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dog pooping

📸 by Ryan Mandelbaum

The essentials

  • Don’t be immediately alarmed — White specks in dog poop can be harmless.
  • Check the specks for movement — Take a close look at the stool for more than a few seconds to see if your dog is suffering from a worm infestation. 
  • Puppy or adult — Pet parents should take into account your dog’s age when considering diagnoses and what to do.

What exactly are white specks?

White specks are exactly what they sound like: tiny white dots in a dog’s stool. They’re fairly common and usually not a cause for concern, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. 

As unpleasant as it sounds, the first thing you’ll want to do is take a closer look to determine whether or not they’re moving. 

If they are moving, the cause is almost always gastrointestinal parasites, such as tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms. If they aren’t moving, white specks in your dog’s poop can result from several potential causes, such as fly larvae, fungal infections, medication, food indigestion, and decreased nutrient intake .

Why poop is your friend

Long story short, dog poop is important. Stools can tell you a lot about your dog’s health. It’s smart to familiarize yourself with their feces so that you know what normal stool looks like. If white specks do come up and you’re not quite sure if they’re worms, it’s always best to check with your vet.

How to identify flecks and when to be concerned

You’re going to have to get up close and personal. The main thing to look out for is whether or not the white specks move. 

Take a look at the poop with the naked eye for several seconds. If they’re static, it might not be cause for concern. 

If they’re moving, it’s a different story, and your dog might have an infection. Remember to look closely — sometimes, the specks can appear motionless before a sudden twitch.

White specks can have a variety of causes

  • Undigested food. Your dog may have traces of bones in their stool. This means you might need to check on the quality of your pet’s food and treats.
  • Fly larvae. Has the poop been lying around the yard for a while? If so, the white specks could be maggot eggs.
  • Worms and other infections. This is the one that should cause alarm. Worms are an infestation of a dog’s intestines that can cause other underlying health issues.

Types of worms found in poop

Worms aren’t as cut and dry as one might think and can display symptoms other than white specks.

  • Tapeworms. Tapeworms typically come from fleas and feed off a dog’s intestines, sometimes laying their eggs in the lining. You may notice the little sesame seed-like specks on your dog’s behind. Another sign to watch out for is if your dog scoots their butt against the floor or licks their private region more often.
  • Roundworms. These are mainly caused by when your dog eats another animal’s feces or spoiled soil. They look like long strands of string. The telltale signs of this type of worm are vomiting and irregular bowel movements.
  • Hookworms. This parasite can be brought on like roundworms. They’re particularly harmful and feed off a dog’s blood. They can penetrate an animal through the skin, so make sure your dog doesn’t roll in poop.

Image courtesy of

Some worms can’t be seen by the naked eye

Some worms don’t appear in a dog’s fecal stool but are detected using a blood test. For these, it’s more important to look for changes in your dog’s activity or other physical symptoms so you know when to take them to the vet.

  • Whipworm. If your dog exhibits vomiting, weight loss, or gas, they could have this infestation.
  • Heartworm. Mosquitoes cause heartworms which affect the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. An early symptom of heartworm may be a cough but this is not always the case.

Some treatments can be done at home

If undigested food is the issue, the best solution is to make small adjustments to your dog’s diet. It is normal for poop to come in different shapes and sizes depending on whether your dog is on dry kibble or a raw diet (though we don’t recommend this). 

When eyeing your dog’s food, look out for more meat than bone, though AAFCO-approved foods won’t contain whole bone but rather bone meal. Bones can irritate the GI tract and pose a choking hazard as well as causing bacterial infections.

Dewormers recommended by our vets

These tablets are effective solutions for removing common parasites like tapeworms, roundworms, and hookworms — just make sure to get your vet’s okay before starting your dog on any deworming medication.   

More serious infections require help from the vet

While some people try to tackle this problem DIY, we strongly encourage going to the vet, who can identify exactly what worm is causing your pet’s infection. If you can, bring along a stool sample.

👉 In the case that your dog does have an intestinal infection, they will need a deworming treatment. 

When your vet carries out their assessment, they will identify a diagnosis and prescribe the correct treatment. Depending on the parasite, some treatments are easier and less costly, while others are expensive and do not guarantee a complete cure. Treatments (such as a dewormer) might be administered orally and over a couple of days or by injection.

When puppies are under three months old, it is protocol for them to get a worming treatment every two weeks. After that and up until they’re six months old, deworming should proceed once a month. 

Puppies are more prone to worms before they’ve completed all their treatment. Sometimes, they can even contract parasites like roundworms at birth. If you notice white dots in their poop, it’s better to get them to the vet sooner rather than later. While older pups require less treatment, they should still be checked out regularly.

Practice worm prevention at home

Any type of worm can cause a lot of discomfort for your pup. That being said, there are a couple of preventative steps dog owners can take to fight worms. 

Watch your dog while they roam outside to be sure they don’t nibble on any animals. If you can’t always spectate, just make sure the area they hang out in is free from ticks, lice, and rodents.

👉  A flea-free environment, routine testing, and good hygiene are crucial for worm prevention.

Frequently asked questions

Why are there white spots in my dog’s poop?

White specks in dog poop can be caused by a few different things. Your dog could have traces of bone or undigested food in their stool. Or, white specks may come from fly larvae if the poop has been lying around the yard for a while. A common cause of white specks in dog poop is worms or other infections, which could be a sign of other underlying health issues.

What do tapeworms look like in dog poop?

Tapeworms look like tiny white dots in dog poop. If you stare closely at them, you may notice the white specks moving. You may also notice little sesame seed-like specks on your dog’s behind if they have a tapeworm.

What are the white moving things in my dog’s poop?

If your dog’s poop has moving white specks, it’s a sign of a worm or infection. The most common are tapeworm, roundworm, or hookworm. See your vet for a deworming treatment if your dog has moving white specks in their poop.

What are the signs of worms in dogs?

Signs your dog may have worms are moving white specks in their stool. Another sign is if your dog scoots their butt against the floor or licks their private region more often. Certain worms may cause vomiting or irregular bowel movements.

Can dogs get rid of tapeworms on their own?

No. If you suspect your dog has a tapeworm, first see your vet. Your vet will be able to accurately diagnose the condition and type of worm. They’ll also prescribe a treatment such as a dewormer which you can usually administer at home to your pet orally, or they may give your dog an injection.