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Can Cats Get Worms From Dogs?

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Who doesn’t love pets? Whether you’re a cat person or a dog person, nothing beats the feeling of loving and caring for a pet.

Some people love both cats and dogs. If you are like these people, there’s no harm in keeping both cats and dogs.

You, however, should consider the safety and health of both animals.

For example, can dogs transmit any disease to cats?

Can cats get worms from dogs?

The short answer is yes.

When your dog is not properly treated for worms, your cats can get some types of worms from your dog.

dog and cat together

Examples of worms common in both cats and dogs are roundworms, hookworms, tapeworms, etc. Dogs can also get worms from cats.

How do you prevent your cats from getting worms from dogs? And how should you care for your sick pet?

Cats Getting Worms from Dogs

Cats and dogs, though they are different animals, are very similar.

For one thing, both cats and dogs are warm-blooded animals and they are also mammals.

Cats and dogs are found in similar places and eat similar foods, so they are bound to have some common parasitic worms.

Some Worms that Cats Can Get from Dogs

Here are popular worms that cats can get from dogs (and vice versa):

1. Hookworms

Hookworms are parasitic worms found in the intestines of mammals.


Between dogs and cats, dogs tend to have more hookworm parasites, though cats can also be infected.

The hookworm species Ancylostoma caninum and Uncinaria stenocephala majorly infects dogs, but can accidentally infect cats.

As intestinal worms, hookworms deposit their eggs in the feces of your dog.

If other dogs or cats get close to the feces, they can carry the eggs of the hookworm thereby becoming infected.

2. Roundworms

parasitic roundworm

As the name suggests, roundworms are worms with round bodies. Their length can range from 3-6 inches (8-15 cm).

While most roundworm species are host-specific (i.e. they prefer one kind of host to another), the Toxascaris leonina species can infect both dogs and cats.

Some roundworm species can pass through the mammary glands of mother cats to kittens.

Most roundworms deposit their eggs on the feces of infected animals. A healthy cat can get roundworms from the feces of an infected dog.

3. Heartworms

Dirofilaria immitis or heartworms are parasitic worms that can cause serious damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs of pets such as dogs and cats.

Dogs tend to be more vulnerable to heartworms, but cats can also get infected. Heartworms can be spread from the bite of mosquitoes.

4. Tapeworms

Tapeworms are long slim worms that resemble a measuring tape. There are several tapeworm species, but the most common in dogs (that can infect cats) is the Dipylidium caninum.

This tapeworm species is found in the small intestine and can be transmitted by contact of the eggs in the feces of infected dogs.

5. Whipworms

Trichuris trichiura species is called whipworm because it has a whip-like body.

This parasite can infect dogs, cats, and other mammals. The worm is found in the intestine and feeds on the blood of its host.

Egg of (Trichuris trichiura) whipworm

Like many other worms, this parasite spreads its eggs through the feces of its host.

Other Infections that Cats Can Get from Dogs

What other infections can cats and dogs transmit between each other?

1. Giardiasis

This disease is caused by the protozoan Giardia lamblia.

It can cause diarrhea, stomach upset, pain, dehydration, etc. in pets. Your cats can get giardiasis from contaminated surfaces and also from infected cats and dogs.

2. Campylobacteriosis

This disease is caused by the bacterium Campylobacter jejuni (and other bacteria in the genus).

It can cause fever, cramps, diarrhea, etc. in infected pets.

It is mostly a foodborne disease (i.e. pets can get it from contaminated food), but can also be transmitted from one pet to another.

3. Ticks and Mites

The mite bites a reddish dog

Ticks and mites are not diseases nor worms.

They are parasitic arthropods that anchor on the skin of your pets and suck their blood.

Most tick and mite species are obligate parasites, this means that they spend most of their lifecycle on the skin of your pets and cannot survive outside your pets.

Even though most tick and mite species are host-specific (i.e. they prefer a specific kind of host), regular contact between your dogs and cats can cause ticks and mites to accidentally infect the wrong kind of host.

Ticks and mites can cause loss of blood, weight loss, and other serious damages to your pets. You have to treat your pets with ticks and mites immediately.

How to Prevent Cats From Getting Worms from Dogs

Here are tips to prevent your cat from getting worms and other diseases from your dogs:

1. Worm Your Pets Regularly

You should worm your pets regularly to prevent them from getting serious worm infections and also spreading them to other pets.

Veterinarian doctor giving a pill for deworming

For dogs, you should worm puppies every two weeks until they are 12 weeks old. After 12 weeks, worm them until they are 6 months old. After then, you should worm them every 2 months.

For cats, you should worm kittens every 2 weeks until they get to 8 weeks of age.

After 8 weeks, worm your cats every month until they are 6 months old. After 6 months of age, you can worm your cats every 3 months.

2. Take Special Care of Sick Pets

If your pet is sick, you should take special care of it.

Remember that you should contact your vet and follow the instructions of the vet when caring for the pet.

You should isolate the sick pet. If it seems cruel to the pet, try to restrict other pets from having contact with the poop and other wastes of your sick pet.

As a tip, you should worm other pets when your sick pet becomes healthy.

3. Dispose of Your Pet’s Poop Immediately

Remove pet poop from open surfaces.

Cat stool should also be removed from litter boxes immediately.

You should not allow the poop of any pet to stay for long because wind, Insects, rodents, etc. can transport the eggs of parasitic worms with ease.

4. Prevent Your Pets from Going out Unsupervised

Since insects can help transmit some diseases and winds can help move the egg of parasitic worms to various surfaces, you should not leave your pets unattended when they leave the house.

Always watch your pets and do not allow them to go near poop.

woman cleaning cat litter tray

5. Clean Your House Regularly

You should clean and disinfect your house regularly when you have pets.

You should be even more careful when cleaning your house if a pet is sick. Diseases rarely transmit in a clean environment.

Related Questions and Answers

Here are some questions that you may find interesting:

1. What Are Some Worm Infection Symptoms?

  • Poop stained with blood: Some intestinal worms can damage the intestines of your pets. This injury can cause your pets to excrete blood-stained feces.
  • Anemia: Anemia is the loss of blood. If the parasite load is high, your pets may begin losing blood.
  • Fatigue: When active pets become lazy and inactive, it is a sign that your pet might be infected with worms.
  • Aggression: Pets can feel uncomfortable because of the pain of parasitic worms and can become aggressive.
Dog having ultrasound scan in vet office

If you notice any negative change in the behavior of your animal, you should contact the vet immediately.

2. Can Worms Kill Your Pets?

Worms can kill your pets, but only when the parasitic load is high. “Parasitic load” means the number of worms in your pet.

Pets with very few worms can go unnoticed, but when they are infected with so many worms, they can show serious symptoms (including death).

If you take care of your pet and worm them as often as you should, they will not have a high parasitic load.

3. Can You Get Parasites from Your Pets?

You can get parasites from your pets.

Even though most parasites are host-specific, you can be an accidental host (i.e. you can accidentally get infected with the parasite).

An example of a parasite that you can get from cats is the Toxoplasma gondii. The Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan that causes toxoplasmosis in cats and humans.

Dipylidium caninum (a tapeworm species previously mentioned in this article), though commonly found in dogs and cats, can also infect humans.

word toxoplasmosis written over a woman's pregnant belly with a cat paw print

4. What Should You Do with a Sick Pet?

As suggested earlier in this article, you should take proper care of sick pets.

You should also isolate a sick pet (if possible). Try your best to prevent other pets from accessing the poop and other wastes of your sick pet.

Final Thoughts

Cats can get worms from dogs (and vice versa).

Remember to worm your dogs and cats regularly. Also, remember that pets that are well taken care of do not get as much parasite load as other pets, so you should be diligent in caring for your pets.

Make sure that you follow the directions of your vet when your pet is sick.