriever forum where the above-mentioned essay was given as a resource. Canines can eat worms? What happens if your dog enjoys eating earthworms? Is that hazardous?
Why Eating Earthworms is Dangerous for Dogs
When eating earthworms, people remove the “dirt from the worm’s digestive tract (which is essentially the whole worm) and then thoroughly boil it. Naturally, dogs prefer their earthworms uncooked and from the ground.
In other words, dogs can occasionally contract the big kidney worm Dioctopyma renale by eating earthworms. The intestines and kidneys of dogs become infected with this extremely hazardous parasite. The kidneys may eventually be destroyed by it. The worms are enormous and can grow as long as 40 inches (103 cm).
The gigantic kidney worm can travel with dogs when they consume raw fish, frogs, and certain ground worms like the common earthworm, which is unusual for companion dogs. Dogs may potentially contract the parasite by ingesting muddy water containing mud worms, which, while in their larval stage, may carry the disease.
Although uncommon, it is also possible for humans to contract the disease. Eating fish that isn’t fully cooked is most likely to cause this. The main host is the canine species.
The worm will move from the digestive tract to the liver and then to the kidneys after being consumed (usually the right one). The worms can fail to reach the kidneys and instead infect the belly.
However, once inside the kidneys, they obstruct them and start killing the renal tissue. As was already indicated, the right kidney is typically the only one that is infected; nevertheless, if both kidneys are impacted, renal failure may be the tragic and fatal outcome.
The giant kidney worm’s life cycle is shown in the graphic below from the CDC, which shows how infection happens.
You might feel secure in assuming that a trip to the clinic would take care of it if your dog ever contracted these worms. However, the symptoms may be so vague and all-encompassing that enormous kidney worms may never be identified. If you think your dog may have been infected with earthworms, let your doctor know and request a urinalysis to be sure. A urinalysis will show whether the worm’s eggs have been passed into the urine. However, the issue is that in order to find eggs, a female parasite must be present. Finding the worms in the kidneys can be done using ultrasonography and radiography.
However, even if it is discovered, there is no known cure. One kidney can be removed if it is damaged. An exploratory nephrotomy, which includes slicing into the kidney to check for worms, is occasionally performed. Similar to that, it can be required to do a laparotomy to ensure that worms are not infecting the abdominal cavity. 1 The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health: Home Edition by Cynthia M. Kahn. 2007; Merck & Co., Inc. 2 Essentials of Veterinary Parasitology by Hany M. Elsheikha. 2011 Caister Academic
Capillaria Plica from Earthworms
Additionally, dogs can contract Capillaria plica from earthworms, a tiny roundworm that mostly affects the bladder but can also infect the ureters and kidneys. One of the most common methods for dogs to contract this parasite is through earthworms. Although increased urination, urinary incontinence (the inability to regulate urine), and peeing in unusual areas might occur, there is no obvious symptom of the illness in dogs. There are numerous antiparasitic medications on the market. 3 The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health: Home Edition by Cynthia M. Kahn. 2007; Merck & Co., Inc.
Therefore, unless you plan to cook some for your dogs, avoid letting them consume earthworms. You might want to think about forwarding this information to your canine friends.
Why does my dog consume dead insects?
Because they are curious, dogs eat bugs. They feel compelled to chase after this tiny thing they observe flying around or crawling on the ground. It makes sense that since dogs are drawn to moving objects like balls and toys, they would also chase after insects.
How do I handle my pets’ pica?
A pet who has pica will eat things that are not food, like toys, rocks, grass, and sticks. Kitty litter, twine, dental floss, and clothing are among the things cats are more prone to eat.
The issue with pica is that the foods consumed may seriously obstruct the digestive system. These objects may either become entangled in the delicate intestine or be unable to pass, leading to a serious sickness and subsequent endoscopy or emergency surgery.
The following symptoms could indicate a GI blockage in your pet:
- bending over to pass a stool
- reduced appetite
What Causes Pica in Pets?
The majority of pet cases of pica are behavioral in nature. However, it’s crucial to rule out any illnesses like undernourishment, liver disease, anemia, and parasites. We can begin to consider causes and prevention if we are aware that your pet is consuming non-food objects for behavioral reasons.
The following behavioral causes of pica are typical:
- learned conduct
- worry or tension
- aversion to punishment (in the case of stool eating, eliminating the evidence of an accident in the house may help the dog avoid being punished)
Pica frequently does not go away on its own. Regardless of how it began or the reasons for it, it is frequently a compulsive activity.
Treatment and Prevention of Pica
The following steps can be followed to assist avoid pica and manage the behavioral issue if there is no underlying medical illness.
- Ensure that your pet receives adequate mental and physical stimulation. For advice, let us know your dog’s breed, age, and lifestyle. Hunting and sporting breeds need far more exercise than the average dog, which needs at least 60 minutes of exercise every day.
- If you spend a lot of time away from home, think about using environmental enrichment techniques like food puzzles, games, and a dog walker to prevent boredom.
- Cut off access to anything that your dog might eat.
- If your dog likes to eat things from the yard, think about training her to wear a basket muzzle. A muzzled dog should never be left unsupervised.
- While on a leash walk, use food and praise to divert your dog from ingesting foreign things or poop. Teach him to say, “Leave it.”
- Consider using cayenne pepper or a spray of bitter apples to cover the items.
- Give your pet a lot of safe chew toys and other items to play with that they can’t swallow.
- Consider getting your pet connected with a veterinarian behaviorist who can assist you in identifying the cause of their behavior if they continue to consume foreign objects.
The majority of the time, pica treatment and prevention will be ongoing initiatives. A follow-up appointment may be required. Preventative measures, however, are unquestionably superior to life-threatening conditions and urgent surgery (and rehabilitation) to remove foreign objects from your pet’s digestive system.
What do the tiny white worms in my dog’s excrement represent?
Tapeworms are long, flat worms that lodge in the intestines of your dog (or cat). The body of a tapeworm is divided into several segments, each of which has reproductive organs of its own. Finding segments—small white worms that resemble grains of rice or seeds—on your dog’s hind end, in their excrement, or in their living and sleeping areas is usually how tapeworm infections are identified.
Your dog can get tapeworms of several distinct types or species, each of which has an infection-causing stage in a different intermediate (in-between) host that the dog eats. The intermediate hosts of Taenia and Echinococcus species are small rodents (mice, rats, squirrels), rabbits, or large animals (such as deer or sheep), whereas the tapeworm Dipylidium caninum needs fleas.