Prevention and Remedies for Dealing with Dog Worms Naturally

by | Dec 2, 2021 | Health Conditions

Dog worms are, unfortunately, quite common. These parasites use our dogs as hosts and live off the nourishment our dogs provide. Um, gross. Worms enter a dog’s body through openings in their mouths, skin, or paw pads. They immediately get busy repressing the immune system and excreting waste, interfering with your dog’s detoxification pathways. 

Whenever you’re dealing with parasitic infections, it’s important to work on both the immune and liver systems. Keep in mind, avoiding infestations is what’s important. Harboring a few worms isn’t a five-alarm fire (we all harbor worms inside our body…gross, I know, but it’s true). 

This process is the whole-dog approach to worming. The goal is to make your dog as healthy as possible and your dog’s terrain (the tissues inside them) as inhospitable as possible. 

You may be saying, “but I don’t want my dog to have any worms!” Impossible. Worms happen. You can’t hold your dog in stasis. Controlling an infestation is what you can do. 

First, let’s take a look at the big four of dog worms: hook, round, tape and whipworms. 

Common Dog Worms

1. Hookworms (Ancylostoma caninum/braziliense) 

Hookworms are worms with hooks attaching themselves to the intestinal wall where they feed on blood. They’re between ½ and ¾ inch long, small and light gray in color. Hookworms enter a dog’s body through their paws and contaminated foods. Most healthy dogs don’t get hookworm infestations. Idealistic conditions include stress and high dog volume areas. 

Symptoms:

  • anemia
  • black stool
  • bloody stool
  • inflammation
  • itchy paw pads
  • lethargy
  • mucus poop
  • nausea
  • vomiting 

Transmittable from mother to puppies: yes 

Encyst: yes 

**Many worms encyst, meaning they form a protective barrier around themselves hiding from the immune system and many dewormers.

2. Roundworms (Toxicara canis) 

Roundworms can grow up to seven inches long and resemble spaghetti. They’re most prevalent in the warm soil of the South Eastern United States. Roundworms live in the small intestine, affecting puppies and immune compromised and geriatric dogs. Dogs acquire roundworms by eating mice, small birds and worm eggs found in dog poop, grass, and contaminated soil.

Symptoms:

  • abdominal distention
  • diarrhea
  • lactose intolerance
  • lethargy
  • loose stool
  • malabsorption
  • weight loss
  • vitamin A deficiency
  • vomiting

Transmittable from mother to puppies: yes 

Encyst: yes 

3. Tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum, spp) 

Tapeworms are common and live in the gut. Dogs acquire them through domesticated animals, fleas, mice, and wild animals like rabbits. When tapeworms exit the anus, they look like small pieces of rice. Tapeworms affect the central nervous system, giving off toxic by-products. 

Symptoms:

  • dandruff
  • diarrhea
  • high appetite or loss of appetite
  • malabsorption
  • vitamin and mineral deficiency
  • weight loss

Transmittable from mother to puppies: yes 

Encyst: yes 

4. Whipworms (trichuris vulpis) 

Whipworms are horrible. In my opinion, they’re one of the worst intestinal worms because reinfection is common and they destroy your soil. They’re approximately three inches long with a tail resembling a whip. Dogs infect themselves by walking on eggs or eating contaminated feces, soil, and water. Whipworms reach maturity at three months, living off blood and multiplying in the cecum (where the small intestine and the large intestine meet). Whipworms are excreted in your dog’s feces and lay dormant in the environment patiently waiting for a host. Whipworm infestations range from mild to serious. 

Symptoms:

  • anemia
  • bloody diarrhea
  • intestinal inflammation
  • mucus
  • watery diarrhea
  • vomiting

Transmittable from mother to puppies: yes 

Encyst: yes

How to Tell if Your Dog Has Worms

Worm infestations are insidious, coming on gradually and often hiding inside your dog’s gastrointestinal tract. Many dogs are asymptomatic when they have worms. Having your dog’s stool analyzed yearly or bi-yearly helps ensure your dog doesn’t have an infestation. 

Some dog worms can be obvious and some elusive. For example, tapeworms and roundworms are usually found in your dog’s stool, while hookworms and whipworms can really only be seen with a fecal exam. The health of your dog usually denotes what symptoms will occur. Each type of infestation has a different set of symptoms (which I listed above), but these are typical with each one:

  • butt licking
  • scooting
  • abdominal bloating and pain
  • diarrhea
  • dull coat
  • fever
  • mucus wrapped stool
  • vomiting
  • fever

Thankfully, using anti-parasitic foods and herbs can help keep your dog’s worm load at a minimum and provide an unhealthy environment for these parasitic creatures. 

Whole Dog Worming

First off, before doing any kind of treatment, make sure your dog actually has worms. Avoid treating for “ I think my dog has worms”. False positive and negatives are common in testing. Try to test during a full moon when worms are most active, or pay special attention to your dog during the full moon cycle. Taking a poop sample during the full moon helps deter false positives. You can also test at home or send poop out to be tested. Here are a few places to check out:

Whole dog worming looks at your dog as an ecosystem with emphasis on their kidneys, liver, and lymphatic system. Worms create excess metabolic and toxic wastes. The liver has to work extra hard processing worm by-products, and it needs help from both the kidneys and lymphatic systems as they help move fluids and support the blood and elimination systems. 

Whole dog worming involves feeding naturally anti-parasitic, cleansing, and nourishing foods known for increasing immunity, balancing digestive function, and creating an inhospitable environment for worms. Healthy dogs with strong immune systems are unlikely hosts for worm infestations. I’m not saying a healthy dog can’t get worms – they do – they just don’t get them as often, are asymptomatic, and expel them naturally. 

One of the best ways to help support the immune system while dealing with worm infestations is using natural, anti-parasitic, cleansing, soothing and nourishing foods and herbs. A healthy immune system helps balance the digestive system and a balanced gut can negatively affect the lifespan of intestinal worms. 

Diet is key for healthy guts and healthy dogs! Roughly eighty percent of your dog’s immune system is in the digestive tract so keeping this balance is important. Feeding a fresh food diet whenever possible will go a long way towards maintaining a healthy internal ecosystem. 

Prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes (when needed) strengthen digestion and support a healthy microbiome. They help build healthy “inhospitable” intestinal tissues creating an anti-parasitic environment. 

Tips for Intestinal Health and Worming

When using foods and herbs for intestinal health, try to follow these guidelines: 

1. If your dog is pregnant or lactating, make sure the food or herb is safe for them. 

2. More is not better. Don’t give more than the recommended dose of any food or herb without consulting an herbalist or veterinarian first. 

3. When giving puppies herbs make sure they’re safe for dogs under six months old. 

4. Only feed frozen or previously frozen pork, rabbit, or wild proteins. If freezing from fresh, allow 10-12 days. 

5. Give digestive enzymes as strong stomach acid is key to keeping pathogens from taking over the digestive system. 

6. Prebiotics and probiotics are integral supplements when worming as the immune system depends on healthy levels of gut flora. Beneficial bacteria depend on food sources (prebiotics) so give them together. 

Active Worm Guidelines

1. Before bed, give your dog an enzyme containing amaylase, cellulase, and lipase on an empty stomach. Wait 20 minutes and follow with organic olive oil. This helps lubricate your dog’s intestines, expelling worms during treatment. Give 1/2 tsp of oil for every 10 lbs. 

2. If you suspect your dog has worms, give a vitamin, mineral, and trace mineral supplement as worms bring down certain levels like B12 and magnesium. Phytoplankon is rich in minerals and amino acids. Humic and fulvic acid are good for trace minerals. 

3. For dogs with weak digestion, supplement with HCI (hydrochloric acid) with food. Normal HCI levels help strengthen the gastrointestinal tract and rid your dog’s body of worms, including eggs and larva.

4. Worm activity elevates during a full moon. This is the best time to test and treat for worms. Give supplements and herbs three days leading up to the full moon, the day of, and three days afterwards. Full moon treatment is best used for more potent herbs. 

 5. Herbalist Juliette Barclay Levy taught about the effects of the enzyme CoQ10 and its ability to rid a dog’s body of tapeworms (as well as other worms). In 2002, researchers at UCLA found that worms not exposed to CoQ10 lived up to 60% longer than those exposed to higher levels of the enzyme. Dogs produce their own levels of CoQ10 but as they age their levels decrease. Feeding whole food supplements can benefit dogs with worms. Foods like liver and sardines are good sources. Ensure supplement forms are non-GMO. Give 20mg for every 25 lbs. 

6. Supplement with milk thistle 1 week prior to worming, during, and two weeks after. Give 150 mg per every 10 pounds, twice daily. Milk thistle is safe for puppies and pregnancy. Please note: this is a higher dose of milk thistle only for when you are actively worming your dog. Otherwise cut the dose in half.

7. When treating whipworms, give marshmallow or slippery elm root infusion each night before bed. This practice helps expel whipworms out of your dog’s intestines. Directions: Mix 1 tablespoon of dried powdered/loose herb to 8 ounces of boiling water and infuse until thickened. Give 1/4 tsp for every 10 lbs. 

Food and Herbal Remedies for Dog Worms

You will notice that I’ve indicated the energetics for most of these. Balanced energetics keep your dog’s health at an optimal level, increasing disease prevention. For more on canine energetics, and to figure out if your dog is warm or cool, read this post.

Apple Cider Vinegar – warming/all worms

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) helps balance the PH of your dog’s gastrointestinal tract and create an alkaline, anti-worm environment. Organic ACV helps keep your dog’s gastrointestinal system alkaline especially if your dog is prone to worms. 

Instructions & Dosage: Give daily with food. Extra small dogs: 1/8 tsp, small dogs: 1/4 tsp,  medium dogs: 1/2 tsp, large dogs: 3/4 tsp, and extra-large dogs: 1 tsp.   

  • Remedy Type: liquid
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: yes
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Black Cumin Seed Oil (Nigella sativa) – warming/hook, tape, roundworms

Black cumin as a freshly ground seed or oil is excellent when using in combination with other herbs. It helps treat adult worms, larvae and eggs. Nigella also helps reduce egg populations and is especially effective for hook and tapeworms. 

Instructions & Dosage: 1/4 tsp ground seeds for every 10 lbs. Oil dosage: 1/8 tsp for every 10 pounds of weight.

  • Remedy Type: ground seed and oil
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: no
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) – neutral/hook, tape, round, whipworms

Black walnut contains a cytotoxic and anti-parasitic constituent called juglone. This makes black walnut an herb needing supervision and part of a specific protocol. Black walnut helps oxygenate your dog’s blood and expel all types of worms. Again, it should only be used under the supervision of an experienced herbalist or holistic vet as it can harm the liver when used incorrectly. More is NEVER better.  

Dosage: Use according to a specific protocol. Do not use for more than 14 consecutive days. Can be used one week on and one week off. Caution: if stomach upset, diarrhea or vomiting occurs, discontinue and give milk thistle.  

  • Remedy Type: tincture or dried herb
  • Practitioner Guidance: yes
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: no
  • Safe for Puppies: no
  • Prevention: no

Carrot – neutral/all worms

Carrots are a whole food high in fiber and vitamin A. They help cleanse your dog’s intestinal walls, detaching worms and other parasites. Carrots help aid in assimilation and elimination of wastes. 

Instructions & Dosage: 1 tsp of coarsely chopped carrot for every 10 lbs in as little food as possible.

  • Remedy Type: food
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: yes
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Chamoile (Matricaria chamomilla) – neutral to cooling/round and whipworms

Chamomile helps dogs who are prone to round and whipworms. It’s anti-spasm, anti-inflammatory, and easy on the gut. Combine chamomile with other herbs like elecampane, neem leaf, and olive. 

Instructions & Dosage: Give twice daily. Tincture give 1 drop for every 10 lbs. If using a glycerine extract, double the dosage. Infusion: 1 Tablespoon dried chamomile for 8 ounces of almost boiling water steeped 30-45 minutes. Let cool and give over food. Add spent dried herb to food.  Give 1 tsp per 10 lbs. Caution: some dogs can have an allergy to chamomile so test first.

  • Remedy Type: tincture or infusion
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: no
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) – warming/round, whip, hook, tapeworms

Use dried cloves for worming. Cloves need care when using as they’re high in tannins and eugenol, which help kill larvae and eggs while expelling adult worms. Despite energetics, clove can be used acutely for worming. Stop use when worms are clear and ALWAYS use cloves under the care of a veterinarian or skilled practitioner. Use cloves as part of a formula and specific protocol. I recommend combining with milk thistle. 

Instructions & Dosage: Give cloves one week on and one week off for 8-10 weeks. Give1/16 level teaspoon of clove powder per 10 lbs. once daily. Caution: toxic to liver when used inappropriately. Don’t use clove oil or clove essential oil. Don’t use cloves more than twice per year.  

  • Remedy Type:  ground cloves
  • Practitioner Guidance: yes
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: no
  • Safe for Puppies: no
  • Prevention: no

Coconut (Cocos nucifera) – neutral/tape, round, hookworm

Dried, unsweetened coconut flakes are high in medium-chain triglycerides (capric, caprylic, and lauric acids) and fiber, which help expel and prevent intestinal worms.   

Instructions & Dosage: Give 1/2 tsp for every 10 lbs as a preventative in food. When using for active infestation or high worm load, give coconut flakes in as little food as possible, wait 2 hours, then give 1/8 teaspoon of olive or castor oil for every 10 lbs.   

  • Remedy Type: food
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: yes
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris) Flower Essence – neutral/all worms

Crab apple flower essence helps cleanse and detoxify “wormy” dogs. Flower essences and worms have an electromagnetic charge. Crab apple works with a worm’s voltage vibration making your dog’s internal terrain polarized and inhospitable. Think of crab apple as a big “worms not welcome here” sign.

Instructions & Dosage: 3-6 drops in water or mouth. 

  • Remedy Type: tincture
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: yes
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus) – cooling/all worms 

Cramp bark is an anti-spasmodic like chamomile but stronger. It helps with worm-associated cramping despite energetics when used acutely. A high worm load can cause gastrointestinal discomfort tensing up smooth muscles. Cramp bark relaxes musculature during worm treatment. 

Instructions & Dosage: 1 drop for every 10 lbs before food

  • Remedy Type: tincture
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: yes
  • Safe for Puppies: no  
  • Prevention: no

Organic Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) – cold/tapeworm

Organic cucumbers are a part of food treatment as well as prevention in warm to hot spectrum dogs. Cucumis sativus contains tapeworm killing ereptic enzymes

Instructions & Dosage: Serve chopped and unpeeled. 1/2 tsp for every 10 lbs daily in food

  • Remedy Type: food 
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: yes
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Diatomaceous Earth – neutral/hook, round, whip

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made up of fossilized organisms called diatoms. These particles help break up worms and expel them out of your dog’s body through the large intestine. DE helps keep worm larvae from maturing.

Instructions & Dosage: 1/8 tsp per10 lbs. Mix with water and serve with food. Give for 12 days then break for 7 and repeat for another 12 days. If your dog experiences constipation while taking DE, add extra water or broth to their diet.   

  • Remedy Type: food-grade diatomaceous powder 
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: yes
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Dulse (Palmaria palmata, spp) – cooling/hook, round, tape, whipworm

Palmaria palmata is known as red dulse but you can use other varietes too. Dulse contains kainic acid, which helps kill worms and control parasites. Add dulse to your dog’s food. It’s cooling and good for dogs on the neutral to hot spectrum.

Instructions & Dosage:1/8 tsp per 10 lbs served in food once per day during worm infestation or rotated in and out of the diet. Dulse blends well with organic cucumber and ground pumpkin seeds.

  • Remedy Type: powder
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: yes
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Elecampagne (Inula helenium) – warming/hook, whip, roundworm

Elecampagne root is a warming herb containing alantolactone, which helps your dog’s body expel worms. It’s good for inflammation in the digestive tract due to an high worm load. Elecampagne root is high in inulin which helps clear worms out of the GI tract. 

Instructions & Dosage: make a root decoction using 1/4 tablespoon of dried root in 1/2 cup of water in a small pan (don’t use non-stick). Simmer the roots covered for 25 minutes. Strain and let cool. Give 1/2 ml over food for every 10 lbs. Tincture Dosage: 1 drop for every 10 pounds given before food. Add water to dilute and give twice daily.

  • Remedy Type: decoction or tincture
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: no
  • Safe for Puppies: no
  • Prevention: no

Garlic (Allium sativum) – warming/round, tapeworm

Garlic supports good immune health and warms the body’s core. It’s an excellent worm preventative when used correctly. The enzyme allliinase and the amino acid alliin combine together creating allicin. Always feed raw organic garlic. Avoid when taking pharmaceuticals.  Akitas and Sheba Inus are genetically sensitive to garlic so avoid in these breeds or breed-mixes.  

Instructions & Dosage: Cut organic garlic and let sit for 10 minutes, then serve. This maximizes allicin content. Give 1/3 tsp for every 10 lbs. 

  • Remedy Type: food
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: no
  • Safe for Puppies: no
  • Prevention: yes

Neem Leaf (Azadirachta indica) – round, hook, whipworm

Neem leaf is high in antioxidants.  It lowers high fungal counts caused by worms, purifies the blood and disrupts worm reproduction. Neem is excellent wormer when used for two weeks to a month alternating each week.

Instructions and Dosage: Give for 7 days, break for 7 days, repeat. Dosage: Extra-small dog: 150 mg, Small dog: 300 mg, Medium dog: 500 mg 2x daily, Large dog: 800 mg, and Extra-large dog: 1000 mg. Give twice daily with food. 

  • Remedy Type: dried leaf or paste
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: no
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Olive Leaf (Olea europaea)  – whip, round, hook, tapeworm

Olive leaf is another potent antioxidant. It’s high in oleuropein (use at least 12%), which helps rid worms from your dog’s digestive tract, increasing elimination and supporting healthy detoxification. Olive leaf helps build and protect the immune system by interrupting pathogenic activity. Combine with neem and other herbals.    

Instructions & Dosage:  Extra-small dog: 150 mg, Small dog: 300 mg, Medium dog: 500 mg 2x daily,  Large dog: 800 mg, and Extra-large dog: 1000 mg.  Give twice daily with food. Caution: Always give with food as it can cause nausea on an empty stomach.

  • Remedy Type: powdered leaf
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: yes
  • Safe for Puppies:  yes
  • Prevention: yes

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) – round, tapeworm 

Parsley helps stimulate elimination through the lymphatics and kidney systems and makes the digestive tract inhospitable to worms. 

Instructions & Dosage: Take 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley and combine with 8 ounces of almost boiling water. Let steep until green. Dosage: add 1tsp for every 10 lbs in food. Caution: Avoid in dogs with kidney disease 

  • Remedy Type: infusion/tea
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation:  yes
  • Safe for Puppies:  yes
  • Prevention: no

Turmeric (Curcumin longa) – warming/round, hook, tape, whipworm

Turmeric helps bring down inflammation in the gut and repairs worm-based damage. When combined with milk thistle, turmeric can help protect your dog’s liver during an infestation. This combination can also help protect against prescription dewormers. Turmeric is best in a formula or used alongside other herbs. 

Instructions & Dosage: Extra-small dog: 150 mg, Small dog: 350 mg, Medium dog: 600 mg 2x daily, Large dog: 800 mg, and Extra-large dog: 1000 mg. Give twice daily with food. Caution: avoid mixing with prescription medication

  • Remedy Type: powdered whole turmeric 
  • Practitioner Guidance: no
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: yes
  • Safe for Puppies: yes
  • Prevention: yes

Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium, annua) – neutral/round, whip, tape, hookworm 

Wormwood is used as tincture or powder. Like Black Walnut, it’s extremely bitter and helps increase anti-parasitic stomach acids. Wormwood contains thujone and tannins making it powerful and potentially toxic when misused. Use under the care of an experienced herbalist or holistic veterinarian. Artemisia is specifically indicated in cases of canine Trichinosis which is a parasitic infection from roundworms. 

Instructions and Dosage: Give as part of a strict, intentional protocolDon’t use for more than 14 consecutive days. Caution: Avoid in dogs with liver or kidney disease, diabetes, and seizures. Can cause liver damage when used inappropriately.

  • Remedy Type: tincture or powdered leaf
  • Practitioner Guidance: yes
  • Safe for Pregnancy and Lactation: no
  • Safe for Puppies: no
  • Prevention: no

Rita Hogan, Canine Herbalist

Rita Hogan is a healer and herbalist with over 18 years of experience specializing in Holistic Canine Herbalism. She is an educator, speaker, writer, formulator and herbal medicine maker. Rita uses a combination of diet, flower essences, herbs and phytoembryonic therapies in her full-time practice based in Olympia, Washington. Connect with Rita at canineherbalist.com

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