Why Are There Worms In Your Dog’s Water Bowl?

I had just told my chihuahua, Ella, that she’s a good girl and was about to head back into the house when I saw some worms in her water bowl. It wasn’t like there were a lot of them, maybe two or three at most… but still!

This is something that I’d never seen before so I consulted other dog owners and vets online for an answer. The best article said that it could be any number of things including gordian worms and roundworms.

Now this made me worry because they sounded really bad!

In the end, it was just mosquito larvae. Got to clean that outdoor water bowl more!

Common Causes

There are a few reasons why there might be worms in your dog’s bowl. One of the most common is that the dog carried the worm on it from outside. Worms are attracted to stagnant water. They may find their way to your dog’s bowl naturally if it’s located outside.

Otherwise, they can sometimes attach themselves to your dog’s hair. When your dog attempts to remove them, they’re spread on their muzzle instead. Once your dog takes a drink in its bowl, the worm is deposited in the bowl.

Another reason why you might see worms in your dog’s bowl is if they’re roundworms. This comes from a parasitic infestation. Your dog may have roundworm in its tummies. The worms may be deposited in the water bowl if your dog recently vomited and has a few worms clinging to their teeth or muzzle.

Types Of Common Worms In Dog Water Bowls

A few common worms that you may discover in your dog’s water bowl include:

  • Gordian worms
  • Roundworms
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Coccidia
  • Giardia

Gordian worms are white and primarily infect insects. They deposit themselves on leaves and wait for insects to eat them. Once they do, they hatch inside of the insect and control it to jump into the nearest body of water. Once inside the water, the worm leaves the body to become an adult.

Luckily, dogs cannot be controlled by Gordian worms. They’re not that interested in infesting dogs either. Most of the time, your dog will simply vomit or poop them out. They’re similar to rubber bands and quite long. They can reach anywhere from 22cm to 30cm.

Roundworms are parasites that you should worry about. They’re often lurking on mice or in the poop of other infected animals. Your dog can eat or step on the infected material and become infested, themselves. Roundworms can be serious if they’re not treated.

They’re light brown in color. They also can be picked up in their egg form. If they’re in an egg, then they can hatch inside of your dog and quickly multiply. These worms can grow to be anywhere from 4 to 6 inches long. Adults can turn white.

Another worm-like creature that may be lurking in your dog’s bowl is mosquito larvae. Mosquitos deposit their eggs in water. If you had some in your home, then they may have chosen the dog’s bowl to lay their eggs. Luckily, if your dog ends up eating them, their stomach acid will destroy the eggs.

If the eggs have already hatched, then there’s a chance that the baby mosquitoes may feed on your dog’s blood. It’s possible for them to spread heartworm disease, too.

Mosquito larvae are extremely small. They only grow to be 1/8th of an inch.

Potential Problems

There are a few problems that your dog may experience based on the kind of worm that they’ve consumed. For Gordian worms, they’re usually just vomited or pooped out. There aren’t any real problems. The actual problems come from roundworms. You may notice some of the following problems:

  • Abdominal swelling
  • Coughing
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Worms in vomit or poop
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Roundworm is dangerous because it can interfere with the dog’s ability to digest its food. They may no longer be receiving the nutrition they need. It can also clog their digestive system which can cause serious internal harm.

Mosquito larvae that are consumed and manage to hatch into babies may cause a few problems, too. Some of them include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Dry cough
  • Fainting
  • Loss of stamina
  • Anemia
  • Swelling limbs
  • Jaundice

What To Do

If you spot worms in your dog’s bowl, then the first thing you should do is empty the water into the trash bin. Then rinse the bowl and sterilize it. If you’re especially worried about it being contaminated, you can always toss it out and buy a new one.

Then keep an eye on your dog. If it seems like they have an upset stomach or are having problems digesting their food, then it may be worth it to take them to the vet. You can also find over-the-counter worm treatments. Follow the directions and give them to your dog per their instructions. This doesn’t replace the need to visit the vet, but it can help protect your dog until you’re able to see them.

Do I Need To See The Vet Or Go To The Emergency Animal Hospital?

In most cases, you can see your vet. They have the treatments necessary to remove the worms from your dog’s digestive tract. They can take care of mosquito larvae, too.

An animal hospital may be more appropriate if your dog is older or their immune system is compromised. They may need special care. You may also need to take your dog to the animal hospital if you’ve neglected to watch them for worms. The infestation may severe.

Can Dogs Get Worms From Drinking The Same Water?

Yes, dogs can get worms by drinking from the same water. If the water source is the contamination point, then both dogs are at risk. If the infected dog received the worms elsewhere, then there’s a smaller chance that the other dog may become infected.

It’s a good idea to keep the two dogs separated until the infected one is cleared of worms.

How Do You Get Rid Of Worms In A Dog Without Going To The Vet?

There are several treatments that you can give your dog instead of going to see the vet. Seeing the vet, however, is the fastest way for your dog to receive relief.

That being said, there are treatments at most local stores that you can buy. You’ll want to get the treatment that’s appropriate for your dog’s size and age.

A few other natural ways include feeding them pumpkin seeds, carrots, dried coconut, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, and chamomile. All of them help flush the body out and make the body inhospitable for the worms.