Can Humans Get Worms From Dogs?

Many dog owners wonder, can humans get worms from dogs?  Humans can get worms, and dogs can also get worms. Are they the same worms?  Can they be transmitted?  What to do about it?  Although it is not common, it is certainly possible, as the same parasites that can affect dogs can, and do, infect humans, just as human to human transmission is also possible.  This is actually one of the most frequently asked questions of veterinary professionals.  And the answer is a resounding yes, we can get intestinal parasites from dogs, cats, or any animal.  In this article, we will be looking at the most common three types of worms in dogs, roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms.

Heartworm CycleWell, quite frankly, the entire process starts with your dog’s butt.  Specifically, your dog licking their butt.  In an infected dog (or more commonly, puppy), if they lick their butt and then lick you, the worms spread.  Then, the next time you touch your mouth, you allow them into your body (they are far too small to be seen).  You, or more likely your children, can also pick them up from dog poop in the backyard.  Once they enter your body, they take a straight path to the intestines…and start to grow.  Occasionally roundworms can bunch up in a ball and cause major blockage of the intestinal path.  This is a major problem, usually, if you are infected, you will notice the long pasta like parasites in your stool (ewwww!).  They are definitely nasty, absolutely gross, and certainly scary.  Do not be afraid or shy if you do get them, however, they are easily treated with modern day medicine, your doctor can prescribe an easy cure.  But if a colony collects and creates a blockage, you will usually need surgery and then the prescription to remove the parasites.

Hookworms enter their hosts through the skin.  Most often actually, a person will get infected by walking in dirty contaminated soil with bare feet.  The site of entry will become a rash with a terrible itch.  When a person is infected with hookworms, they can experience diarrhea, weight loss, and anemia.  Hookworms are far more dangerous than most other worms, and should not be taken lightly.  People die from untreated hookworm infestations.  No matter how embarrassed or shy you are, if you think you are infected with parasites you must see a doctor.

Tapeworms can be gotten from dogs or cats as well, although it is very rare.  Basically, the only way this is going to happen is if you swallow an infected flea, which is how they get it.  Dogs will get infected with tapeworms while they are grooming, from fleas.  Proper grooming of your pet will do most of the work to removing all risk from infection transmission, and of course, if you think your dog has worms, contact a vet.