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How do Dogs get Tapeworms? Causes-Treatment-Prevention

Intestinal parasites are considered a health threat for pets. There are many types of canine intestinal parasites includes Tapeworms. These infectious parasites are long, flat intestinal worms that are usually attached to your pooch intestines and cause infection. So How do dogs get tapeworms, and how you can treat or prevent your faithful companion.

The body of tapeworm has multiple segments called proglottids. Each segment has its own reproductive organs that can increase its numbers rapidly. 

These worms use their hook-like Sucker to attach themselves to the walls of the gut or small intestine and starts feeding to grow. 

Tapeworms belong to the cestode family and have several species that can affect your pooch, including Dipylidium caninum, Taenia, Echinococcus and Metacestoides. But Dipylidium caninum is the most common species dogs can suffer from.

Proper and timely treatment of the worms is essential to prevent your pooch from any complicated health issue. 

In the article, our experts have compiled a detailed and comprehensive guide about canine Tapeworms. You can use the quick navigation from the table of content.

How do Dogs get Tapeworms?

Dogs can get the Dipylidium caninum, a type of tapeworm, by ingesting the host flea of the parasite from their body while grooming, licking or by other means. Unlike other intestinal parasites, your puppy can not be infected by eating the tapeworm eggs directly. All the three species, Dipylidium caninum, Taenia and Echinococcus, first require an intermediate host before they could infect a dog.

Causes of Tapeworms in dogs

Dipylidium caninum is the most common species found in dogs. The common host of this species is fleas, while the Taenia and Echinococcus host themselves in the small rodents or other large animals. 

When the eggs of the worm are released into the environment, they must be ingested by an intermediate host before infecting your pet. 

Fleas and other hosts such as mice, rats, etc., can be the host and can carry the tapeworm’s larvae in their bodies. Whenever your faithful companion swallows these intermediate hosts, your dog will infect by the parasite too.

Are tapeworms dangerous for dogs?

Generally, tapeworms are not a serious threat for adult dogs and don’t cause any dangerous health issues. Adult dogs having tapeworm may face some complications such as weight loss, vomiting and diarrhea, scoot the but the on-ground to relieve irritation, and dull coat etc. 

However, this intestinal parasite can be dangerous for young puppies and can lead them to anaemia, intestinal blockage, severe weakness and lack of growth. 

Signs and Symptoms of Tapeworm in Dogs

Some of the most common signs and symptoms of tapeworm in canine are:

Treatment of Tapeworm in Dogs:

Treatment of tapeworm can be treated by using an effective worms remedy or with the use of medication. The best and effective way to treat tapeworm parasites in your pooch is by using parasiticide deworming medications. The most common deworming medicine used for canine is known as praziquantel. The praziquantel comes in both oral and injectable forms. 

Once your pooch takes medicine in the correct dose, the tapeworms start detaching from the intestinal walls and digested. These parasites will then appear in your puppy poop. 

That’s why you sometimes see the worm in your dog stool in the form of white rice like structure. 

Please remember before administrating any drug, make sure to take your vet advice and offer the medicine in a safe dose.

How to prevent your dog from Tapeworms?

Prevention is better than cure. Many pet owners often ask How can I prevent my dog from getting worms? To prevent your dog from tapeworm please follow the below guideline.

  • Make a proper schedule of deworming your pet with the vet’s advice
  • Prevent your puppy from a dog with flea infestation.
  • Prevent your pooch from eating poop and also use dog poop bags for your dog stools and then throw in a trash.
  • Prevent your dog from eating dead animals, such as rats, mice, rabbits etc.
  • Use an e-cone if you notice fleas on your pet to prevent them from licking the fur and body. 
  • Use a recommended dog crate and properly concentrate on its Flea infestation control on a scheduled basis. 

How does tapeworms look like in dog poop?

The tapeworm body has multiple segments called proglottids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these proglottids sometimes crawl near the anus or in the fresh dog poop. These worms segments can be easily seen in the affected dogs stool with the  Rice-like Pieces.

If you observe the poop of your canine (Non-Fresh), the proglottids may be dead and will look yellow and hard. 

Can a dog be infected from tapeworm by eating poop?

No, tapeworm requires an intermediate host such as flea before it infects your puppy. So your dog will not be infected with the parasite by just eating the tapeworms infected dogs poop directly. 

How often should I deworm my dog?

According to pet experts and veterinarians, this is a must for every dog to be dewormed with vet advice every two weeks until twelve weeks of age. After that each month until 6 months of age. After this schedule, the ideal way is to deworm your pet every 3 months for the best result. Read a complete Guide How often to Deworm dogs?

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FAQ: How do Dogs get Tapeworms?

How long can a tapeworm live in a dog?

There is no solid evidence available on the internet that how long can a tapeworm live in dogs. However, some experts believe and concluded from a study that a tapeworm can live in the host body for upto 30 years. So with proper treatment and deworming, your puppy can get a ride from this parasite. 

What happens if tapeworms go untreated in dogs?

Tapeworms in dogs require immediate treatment. Leaving untreated, these parasites can lead your pooch to uncomfortable situations. This nasty parasite body has segments, and each segment has its own reproductive organ, which means it can increase its number rapidly.

If you do not properly and timely treat the tapeworms in your dogs, your faithful companion will develop scooting and can suffer from some of the side effects such as vomiting, diarrhoea, anaemia, weight loss, lethargy and ugly dull coat.

What happens if tapeworms go untreated in dogs

What medicine kills tapeworms in dogs?

There are many deworming medicine available for dogs, but the most common parasiticide drug is praziquantel. The praziquantel can be administered in both ways, orally or in injectables. Other medicine, such as Fenbendazole, can also be used for canine deworming, but it may no be effective treat the  Dipylidium caninum tapeworms species. 

Can tapeworms be passed from dog to human?

The chances of humans getting tapeworms from dogs is very low. Because these parasites need an intermediate host such as fleas and other animals such as rats, mice, deer, rabbits etc., before infecting humans or pets.

However, there are still rare chances of humans getting these nasty worms. If you accidentally ingest one of the intermediate hosts that have the worms larva inside the body, such as fleas, then you must be infected with the parasite.

Can tapeworms be passed from dog to human?

Are tapeworms in dogs contagious?

To know about the exact contagious nature of a tapeworm, you first need to get knowledge about the spread of the parasite. Tapeworms must require an intermediate host such as flea before infecting dogs.

If your dogs eat a host of fleas from their body or another dog, they will suffer. However, ingesting the eggs or worms directly will not affect your puppy. 

Can tapeworm eggs live in carpet?

Yes, tapeworm eggs can sustain in many environments such as carpets, soil, grass etc. So proper prevention and control measures should be taken to prevent your pooch from the parasite. 

Can I get tapeworms from sleeping with my dog?

No, you cannot get tapeworms  form sleeping with your dog. However, if you accidentally eat a worm host flea from your puppy fur, then you will be infected by the tapeworms.

If you are fond of sleeping with your puppy, then this is the best idea to first treat and deworm your dog and also use flea control spray if your pooch has a fleas problem.

owner love with dog

Do dog worms look like rice?

Yes, tapeworms body consists of segments known as proglottids and can appear in your fresh dogs stool in the form of white rice. If you observe these tiny rice form segments, this is the indication that your faithful companion is suffering from the tapeworms. 

Is it safe to touch a dog with worms?

Yes, you can touch and properly groom your dogs suffering from tapeworms. This parasite can not be transferred to you by touching or taking care of your pet. The only way the transfer these nasty intestinal parasites is to ingest an intermediate host such as flea.

Make sure to wash your hands and change your clothes after grooming your puppy to avoid the accident risk of fleas ingestion by you. 

How long does a dog have tapeworms before you see them?

It almost takes about 3 to 4 weeks to appear the tapeworm segments appear in your pet poop or in vomit after ingesting. If you observe rice-like segments in your canine poop, this indicates that your dog has ingested the worms and now he/she is suffering from the parasite.