As a dog owner, you’ve probably heard about tapeworms. They are tiny parasites that live in the dog’s gut. Tapeworms usually do not cause serious problems and are easy to treat.
Where does tapeworm come from?
There are many kinds of tapeworms, but swallowing a tiny infected flea causes the most common one. The fleas tend to carry the tapeworm’s babies or larvae. So if your dog swallows it, maybe while grooming himself, an adult tapeworm may grow inside the dog’s intestine.
Tapeworms are white, flat worms made up of tiny segments. Every part is about the size of a rice grain. Tapeworms usually attach themselves to your dog’s gut walls with hook-like suckers. It is when they tend to start to grow while feeding.
A tapeworm may grow from 4 to 8 inches long. There are chances that you won’t see the adult worm. As it grows, a few of its segments tend to fall off and pass through the dog’s poop. You may see these tiny parts crawl near your dog’s backside or on the bedding. You may also see them move around in the poop.
The segments of these worms usually tend to die and dry out. They then become hard, yellow specks that stick to the fur around the dog’s bottom.
As tapeworms are irritating, some dogs will scoot, drag their bottoms across the floor, or lick theirs behind quite a lot.
If the tapeworm segments make their way inside your dog’s stomach, they may also make your dog throw up. Then you may eventually see a worm (maybe 5 to 8 inches long) in the dog’s vomit.
If your dog suffers from a heavy tapeworm infection, it may lose weight even though they are eating normally.
Your vet will confirm the diagnosis after the following:
- Seeing segments crawling on your dog
- Seeing eggs or segments in your dog’s poop under a microscope.
Sometimes, you may need several samples since tapeworm eggs and segments are not passed every time your dog poops.
Many safe prescription medicines treat tapeworms in dogs. Your vet tends to choose the right one for your dog. These deworming medications may be given as a tablet or shot. The medicines dissolve the worms, so you will not see them pass when your dog goes to the bathroom.
In many cases, you can prevent tapeworms with a few simple steps:
- As fleas are a major cause, you should control them both on your little pup and in your yard and home. Talk to your vet about topical liquid treatments, oral medications, collars, powder, or flea spray.
- You should work with your vet to keep your dog on a deworming plan.
- Do not let your dog roam unsupervised, especially in places where other animals or dogs have been.
- Clean up after the pet, especially in parks and in the yard.
Home Remedies for Tapeworms in Dogs
While you find a remedy for tapeworms without going to the vet might be tempting, there are no proven home remedy solutions. However, dewormers are inexpensive and offer proven treatment for tapeworms in dogs.
The ‘home’ remedies that people claim to be effective in preventing and treating tapeworm infestation include:
- Apple cider vinegar and garlic have been touted as natural preventatives that make the typical gut environment ‘inhospitable’ for immature larvae.
- Pumpkin seeds and coarsely chosen carrots’ treat’ tapeworm infestation by physically debriding the attached worms from the lining of the intestine that, causes them to pass through the digestive tract and exit with the feces.
- Turmeric is the gut anti-inflammatory that promotes gut healing following tapeworm infestation.
It is better to consult your vet before attempting to treat your dog with any home remedies or OTC treatments.
It is quite rare, but people can get tapeworms from pets. This is because they must swallow an infected flea, which often happens in children. To be safer, always wash your hands after playing outside or with animals.
Pet medications could be quite costly. However, you can download Pet Rx discount card for better discounts.