When was the last time you inspected your dog’s drinking water container? Did you notice something in their drinking water dish the last time you washed it? Well, if you have noticed something strange in your dog’s drinking water dish, then you must know they were ‘little black worms in the dog water dish”.
More often than not, these worms are harmless and will not cause any harm to your pet. However, if you do see worms in your dog’s water dish, it is important to take action and remove them. An ideal step would be not to allow any such situation to occur in the first place, where you need to maintain the cleanliness of your dog’s drinking water dish.
Dogs are just like our children, are they not? Dogs, like human children, need to be taken care of. As a dog parent, you can’t see your children being hurt and feel hurt yourself. Right?
You might be surprised to know that there are different kinds of worms that can potentially harm your dog’s health.
What Are These Little Black Worms in My Dog’s Water Dish?
In fact, there can be a plethora of worms that can inhibit your dog’s water bowl. Out of these, the most common ones are roundworm, tapeworm, and fluke. All of them are potentially dangerous for your dog. Drinking water that is infested by these dogs can make your dog seriously ill. The side effects of such illness are equally problematic. Apart from diarrhea, your dog may begin to suffer from a poor appetite leading to rapid weight loss.
These signs are alarming for sure. But don’t worry. They can be treated with the help of medical science. But, first, as a dog parent, you have to be careful about the water that your dog is drinking. Still, if you feel that your dog has consumed worm-infested water, don’t wait for long. Immediately take her/him to your veterinarian.
There are a couple of ways by which you can treat the water that your dog drinks. One of the solutions to this problem is using a chemical treatment like praziquantel in the water. Apart from chemical treatment, you can also opt for natural treatments like diatomaceous earth to treat your dog’s drinking water. But please remember that dogs may react to these treatment methods differently. So, before applying either of these methods, it is always better to have an expert’s opinion. Therefore, do consult your veterinarian, who understands your dog’s health better!
What Causes These Black Worms to Form in My Dog’s Water Dish?
There are several known causes of those little black worms that might have been spotted in your dog’s drinking water dish, and here are a few mentions. Have a look at the following causes, and you will easily be able to find out which one is the possible cause for you.
#1. Dirty Water Dish
Cannot emphasize maintaining the cleanliness of your dog’s water dish regularly to prevent the growth of little black worms.
#2. Presence of Organic Matter
Ensure that your dog’s water dish is kept away from any compost piles or other organic matter, or else the little black worms may thrive.
#3. Stagnated Water
Do not allow the water to stagnate, ensure that you provide a free-flowing water stream of fresh drinking water and do not allow the drinking water to stagnate. Ensure that there is proper drainage.
#4. Presence of Birds or Insects
Keep a check on the presence of birds and insects that may contaminate your dog’s water dish. Try keeping it covered when not in use to help keep it clean.
What Are Some Of The Types Of Worms That Can Be Identified?
There can be many types of worms that could have made your dog’s water dish their fine abode. Not many people will be able to differentiate between these types, but it is always a great idea to know about the existing kind of worms.
#1. Gordian Worms
The first type is Gordian worms, and they are a type of roundworm. They are parasites that can cause severe infections in humans and animals.
#2. Mosquito Larvae
Next up is the mosquito larvae, which is nothing but the immature form of the mosquito. They can carry diseases such as malaria and yellow fever. These can grow and become more problematic for your dog.
#3. Coccidia Worms
Coccidia is a type of single-celled parasite. These are the cause of diarrhea and other health problems in humans and animals.
#4. Giardia Worms
Another single-celled parasite that can cause diarrhea and other health problems in humans is known as Giardia.
Are Worms In My Dog Water Bowl Normal?
If you own a dog as your pet, you have to give it water every day in its water bowl so that it can quench its thirst. But, has it ever happened that you forgot to change the water for a few days?
In such cases, the water remains stagnant for quite a few days. You also might have noticed black, thread-like tiny things floating on the water’s surface. You might have wandered about these small creatures.
Well, these are worms that grow on the water’s surface or in other kinds of stagnant water bodies. So the chances of the worms coming from the environment are much higher than the dog’s body.
The only time worms come from a dog’s body is when the dog remains outside for a long period of time and carries unwanted worms from the environment. Then, the worms and other unwanted organisms get attached with furry coats.
Dogs often have the habit of licking their paws and body. Therefore, these worms get transferred to their mouths. Later, when they sip water from their bowl, these worms fall into the bowl.
Is It Fine If The Bowl Of Water You Kept For Your Dog Has Worms?
Well, we have already discussed how worms end up in your dog’s bowls. From there, it can be easily understood that worms do not come from the environment in minutes or a day. The mosquitos or flies love to lay their eggs on stagnant water.
Keeping the water bowl unchanged for 3 to 4 days can cause the larvae to grow. To avoid such conditions, specifically in warm, muggy weather, you must clean any outdoor water or food dish at short intervals. Therefore, it is even better to keep the bowl outside, especially if the weather is too hot.
As said earlier, the worm gets contracted from the dog only in other cases. For example, when a dog spends a significant amount of time outside roaming in the lawn and mud, it could have tiny insects and their eggs on its fur.
Then worms fall into the bowl of water. While licking, they get those worms in their mouth, nose, etc. In this condition, you should give your pet a good bath before letting it inside the home. This will protect it from outdoor hazards.
In the end, you will not find insects in your pet’s water bowl if you maintain the above procedures. However, it would be best if you also kept in mind that dogs generally do not contract severe diseases in these conditions, but they still can contract diarrhea.
As an owner, you will surely like to avoid such problems for your pet. However, those bugs could be a sign that perhaps the water bowl for your dog requires to be washed frequently or relocated.
However, if you find that your dog has been feeling uneasy for quite some time, then make sure that you contact the vet as early as possible.
How Can These Worms Affect My Dog’s Health?
While in most cases, these little black worms, when detected at the right time, do not prove to be harmful. However, if left unchecked for several days, these can constitute a health concern to your dog.
The most common side affect of your dog drinking from a dish with black worms could be seen as diarrhea. Ironically, it can lead to dehydration and make your dog drink more of the water from the same bowl. So, it is advisable to keep the dish clean.
#2. Intestinal Blockage
The persistent intake of water from the dish with black worms can become lodged in your dog’s intestines leading to blockage. Dogs may end up swallowing worms causing them to become infected with other types of worms, including tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms.
It can lead to several infections like skin infection or serious eye infection. It can also cause skin rashes, hair loss, or in some cases, even respiratory problems.
#4. Other Problems
Sometimes the problems caused by black worms are so minute that we disregard them as something normal. For example, if your dog is experiencing vomiting, fever, and loss of appetite every now and then, it will have to be treated properly.
Can Mosquito Larvae Give My Dog Heartworms?
You might have wondered about those little creatures when you find small, blackish, thread-like structures in your dog’s water bowl. Well, these little black creatures are mosquito larvae.
Mosquitoes love to lay eggs in stagnant water and bowls containing water. Those eggs convert into larvae over a period of time.
It is already well known that mosquito larvae cause heartworm disease in dogs. Heartworms spread in dogs’ hearts and blood vessels, making these organs their home. However, to understand how severe it can be, you first need to learn how it contracts in a dog’s body.
Role Of Mosquito
Mosquitoes serve the role of mediator when spreading the disease heartworm. Female mosquitoes are the ones who carry the larvae. A female mosquito picks up heartworm larvae whenever it stings an affected dog.
For the next 10 to 30 days, those larvae continue to develop inside the female mosquito. The larvae turn infectious by then. Whenever those female mosquitoes bite another dog, they transfer those larvae into the dog’s blood.
Afterward, these larvae gradually drift toward the heart and lungs. Specifically, the blood vessels of these organs become a safe haven for these larvae.
They show even more development in those areas and turn into adult larvae. However, if the female mosquitoes do not sting any dog, then larvae die within the mosquito body itself. The whole process takes 6 to 8 months.
Can A Bowl Of Water Containing Larvae Affect The Dog?
What you need to know here is that the mosquito attacks and bites a dog, not the larvae. As said earlier, the mosquito larvae themselves can not cause any harm to your dog. It only happens when a mosquito carrying infected larva bites a dog.
However, you can relax as even though your dog consumed some old water that contained several mosquito larvae, it will not get an infection from having dirty, contaminated water. The infection only spreads when mosquitoes and dogs come into direct contact.
Therefore, it can be easily concluded that as a pet owner, you need not be worried if your dog’s bowl of water contains some mosquito larvae, but it is not a good option to let it have dirty water. Instead, it is always better to give it fresh water as it will keep your dog away from diseases like diarrhea.
How Do I Keep Worms Out Of My Dog’s Water Bowl?
Now that you know that a situation is normal, try not to panic. Here are a few things you can do to keep your dog’s water dish clean.
As mentioned before, keeping your dog’s water dish clean is the most important. Would you ever drink from a dirty glass? How could you allow your doggo to drink from a container that is not clean enough for storing drinking water?
It is essential to clean the water with hot water to kill any potential bacteria and use soap to sanitize it. For deep cleansing, soak the dish in a bleach and water solution. Take 1 part bleach to 9 parts of water. Some people also use the sanitization feature in their dishwater to keep dogs’ water dishes clean and free of any harmful worms.
Remember to dry the dish properly each time after washing it. You can place it in the sun to dry completely and pat it dry with a clean cloth to get rid of any potential bacteria or fungus. A great way of naturally sanitizing the water dish is by soaking it dry in the sun every now and then.
Apart from using the bleach solution, you can give vinegar a try as well. Ensure that you soak the dish in vinegar for some time; it not only gets rid of black worms but also of a foul smell that might become a cause of concern for your dog in the long run.
Always keep a check on the condition of the dog water dish, check for signs for worms periodically to avoid any situation that can prove to be harmful.
Maintaining hygiene is the most important part of it. You must take a few steps to ensure your dog remains healthy. Follow the steps mentioned below for the same.
Do Not Use Plastic Bowls
Apart from being environmentally hazardous, plastic is not the most appropriate material for a pet’s water bowl. Since the plastic in your dog’s bowl is BPA-free, it is a perfect fit for your dog.
But let us warn you that such a water bowl may still have other harmful compounds. Besides, since it is also porous, germs and mold love to thrive there.
Dogs have a habit of chewing or scratching their bowls. They do these kinds of things whenever they feel bored. Unfortunately, the scratched body parts of dogs may contain bacteria and many other microorganisms that can harm dogs.
Do Not Keep The Water Bowl In Warm Places
Microorganisms, notably bacteria and algae, require a somewhat hotter, moist environment in which they can spread.
Please ensure that the water container is kept from sunny or warm locations. Instead, find a shady location in the yard, balcony, or veranda and designate it as your pet’s favorite drinking spot.
Prevent Other Animals From Drinking From The Same Bowl
If your dog resides outside the house, and you keep its water bowl in the open, there is a high chance that other animals, like birds and cats, will drink from that bowl. This is something that should be avoided.
When other animals drink from that bowl, they can spread the insects or bugs in the bowl unknowingly. When your dog drinks the same water, it may get contracted by those microorganisms.
Clean The Bowl Regularly
You will need to clean the bowl every day if you do not want any microorganisms to grow. Microorganisms like uncleaned places and damp conditions are preferable for them. So, a dirty and unclean water bowl can prove to be a safe haven for them to multiply.
Keep Changing The Water
Please remember that you need to change the water at regular intervals. If the water remains unchanged for 3-4 days, worms tend to grow on them. Specifically, mosquitoes lay their eggs in stagnant water. Those eggs then convert into larvae.
Additionally, there are many types of flies and some kinds of algae and fungi that grow on the surface of stagnant water.
Water generally contains eggs of numerous bugs as it helps their eggs to form into larvae. The common insects found in the water are mosquitoes, flies, etc.
To the naked eye, they are too tiny, and it is almost impossible to figure out their species. But, studies say that even algae, fungi, and planktons grow there and can also look like worms.
To the naked eye, the worms look like very small threads. However, suppose it is collected and seen under a microscope.
In that case, you will be able to see that their body is divided into a distinct head and a thread-like filament with ten segments and that their body filaments have many hairs.
The most common reason for finding bugs in a dog water bowl is not changing the water regularly. Otherwise, even an uncleaned bowl can cause the generation of bugs.
Additionally, for some insects who are searching for locations to deposit their eggs, standing water is a seductive habitat.
The worms in water are mainly found in the environment only. Generally, mosquitos and flies, which are present in the surrounding environment, prefer to lay their larvae in stagnant water.
In other cases, these worms drop in water from the pets only. The dogs transfer them. Dogs generally acquire these worms while licking their feet or furry body.
You don’t need to worry if your dog drinks water with mosquito larvae. Dogs do not suffer any heart diseases, though mosquitos are able to transmit heartworms.
The way dogs digest any other food they intake, and they will be able to consume the mosquito larvae too.
The worms which are found in water are mainly black and white in color. So if the worms you have found are black in color, there is a good chance they are mosquito larvae.
On the other hand, the white worms are known as horsehair or gordian worms. In addition, bacteria like E.coli, and Coccidia are also found. Other than that, algae, fungi, and plankton can easily survive in water.
Yes, dogs can get worms if they drink stagnant water. The most common are mosquito larvae, and others are protozoans, plankton, algae, bacteria, etc. Dogs tend to contract severe diarrhea and stomach upset in most cases.
Moreover, they can also get affected by infections in the ear and toxins produced by algae.
You need to perform the following activities to get rid of mosquito larvae.
• You should not keep any kind of stagnant water.
• You can harvest fish in ponds. Larvae can be easily consumed by fish.
• You can also harvest plants that help to keep mosquitos away.
• Neem oil is a natural and excellent product to use, which can destroy larvae.
Now that you have known all about the little black worms in your dog’s drinking water dish use this information to ensure that it never happens to you in the future. Though predominantly not so harmful, it can be a cause of inconvenience if in case your dog’s immunity system is compromised; and also, your dog already has a history of health issues. It is advisable to keep an eye on your doggo’s movements to ensure that they are not mingling with another animal who could possibly pose trouble. At times, our dogs tend to bring some worms from outside, and they begin to accumulate and grow in their water dish.
The reasons could be many; the solution is that precaution is always better than cure. Also, once you know the cause, it is important to take immediate action. Do not undermine the role of your dog’s vet, who could be well-equipped with handling any kind of issue that may arise on an urgent basis.
Dr. Lillian is a D.V.M. passionate about promoting awareness of dogs. She shares her expertise through her blogs on canineweekly.com and provides animal care services, including internal medicine, dermatology, and emergency care. Dr. Lillian is committed to contributing to animal welfare.