German Shepherds are wonderful dogs – loyal, intelligent, and adorable. Unfortunately, dogs are just as prone to health problems as humans, and this breed is often more prone to some conditions than other types of dogs.
One issue you may have to prepare for when you have a German Shepherd dog is the growth of worms. There are many different forms of intestinal parasites that you can contract with, and it is important that you familiarize yourself with them so that you can prepare for and prevent them.
How can my dog become infected with worms?
If your dog already has worms, you may be curious to find out how he could be infected with worms. If they don’t have worms, you will probably be interested in making sure that you can prevent them from getting worms as best as possible.
These are some of the most common reasons German Shepherds become infected with worms.
- Mother moved
Dogs can be born with worms. Most of the time, in this case, the dog is born with roundworms that are transmitted through his mother. Dogs can also become infected with worms by drinking infected breast milk.
- Eat infected meat
German Shepherds love to hunt and it is not uncommon to see them hunt and eat rodents, fleas, or other small animals. Unfortunately, these animals are quite susceptible to transmitting parasites, and your dog may become infected with them if they eat the wrong animal.
- Being abroad
Obviously, you shouldn’t stop your dog from going outside or he will become very unhappy. But it is important to remember that there is always a risk of contracting worms when a dog exits. They may ingest it, scratch themselves, and pick it up, or find other ways to get worms into their bodies.
- Bug bites
Mosquitoes are known to carry heartworm eggs and can pass them to the puppy if they bite him.
Common German Shepherd worms
There are a lot of types of worms that a German Shepherd can become infected with. These are among the most common:
Roundworms are common in dogs. There are two subspecies of roundworms of common concern to dogs:
- Toxicara canis is the most dangerous type of worm that can do more damage to your dog. This species can also be transmitted to humans, and it can grow to be very large (measuring a few inches long).
- Toxascaris leonina is less destructive but still causes a number of unpleasant symptoms. Like many other worms, roundworms eat the nutrients that a dog needs to grow strong.
Both types of worms are cloudy white in color and are generally found in the shape of a cylinder.
Hookworms are another common parasite that can be found in dogs. They are much smaller than roundworms and almost thread-like. Hookworms are named after their favorite feeding procedure: By attaching themselves to the actual wall of the German Shepherd’s intestine, they can easily absorb blood.
They can be devastating and have sharp teeth that can lead to intestinal bleeding. Excessive bleeding can lead to anemia and other problems.
Whipworms may have a great name, but they are certainly no less dangerous to your dog. Whipworms have very long necks attached to their bodies and are much shorter and more powerful. They bury their necks in the walls of a dog’s intestine, which can lead to bleeding and pain.
Tapeworms are segmented worms that resemble long, interconnected grains of rice. This worm is perhaps the most famous and less dangerous than the other parasites, although it still consumes nutrients and saps a dog’s energy and comfort.
Heartworms are not uncommon in German Shepherds, but they do take a place in your dog’s heart. Insufficient heartworms can prevent the heart from working properly, resulting in death.
Symptoms of infection of dogs with parasites
If you think your German Shepherd dog has a parasite, he will likely exhibit a number of symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms that can appear from an infection with intestinal worms and parasites include:
Coughing. Heartworm can cause a dog to cough. In some serious cases, roundworms and hookworms can cause a cough.
Diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms of worms.
Vomiting and vomiting are also common among dogs with worms.
Lethargy and lack of energy. Worms eat the nutrients your dog needs for energy, so dogs with worms are often lethargic.
big belly. If your dog has a lot of worms, his stomach may appear bloated or larger than normal.
Corrupt quickly. If your dog is walking around on the ground and scratching its back, this could be an indication of the presence of worms.
Sudden weight loss. One of the most common signs of a parasite infection is weight loss.
Lack of appetite or increased appetite. Some dogs lose their appetite to eat due to the pain caused by the worms. Others eat more to try to replace the nutrients missing in the worm.
Preventing and treating worms
The first thing to know is that there is no sure way to 100% prevent a dog getting worms. Humans are at risk of contracting worms, and dogs are at risk, too. Aside from confining your dog to an unhappy life, you will always be at risk of contracting worms.
Some dogs are more likely to have it than others. We had two German Shepherds at the same time, and our lives were very similar, one of them did not catch any worms, the other did every two years.
- Avoid letting your dog eat raw meat that you are not sure of. When in doubt, just cook the meat.
- You can use a natural and safe dog repellent based on essential oils to prevent mosquito bites. We have never had serious mosquito problems so we never use any insect repellants, but we probably wouldn’t use DEET if the parasite risks are small as it could be harmful to your dog.
- Make sure your dog gets regular protection from worms and heartworms from your veterinarian.
If your German Shepherd gets infected with a worm, you want to go to the vet and make sure you get the right pharmaceutical treatment for them. When you have a puppy and see him slimming down, don’t wait to go to the vet to get deworming medication. You don’t want to stunt your dog’s growth