Do Worms Cause Bad Breath In Dogs

Worms are horrible parasitic creatures that cause most of us to cringe at their very mention. Not only do they look disgusting, but the idea that they can live in our pets stomachs is a highly off putting prospect, and particularly when you bear in mind that they can be harmful to humans in some cases too.

There are many different types of worms too that can infest our pets and cause them a range of problems, and each of these can cause slightly different symptoms and respond to better to slightly different treatments. Here we will look at four of the most common types found in cats and dogs.


Tapeworms are the best known form of worms that can affect our pets and this is because they are so common. Tapeworms actually use fleas initially as an intermediate host and are this way carried over to the cats or dogs when they groom themselves. Tapeworm can be identified because they are made from a 'chain' of smaller segments, each of which is filled with hundreds of eggs and which can break away from the main body of the worm. Disgustingly they can grow up to a foot in length.

The main sign of tapeworm are the rice-like egg segments appearing in the stool, while worse infestations can cause vomiting and bleeding as well. It's a good idea to treat your pet for tapeworm whenever you treat them for fleas.


Roundworm will affect almost all pups and kittens when they're in their infancy because they are passed through their mother's milk. Initially they come from contaminated soil and infected carcasses and they are likely to cause you're pet to develop a pot belly and a duller coat. Other symptoms include diarrhoea, coughing and mucus in the stool. If you look closely you may be able to see the worms in the stool or vomit, though not always.


Hookworms are one of the more serious types of infestation and may cause serious anaemia (low iron). The symptoms are again diarrhoea, weight loss, vomiting and restlessness and in young kittens this can even be fatal. These worms are not visible in the stool, so if your pet is demonstrating any of these symptoms you should take them to a vet who can identify the problem using microscopic examination. Hookworm come from the faeces of other animals, so it's important to keep your cats and dogs away from manure when you're walking them and to clear any up that you find in the garden.


Heartworms are a parasite of the blood that get transmitted via mosquitoes. The tiny insects transfer baby worms when they bite, and these then travel through the body until they reach the heart and shed microfilaria. Infections are often hard to spot, but in severe cases this can lead to reduced blood circulation and ultimately impact heart function. One sign may be intermittent vomiting, and it's important to keep an eye out for any abnormal behaviour from your pets as heartworm can in severe cases prove fatal if untreated.

Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the effects of heart worm on a dog? What do I look for ?
    He has bad breath, eats grass (upset stomach), and I think he looks alittle too skinny. I feed him science diet for sensative system. Can any body help!!!!

    • ANSWER:
      first stop feeding him that stuff and feed him Hi Pro by Purina. that other stuff is terrible for dogs. also heart worm will eventually kill an animal if they go untreated. they will cause the dog to have a heart attach. I lost my golden retriever to this very thing. a loss in energy is usually the only sign of heart worms. if the dog is eating grass and vomiting then that mean it has worms in its stomach and intestines. You need to take the dog to the vet and get "per scribed" medication. this is the only way to get rid of these things. they are terrible.

    Why does my puppy have metallic smelling breath?
    I recently got a miniature Australian shepherd puppy who's about 12 weeks old. He came with a health certificate and I took him to my own vet to verify that he's healthy. His next visit is in a month when his next set of vaccinations are due. However, I have noticed he has a weirdly metallic smell on his breath. It actually smells kind of like blood ... His stools look normal with no signs of occult blood. He's flea free and was tested at the vets for worms. Has anyone experienced this before with puppies? Could it be his teeth coming in? Could it be some metabolic disorder?

    • ANSWER:
      Look I will be honest bad breath in dogs can mean serious health problems obviously if you feed the dog raw meat it can cause them to have a metalic smell to it and can also smell kind of garlicy but in most cases it can mean issues with digestive system or the kidneys my advice take the pup to the vets again and have some bloods taken for peace of mind

      hope it helps

    My 3 month old Chihuahua puppies breathe smells like tuna...what can I do to get rid of the smell?
    I just got her a week ago and her breathe smelt then, I have only been feeding her Pedigree *Small Breed dog food...Is there something I can buy that will get rid of the tuna breathe, or some other type of food to feed her.....PLEASE HELP, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    • ANSWER:
      Pedigree is a terrible food. It could be a part of the problem. Slowly change her over to Wellness, Merrick, Eagle Pack etc. Puppy formula of course. Long term this will help her overall condition.

      Has your pup been wormed? Worms can also cause bad breath.

      Bad breath is usually a sigh of dental problems, but with a pup so young it's unlikely.

      You should also start brishing your dogs teeth on a regular basis with dog toothpaste. Small breeds are very prone to dental problems so you maybe saving your dog a lot of future pain by doing this. Make sure she has lots of good quality chew toys that will help keep her teeth clean too, but they won't do it on their own. Feeding dry food will help clean her teeth too.

    Why does my dog scoot his butt across the floor?
    It's like he is sitting, and he drags himself by his front paws. It's funny as hell, but is he sick or something?

    • ANSWER:
      This is only rarely caused by worms. Most dogs who have worms do NOT scoot. (ETA: Dogs absolutely can NOT get pinworms. Not possible. That's a human parasite which does not have the ability to infect dogs or cats. If any worms are going to cause anal itching it will likely be tapeworms, which are caused from swallowing fleas that contain part of the tapeworm lifecycle.)

      99% of the time, scooting is caused by the anal SACS (they are NOT glands, even though that's what most people call them!!!! <---one of my pet peeves, LOL) being too full. It does not necessarily mean they are impacted or abscessed, and there is nothing 'poisonous' in them.

      What are anal sacs? They are very much like the scent glands that skunks have. Nature designed them to fill up with a disgusting-smelling fluid, and to be emptied each time a dog has a bowel movement, thereby 'marking' its territory. Dogs can also forcibly evacuate them when startled by a predator, in order to scare them away. (Again, similar to skunks.) Although the anal-sac 'smell' is one which is quite familiar to anyone who has worked with dogs, each dog has its own individual scent, whether we can pick up on it or not.

      The problem is....

      That is how nature *intended* it to work for dogs who roamed the wild. Nature did not intend for poodles, Yorkies, Schnauzers, chihuahuas, etc, etc. to roam the wild, however. We humans created all the different breeds, and in selecting the traits for all of them, no one cared/paid any attention to where the anal sacs were located. As a result, in many dogs (especially the smaller breeds), they are not always located in 'exactly' the right place or have the muscles around them developed enough for the dog to do what nature intended. They can't empty them out by having a bowel movement, but the sacs continue to fill up with the disgusting (bacteria-filled) fluid. It's not painful (unless a blockage in the duct occurs, leading to an abscess), but it is uncomfortable to have full anal sacs.


      The dog has only 2 other options to try to empty them out. One is by 'scooting' their butt across the floor. The other is by licking. (Which is, btw, the most common cause for coughing/gagging/hacking up phlegm that looks like egg whites in dogs who are not sick. That's because the nasty fluid trickles down the throat, causing chronic tracheitis and tonsilitis. <---a fact not taught by most veterinary colleges. I learned it from an older DVM shortly after I graduated almost 20 years ago, and have 'magically' cured many dogs whose owners had been told by other doctors that they just had 'sore throats'....simply by teaching them proper anal sac care.) This is also a common contributor to bad breath, btw.

      Since neither of those 2 solutions is very effective, it is necessary for us humans to help these dogs out by emptying those sacs for them periodically. Some dogs need to have it done every couple of weeks, some every month, some every 6-8 weeks. Each dog is different. Larger breeds seem to have fewer problems, but it can happen in them, too. Cats usually take care of theirs quite well by the licking, but sometimes we have to help them out as well.

      ETA: Anal itching can also be a sign that your dog has developed an allergy to one of the ingredients in its food.

    can worms make a puppys breath smell bad?
    i have a puppy and he has worms. we are bringing him to the vet and i wanted to know if bad breath is a symptom, or if it is just rankey puppy breath. does it go away?

    • ANSWER:
      worms do not cause bad breath they are just born with bad breath because they are like wolves ok this is gross but true the dogs mouth smelled so gross that it would make the mom throw up so the puppy could get food

do worms cause bad breath in dogs

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