Discovering that your adorable new puppy has worms can be quite a shock.
Suddenly, your thoughts are filled with images of microscopic invaders, casting a dark shadow over the joys of puppy ownership.
Does this mean you need to keep your distance, foregoing the sweet puppy snuggles and the sheer delight of playtime?
Are you at risk of getting infected yourself?
This sudden whirlwind of concern is completely natural.
After all, the health and wellbeing of both your new puppy and your own are at stake.
But don’t let panic take hold of you just yet.
Today, I am going to demystify the situation and provide you with the information you need to navigate this challenge.
We will delve into whether you can touch your puppy if they have worms, explore the potential risk of transmission, and highlight how you can protect yourself while ensuring your puppy gets the love and care they need.
Can I Touch My Puppy If He Has Worms?
You can touch your puppy even if they have worms. The majority of worms found in dogs cannot be transmitted to humans just by touch alone.
Worms that infest dogs, such as roundworms, hookworms, or tapeworms, primarily lay their eggs within the dog’s intestinal tract.
These eggs then leave the dog’s body via their feces.
Therefore, direct touch or petting your puppy, which usually involves contact with their fur and skin, does not expose you to the worm eggs hidden away in their digestive system.
While it might be unsettling to know that your puppy has worms, this should not prevent you from providing the affection they need and deserve.
Cuddling, stroking, and regular playtime can continue as it is unlikely that this form of contact will result in transmission of worms.
However, it’s essential to remember that good hygiene, especially when handling your puppy’s waste or anything that may have come into contact with it, is crucial to keep any risk to a minimum.
How Can You Contract Worms From An Infected Puppy
While it’s not common, humans can contract worms from an infected puppy, but typically this involves more than just touch or petting.
Here are the primary ways this can happen:
Accidental Ingestion Of Worm Eggs
Worms primarily spread their eggs through an infected puppy’s feces.
If a human inadvertently ingests these eggs – often from not washing hands properly after handling the puppy’s feces or contaminated objects – they can become infected.
This is why it’s so important to always wash hands thoroughly after cleaning up after your puppy.
Some types of worms, like hookworms, can penetrate human skin.
This usually occurs when a person walks barefoot on contaminated soil where an infected puppy has defecated.
The larvae in the soil can then burrow into the skin, causing an infection.
Fleas are a common carrier of tapeworm eggs.
If a human accidentally swallows a flea that carries these eggs – a more likely scenario for young children who might put their mouth on a flea-infested puppy or its toys – they could contract tapeworms.
Contact With Contaminated Soil
If a puppy defecates in a sandbox or garden, the area can become contaminated with worm eggs or larvae.
Kids playing in these areas may get the dirt on their hands and accidentally ingest it, leading to a worm infection.
How To Keep Yourself Safe While Your Puppy Has Worms
While the risk is low, it’s still vital to take steps to keep yourself safe while your puppy has worms.
Here are some preventive measures you can take:
- Maintain good hygiene: Always wash your hands after handling your infected puppy, particularly after dealing with their feces.
- Regularly clean: This includes your puppy’s bedding, play area, any surfaces they frequently come into contact with, and of utmost importance – where they defecate. Regular cleaning can reduce the likelihood of worm eggs being present in your home environment.
- Wear gloves when dealing with feces: If you have to pick up after your puppy, use a glove. Dispose of the waste in a secure bag or container to prevent eggs from spreading.
- Avoid walking barefoot in your yard: If your puppy has used the yard for elimination, make sure to wear shoes outside to avoid potential hookworm larvae, which can penetrate the skin.
- Avoid letting your puppy lick your face: This is a common way that eggs can potentially be transferred from your puppy to you.
- Keep your puppy’s living areas dry: Worms, especially hookworms, thrive in damp environments. By keeping your puppy’s areas dry, you can help to prevent the growth and spread of worms.
- Educate family members: Make sure everyone in your household understands the importance of these safety measures, especially children, who may be at a higher risk.
Other Things To Do If Your Puppy Has Worms
Apart from safeguarding yourself and your family, there are other things you can do to support your puppy during this time.
- Prompt treatment: Seek veterinary care as soon as you suspect that your puppy may have worms. Your vet can confirm the diagnosis and prescribe appropriate deworming medication.
- Monitor your puppy’s health: Keep an eye on your puppy’s behavior and physical condition. Symptoms such as bloated stomach, weight loss, dull coat, and lethargy are signs that worms are not successfully being killed in your pup.
- Regular check-ups and preventive care: Even after your puppy is treated, regular vet check-ups are important to prevent future infestations. Discuss preventive care options, like monthly worm treatments, with your vet.
Navigating the world of puppy parenthood can be challenging, especially when it comes to health issues like worms.
But the diagnosis of worms in your puppy doesn’t mean the end of those priceless bonding moments.
Yes, you can still touch, pet, and cuddle your puppy, even if they have worms.
Remember, while there are ways humans can contract worms from an infected puppy, these scenarios typically involve more than just touch and can be mitigated with good hygiene and appropriate precautions.
Having a puppy with worms might initially feel like a crisis, but it is a manageable situation.
And before you know it, your puppy will be back to their healthy, playful self, thanks to your diligent care.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.