My rescue beagle, Millie, had a rough night mid-week. We had seen a version of this recently: frantic licking of the air, the carpet, the bare floor. Eating leaves and grass. And then, vomiting. This time around, she, Mom & I were up all night – trying to soothe her anxious state, cleaning up the vomit before she could eat it, wondering if all of the frantic licking was causing her to bloat.

A vet visit the next morning showed some gas, but no blockage. We agreed that perhaps this episode was caused by the latest edible Nylabone, eaten around six ‘o’clock the night prior. Millie is a hound, and so she scarfs things down with aplomb, but perhaps not in the smallest of pieces. After a couple of injections to stop the nausea and prevent diarrhea, we were sent home with a course of pills to treat the same, plus six cans of bland food.

The next day we got a call. Mom had it in her head that we should bring Millie’s morning stool with us to the vet, and we did. What a good hunch: the sample showed that our poor gal has hookworm. From what I’ve read, this blood-sucking intestinal parasite can cause vomiting. And so it was back to the vet after work to pick up some more medicine. Fortunately, hookworm is very treatable.

One of the easiest places to get worms? Outside, in the soil (which Millie sniffs – as everything else – with relish) or in feces (which she tries to eat). I cannot begin to explain the amount of poop that lies in the grass around my neighborhood. It would never occur to me to leave my house, dog at my side, and not have a poop bag or two in my pocket. Alas, at least some of my neighbors do not share this sentiment. The signs posted by the town explaining that it’s the law to clean up after and curb your dog mean nothing. Nonetheless, Mom was adamant that we purchase one of our own to hang on the fence.

Worms are sadly common in both dogs and cats, though easily treated. Still, it would go a long way in showing some compassion if human companions would do right by those they chose to care for by keeping their environment safe and healthy.

Here’s to Millie’s full recovery. We’ll find out if the hookworms are gone in several weeks.

Do you clean up after your dog? If not, why?