Whipworms are common intestinal parasites in dogs, alongside roundworms, tapeworms, and hookworms. The main whipworm, Trichuris vulpis, lives attached to the dog’s large intestines and feeds on blood.

In this article, I, Ivana Crnec, DVM, will explain the dangers of whipworms in dogs. I will also give tips on how to recognize the whipworm infection signs and what you can do to eliminate the worms and protect your dog.

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  1. What is Whipworm in Dogs
  2. Can You See Whipworms in Dog Poop
  3. How Do Dogs Get Whipworms
  4. How To Treat Whipworms in Dogs
  5. FAQs
  6. Conclusion

What is Whipworm in Dogs

Whipworms are a type of intestinal parasite found in dogs. Dog whipworms got their name from their unique whip-shaped bodies - they are like strings with a thin front end and a thick back end.

Adult whipworms are around 1/4 inch (6 mm) long. The main whipworm, Trichuris vulpis, lives in the dog’s large intestine, more specifically, primarily in the dog’s cecum and, in cases of heavy infections, in the colon.

“A severe whipworm infestation can present as a critical and life-threatening illness,” warns Andy R. Moorhead, DVM, in an article for Today’s Veterinary Practice.

The telltale signs of dog whipworm infections include:

  • Watery Diarrhea: Unexplained and very loose, almost watery diarrhea is typically seen in dogs with whipworms and warrants vet attention.
  • Blood in the Stool: The presence of blood in the stool, especially in vaccinated dogs, suggests intestinal worms, particularly whipworms or hookworms.
  • Vomiting: Dogs with whipworms vomit periodically for no apparent reason. Vomiting is not specific for intestinal worms, but it is a red flag.
  • Weight Loss: Prolonged whipworm infection affects the dog’s ability to absorb nutrients, causing severe weight loss and emaciation.
  • Dyschezia: Dyschezia is the medical term for painful defecation and is commonly seen in dogs with heavy whipworm infections.
  • Anemia: Anemia (reduced red blood cell counts) develops in advanced infection stages and manifests with pale gums and exercise intolerance.

Can You See Whipworms in Dog Poop

Yes, you can see whipworms in dog poop. Dogs with heavy infestations release mature worms in the poop. Whipworms in dog poop look like small whips or pieces of thread with one end larger than the other.

However, whipworms in dog poop are rarely seen. Whipworm eggs in dog poop are an even rarer sight. Whipworm eggs are not visible to the naked eye.

Diagnostic procedures based on finding whipworm eggs fail, too, because whipworms release eggs sporadically. A stool sample from an infected dog is often egg-free, giving a false negative result.

Keep a close eye on your dog, including its pooping habits. If you are spending too much time away from the house, monitor the dog with the help of the Petcube Pet Camera.

How Are Whipworms in Dogs Diagnosed

Whipworms in dogs are diagnosed based on clinical manifestation and commercially available tests that detect the Trichuris vulpis antigen in the stool. The cornerstone of worm diagnosis, fecal flotation, is unreliable when it comes to whipworms.

How Do Dogs Get Whipworms

Dogs get whipworms by ingesting eggs from a contaminated environment. The eggs are dispersed by infected dogs.

The whipworm eggs are incredibly resilient and remain infectious in the environment for a long time and under extreme conditions.

The ingested eggs hatch and mature into adult whipworms in the dog’s lower gastrointestinal tract, where they complete their life cycle.

Mature whipworm eggs are found in crowded and densely populated dog areas such as parks, boarding kennels, and grooming facilities.

Make sure your dog is wearing a GPS tracker when outside, not for whipworm protection but for general safety purposes.

Can Humans Get Whipworms from Dogs

The theoretical answer is yes. However, in practice, humans rarely get whipworms from dogs. Humans have their own whipworm species called Trichuris trichura. Similarly, the human version of whipworm is also spread through feces.

How To Treat Whipworms in Dogs

To treat whipworms in dogs, you need an anthelmintic and a good long-term strategy. This is because whipworms are immature for three months (prepatent period) and are not sensitive to anthelmintics during this time.

The four main protocols for treating whipworms in dogs include:

  • Fenbendazole given every 24 hours for three consecutive days at the time of diagnosis, then 3 weeks after making the diagnosis, and finally 3 months after the diagnosis
  • Fenbendazole given every 24 hours for three consecutive days every month, starting at the time of diagnosis and continuing until 3 months after the diagnosis
  • Heartworm preventative products (whose label says they cover T. vulpis) once a month for a total of three months
  • Praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate, and febantel as a combination once a month from the time of diagnosis until 3 months after the diagnosis

The treatment of whipworms in dogs is lengthy and can be expensive. We recommend investing in pet insurance, such as the Petcube Emergency Fund.

The fund covers up to $3,000 for emergency vet bills and offers unlimited access to online vets. As a reward for reading our article, we are giving 27% off the emergency fund by using this link.


Can Whipworms Kill a Dog?

Yes, whipworms can kill a dog. Whipworms are avid bloodsuckers, and severe cases with high numbers of whipworms can be fatal in dogs. Whipworms are life-threatening because they cause emaciation and anemia.

How To Treat Whipworms in Dogs?

Talk to your trusted veterinarian about the best treatment protocol for your dog. Anthelmintics kill whipworms, but the treatment is lengthy and requires adhering to the vet’s instructions.

Can You See Whipworms in Dog Poop?

Yes, you can see whipworms in dog poop. Mature whipworms are present in dog poop in severe cases of infestation. The worms look like whips or strings, with one end noticeably thicker than the other.

How Do Digs Get Whipworm?

Dogs get whipworms when they swallow mature eggs from the environment. The eggs are released into the environment by infected dogs. Whipworm eggs can survive in the environment for up to five years.


Whipworms are a common parasitic threat for dogs. The most prevalent whipworm is Trichuris vulpis, which lives in the dog’s cecum and colon.

Dogs infected with Trichuris vulpis show signs like watery diarrhea, blood in the stool, vomiting, weight loss, and crying when pooping. Heavy infections with whipworms cause emaciation and anemia, which can be deadly.

Whipworms in dogs are treated with anthelmintics. The treatment is long because the immature whipworm stadium does not respond to anti-parasitics.

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