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Thread: eating earthworms

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    eating earthworms

    It rained here recently, and while we were on our walk, I noticed that Kobe was eating earthworms off the ground. it's impossible to completely get him to stop (I think), but I'd really like to know if there could be any health issues that could arise from this.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member lovemygreys's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    South Carolina

    Re: eating earthworms

    yummmmmm - protein!

    J/k - sounds disgusting (aren't "we humans" so picky when it comes to what we'll eat LOLOL). I actually didn't know the answer to your question, so I googled a bit. My first instinct was to say there's no harm, but I did find this on the AKC site:

    Dear Lisa: I have a 14-month old pug who eats earthworms every chance he gets. He eats the same amount dry dog food as his brother but eats the earthworms as snacks during his outside time. His brother does not eat earthworms. I'm sure hunger isn't the issue. Is he missing something in his diet? Can the earthworms be harmful to his health? Should I prevent him from eating them? – Unearthed Delights in Delaware

    Dear Unearthed: Dogs will eat the craziest things. Many times experts don’t know why or have conflicting opinions. For example, there is no solid evidence as to why so many dogs eat grass. Some say they must be missing a nutrient, others claim dogs do it to ease gastrointestinal troubles or some say it simply means dogs like greens!

    As for earthworms, I’ve heard some dog owners report that their dogs devour these segmented hors d’ouevres with no ill effect. However, there are a few reasons why you should not let your pup scarf up this garden garnish.

    Earthworms are great for soil because they move it around, clean it up and deposit nutrients. They do this by swallowing the soil. Some of the things that an earthworm might run across on his errands include bacteria and other parasites that are harmful to dogs.

    Parasite Problems
    While bacteria could cause stomach upset in your pet your biggest worry should be roundworms. The eggs of the roundworm (Toxocara larvae) can be left behind in soil by other dogs or wildlife and then ingested by the earthworms. Then once the earthworms are eaten by your dog, he runs the risk of getting the common parasite. Puppies are quite susceptible to getting roundworms, especially from their mothers. But adults can get them too.

    Check your dog’s stool for spaghetti-shaped worms for the main telltale sign of roundworm infection. If your dog does get roundworms, don’t despair, working with your vet on a de-worming protocol will usually take care of the problem. It is estimated that a medium-sized garden can contain more than 20,000 earthworms. Worse yet, if your dog gets roundworms he could spread them to you. So don’t let your dog eat the earthworms and keep him and you parasite free.
    So, while it seems there are no super serious side effects, I would probably try to keep your pup from eating them. Good luck!
    Heather and the hounds ~
    Make a fast friend, Adopt a Greyhound!

  4. #3
    Junior Member NHAnimator's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Re: eating earthworms

    Last night, we noticed an earthworm very close to Jake's stool. As the earthworm was still alive, we figured that either he had picked it up and dropped it near his stool, or that it just happened to be there.

    The worm was intact, alive, and had what looked like dirt still on it. And it was DEFINITELY an earthworm.

    I find it hard to believe that he would have swallowed it whole, had it pass through his stomach acids without dying, and then not become lodged within the feces as opposed to being separated from it when it came out.

    Regardless, we will be watching him a little closer.

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