How to Diagnose and Treat Tapeworms in Dogs

How to Diagnose and Treat Tapeworms in Dogs

Dogs being infected with internal parasites like worms is very common unless you take precautionary measures to avoid your pet getting infected. Tapeworms are one such internal parasite which mostly attacks the intestine. These tiny parasites or worms live in your dog’s gut and can be deadly if not treated early. Being a dog parent, you must be aware of the early signs and symptoms so that your dog gets a timely diagnosis in case of such an infection.

How do dogs get worms?

Worms such as tapeworms use a host (usually a flea) to pass onto a dog and start infecting it. When the tapeworm eggs are formed, flea larva ingests it. The tapeworm continues to develop inside the larval flea. As the flea matures into an adult flea, the tapeworm survives within the flea and waits for its prey. In response to a flea bite, or during grooming, if dogs ingest the tapeworm infected flea, the flea gets digested in the dog’s intestine and releases the tapeworm. This flat, segmented, intestinal parasite, the tapeworm then hatches, and anchors itself to the intestinal lining, therefore completing the life cycle. Tapeworms can sometimes spread through food that a dog consumes if the meat that a dog is fed is not adequately cooked to kill any pathogens present.

What does a tapeworm look like?

Tapeworms are flat and look a bit like ribbons. Their bodies are made up of segments, and each segment is about the size of a grain of rice. The tapeworm’s hook-like sucker mouth attaches to the walls of the dog’s gut or small intestine, where it continues to feed and grow. The tapeworm keeps growing and forms individual segments called proglottids. As the adult matures, these proglottids are passed in the feces of an infected dog.

How to identify tapeworms in dogs?

Of all the internal and external parasites a dog can get, the tapeworm is known to be one of the easiest to identify and treat. Tapeworm might make your pet uncomfortable but it generally does not cause very serious or harmful effects if the issue is diagnosed and treated early.  Be sure to look out for these early warning signs and symptoms of Tapeworm infection in dogs which includes worm segments in your dog’s feces or bedding, scooting on their bottom, vomiting, and weight loss.

Symptoms of worms in dogs

  • Bloody stools
  • Weight loss
  • A change in appetite
  • A rough, dry fur coat
  • Scooting on his bottom
  • Vomiting
  • An overall poor appearance

What are some remedies to cure tapeworms?

The best way to diagnose a tapeworm problem in dogs is with a visit to the vet. Treatment depends on which type of worm your dog has, but generally includes an oral medication and may require follow-up. Don’t try treating worms yourself: A medication that kills roundworms, for example, doesn’t kill tapeworms.

Tapeworm infection is easy to cure. You Vet might give you all necessary medicines or chewable tablets for dogs that help to kill the worms lurking in your pet’s gut. But always remember, prevention is better than cure. There are a lot of steps you can take to keep your dog healthy and safe from all kinds of worms. The best way is to maintain a regular flea treatment schedule, using oral medication or a spot-on or collar. Ensure that your dog does not roam around unsupervised, hunts rodents or rabbits, does not scavenge from dead livestock and does not eat faeces.

Another important step towards keeping your fur baby healthy and happy is flea control. It is critical to manage and prevent tapeworm infection by using flea control which involves treating the dog and its environment. To know what is the perfect and most suitable way to keep your dog flea-free, visit your doctor. Your veterinarian will recommend a safe and effective flea control for your pet.

Home remedies to get rid of tapeworms in dogs

Diagnosing and treating tapeworms in dogs is not difficult. Usually, the dog’s stool sample is checked for tapeworms. The vet will accordingly prescribe worm medication, but you can also try some of the following home remedies.

Garlic: Garlic is one of the best ingredients to treat tapeworms in dogs. The volatile oils and sulfur compounds found in garlic helps eliminate the tapeworms. Add garlic powder to your dog’s food for two to three weeks and you will see a remarkable improvement.

Pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds are also a very effective cure for tapeworms. Grind up raw pumpkin seeds and feed them to your dog before every meal. Depending on the size of your dog, you can feed him anywhere between 1 to 1/4 teaspoon of pumpkin seeds.

Wheat germ oil: Add 1 teaspoon of wheat germ oil to your dog’s meal.

Note: Home remedies are not in any way a replacement for consulting a vet, ensure that you consult your veterinarian immediately in case you suspect a tapeworm infection.

Do you find this information useful? For more medical advice, visit the VOSD website.