Tapeworms are long, flat segmented parasites that can look like grains of rice. They are passed through an infected dog’s feces, where they may be seen in the stool, the fur around the dog’s anus, or in their bedding.
How do dogs get tapeworms?
- By ingesting a flea
- Eating a rodent that is carrying a tapeworm
Adult tapeworms develop and live in their small intestines by attaching themselves to the lining of the dog’s gut to feed off the nutrients inside their intestines. Segments periodically break off in the intestine and pass through the dog’s feces, which is when they become visible to owners.
The common signs of tapeworms in dogs:
- Scooting or dragging their hind end to relieve itchiness
- Segments seen near a dog’s anus or in their bedding — these segments may be white and moving, or dried out and yellow
- Seeing the segment in stool or in the fur around a dog’s anus
- Through fecal testing may find tapeworm eggs; however, an active tapeworm infection may be missed since shedding eggs in the stool occurs periodically
- Praziquantel is a deworming medication used to treat tapeworm infections. It is commonly given once as a tablet but is also available as an injection and topical formulation.
- Controlling fleas – treating all pets in the household with routine flea preventatives (such as collars, topicals or oral chews)
- Treating the environment within the home and yard
- Monthly dewormer while also using a heartworm preventative will help prevent reinfection
Are tapeworms infectious to people?
Humans do not get tapeworm from dogs, but they could get it from ingesting a flea that came from the dog. This is more likely to happen with young children.
How can I keep me and my dog safe?
- Treating all pets in the household with routine flea preventatives (using collars, topicals or oral chews)
- Treating the surrounding environment within the pets’ home and yard
- Making sure pets do not ingest rodents
- Routinely using dewormer that applies to tapeworms