our dog is a member of the family, and you would no doubt do anything for your beloved pet. That’s why it’s important to recognize when your dog might be sick and how you can help them deal with the issue. If you think that your dog has a tapeworm, there are several strategies to treat this parasite and make sure that your dog stays healthy.
Your dog may have a tapeworm, but you can treat it.
You may be wondering, “What is a tapeworm?” Tapeworms are parasites that live in the intestines of your dog. They are common and usually not serious — although they can cause diarrhea and weight loss in dogs if left untreated. In rare cases, tapeworms can be transmitted to humans through bites or accidental ingestion of eggs from contaminated surfaces like grass or soil.
Luckily, it’s usually easy to treat tapeworms with medication prescribed by your vet (or over the counter). It’s best to call your veterinarian if you think your dog has a tapeworm infestation so they can diagnose and treat it properly!
Tapeworms are visible as white, segmented worms. They’re found in the intestines of dogs and cats and can be as long as 5 feet!
Tapeworms are flat, segmented creatures that look like grains of rice or pieces of thread. The segments contain eggs that pass out in stool — these segments usually can’t be seen because they break up into smaller pieces after passing through your pet’s digestive tract.
Understand the two basic types of tapeworms.
Tapeworms are parasites that can affect your dog. They live in the intestines and grow to be as long as 30 inches. There are two basic types of tapeworms:
- A common tapeworm, called a beef tapeworm (Taenia solium) and pork tapeworm (Taenia saginata), is picked up from eating raw meat or from contact with infected animals like cats.
- The other type of tapeworm, called a fish or seal worm (Diphyllobothrium latum), lives in fresh water fish and sea food such as salmon, halibut and whitefish.
Get a medical diagnosis.
The first step in treating your dog’s tapeworms is to get a medical diagnosis from your veterinarian. If you suspect that your dog has tapeworms, take him or her to the vet as soon as possible for treatment. The vet will ask for a stool sample and check for any other symptoms that might help diagnose the problem.
If your dog has been diagnosed with intestinal worms, ask what kind of medication was used to treat them and how often it should be given.
Get the proper treatment.
- Use proper treatment. If you can’t get an appointment with your vet and suspect that your dog has tapeworms, look for a dewormer online or at a pet store. Check the ingredients to make sure it’s safe for your dog. Follow the directions on how much to give them, and if it doesn’t appear to be working after several days, repeat the process again. You can also take your dog’s temperature if they start throwing up or seem sick—a high fever would indicate that they still have parasites in their system.
- Do another fecal test after treatment to make sure that all parasites are gone!
Once you get the right diagnosis, you can use one of a variety of over-the-counter and prescription treatments to eliminate tapeworms in your dog. Make sure you follow the dosage directions carefully and do not use any human medications on your dog. You may have to take repeated doses for up to 6 weeks after symptoms disappear in order to ensure that all tapeworm eggs are destroyed.