Can I catch worms from my dog?

Can I catch worms from my dog?

Parasitic worms in dogs pose a significant health concern for both our four-legged friends and their human companions. Yes, it's possible but not common.

Humans can contract these parasites, usually through accidental ingestion of eggs or larvae from the environment. It's essential to maintain proper hygiene and regularly deworm your pet to keep both of you safe.

Understanding the risks

Zoonotic worms and their implications

The term 'zoonotic' refers to diseases that have the potential to jump from animals to humans. Several worms that infest dogs and other infected animals fall under this category. Different worms may trigger a range of diseases, each with its own set of symptoms. Being aware of these symptoms can help in early detection and treatment, decreasing the chance of humans contracting these diseases.

Potential dangers

The possibility of contracting worms from dogs is real, and it varies depending on the type of worm. Symptoms in humans can range from minor discomfort to severe health issues, affecting various body parts such as the eyes, skin, or internal organs. If you experience any unusual symptoms, consult your doctor.

The common worms of concern


Roundworms, also known as ascarids, are a common type of parasitic worm found in dogs. They can be contracted in various ways, making them challenging to control. Roundworm larvae and eggs, found in soil where dogs have defecated, can pose a threat to humans if accidentally ingested. The larvae may migrate to internal organs, affecting muscles, eyes, and the brain.


Hookworm infestations in dogs involve the eggs being passed in their faeces, hatching into larvae, which can infest humans through skin contact. The larvae may cause skin lesions and other serious diseases. Regular deworming of your dog is crucial in preventing a hookworm infestation.


Hydatid tapeworms are another risk that affects farm dogs fed raw offal or dogs that scavenge carcasses of wild animals. Humans become infested if they ingest eggs passed in the faeces of an infested dog. Hydatid disease can lead to the formation of cysts in organs, causing symptoms such as diarrhoea, weight loss, a swollen abdomen, and fatigue.


Although whipworms are a high cause of disease in dogs, the risk of transmission to humans is low. A different species of whipworm affects humans, and it is not transmitted by dogs.


Heartworm infections in people are rare. These intestinal worms are primarily parasites of dogs, and on very rare occasions, humans can get heartworm after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The resultant inflammation caused by the worms can cause lung damage.

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How to eliminate worms in dogs

Regular deworming is crucial for maintaining your dog's health and protecting your family from zoonotic worms. There are products available in the market that offer broad-spectrum worming protection, however always consult a veterinary professional if you are unsure.

Prevention measures

Awareness and prevention are key in managing the risk of contracting worms from your dog. Here are some practical steps you can take:

  • Regular deworming of your pets, especially puppies and kittens.
  • Maintain good hygiene practices, including washing hands before meals and after pet interactions.
  • Weekly clean-up of your pet’s living area.
  • Avoid places with high levels of animal faeces.
  • Regular veterinary check-ups and stool tests.

Pet Insurance

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Pet owners may want to consider getting a pet insurance quote to cover potential health issues. This can help to offset some of the costs related to veterinary care and treatments.

Disclaimer: routine treatment for flea, tick and worming are not covered within Purely Pets insurance policies.

To get a dog insurance quote for your beloved pet you can get a quote through our website by clicking here. If you would like to talk to one of our dog insurance team, you can get in touch with us on 0330 102 5748.


Regular deworming, good hygiene practices, and routine vet check-ups go a long way in keeping everyone healthy and worm-free.

Remember, protecting your pets protects your family too. So, take the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of all members of your household, two-legged and four-legged alike.

Frequently asked questions

Can I get worms from my dog sleeping in my bed?

Direct contact with the dog usually does not result in humans getting infected. However, good hygiene practices and regular deworming of your dog is encouraged.

Can I get worms from my dog licking me?

Worms that affect dogs are typically not transmitted to people by licking, but other types of infectious diseases can be.

Should I get treated if my dog has worms?

If you are concerned about your health, it's always best to consult your doctor.

What do I do if my puppy catches worms?

Remain calm and understand that this is a common issue with puppies. Infected puppies should be brought to the vet as soon as possible. They will be able to diagnose the type of worms your puppy has contracted and prescribe medication.

Early detection and treatment can prevent further complications. While waiting for the vet appointment, keep your puppy hydrated, comfortable and ensure it has a clean environment to avoid further infestations.

Can my dog catch worms from eating raw meat?

Your furry friend can potentially acquire worms from consuming raw meat. Raw or undercooked meat often carries parasites such as tapeworms and roundworms, which can transfer to your dog and cause a host of health problems.

This is why vets often recommend cooking meat thoroughly before feeding it to your pet. So next time you're tempted to toss your dog a raw steak, remember the risk involved.

What are tapeworm eggs?

Tapeworm eggs are the microscopic beginnings of a particularly pesky parasite. Adult worms carry tapeworm eggs which are living in the intestines of various animals, including humans. Each egg contains a tiny, developing tapeworm that is ready to embark on its parasitic journey as soon as it finds a suitable host. These minuscule invaders can be ingested through contaminated food or water, kickstarting a cycle of infection.

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