Dog Tapeworm Treatment, Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

The dog tapeworm is a common parasite that makes its home in the intestines of canines. Tapeworms in dogs are flat with hook-like mechanisms on their mouth that allow them to attach to the pet’s intestinal wall. As you can see from the dog tapeworm picture, the canine tapeworm is made up of many small segments continually being developed from the head

that is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in length, allowing the parasite to grow up to 8 inches long.

As the segments mature, they eventually fall off and are passed through faeces when the dog defecates. A tapeworm in dog poop looks like a small grain of white rice, and it may also be seen moving in the hair near the dog’s anus. The passed tapeworm segment contains fertilized eggs that are released into the environment.

Though it is not as harmful to your pet as other types of worms, a dog tapeworm treatment should be used to rid the animal of the parasite as they steal some of the dog’s nutrients and can grow large enough to block the intestines.

How Your Pet Gets a Dog Tapeworm

Tapeworms in dogs can not develop due to the dog eating tapeworm eggs; they must be passed to the animal through an intermediate host, typically a flea. Immature fleas in the larvae stage will swallow the tapeworm’s egg in dog poop, in the pet’s bedding, household carpeting, or elsewhere in the environment. The egg will eventually develop into an infectious tapeworm when the flea matures to an adult. The dog will then typically ingest the flea in response to a flea bite or during grooming. Once inside a more suitable host, the canine tapeworm will attach itself to the animal’s intestine, and the lifecycle of the tapeworm starts over again. Effective dog tapeworm treatment will require a good flea control and prevention plan. To learn more about proper dog flea control, check out our post on getting rid of dog fleas.

Dog Tapeworm Symptoms

It’s very common for a dog to have a tapeworm without the owner realizing it, as its symptoms are generally subtle. The tapeworms can grow quite large and obstruct the intestines causing constipation. Additional dog tapeworm symptoms can include a change in appetite, digestive problems, deterioration of animals’ coats, and abdominal pains. The dog may also rub its behind on the ground to get rid of tapeworm segments in the hair near the anus, but they often do the same thing for impacted anal sacs, so it isn’t a definite indication of a canine tapeworm.

Diagnosing Tapeworms in Dogs


Diagnosis for tapeworms in canines is usually made by looking for the small, white rice-shaped segments of the tapeworm in dog poop or around the anus of the pet. The tapeworm segments only break off periodically, so frequent inspections for tapeworm in dog poop may need to be performed. If found, you should take a stool sample containing the canine tapeworm segments to a veterinarian to confirm that it is indeed a dog tapeworm. If verified, a suitable dog tapeworm treatment plan can be put in place.

Dog Tapeworm Treatment

Many effective dog tapeworm treatments consist of both conventional medications and natural dog tapeworm remedies to help get rid of dog tapeworms. Veterinarians will often prescribe Praziquantel, a drug that dissolves the canine tapeworm within the intestine. As a result, it won’t be found in the animal’s stool. If used correctly, it is a very effective dog tapeworm treatment. The only side effects are nausea, and if overused, there’s a possibility that it could be harmful to the pet’s immune system, but these side effects are rarely seen. One treatment is usually enough to get rid of dog tapeworms.

Natural Dog Tapeworm Remedies

Many dog owners prefer to use safe and effective natural dog tapeworm remedies to ensure their pet doesn’t suffer any adverse side effects. Several herbal ingredients have been proven to treat and prevent canine tapeworm infestations. Herbs such as Ruta graveolens and Wormwood are often used in these dog tapeworm remedies to promote overall digestive health while cleansing the digestive system. Other herbal ingredients such as Neem and Cloves are often used in these remedies as natural parasite repellants.

Preventing Tapeworms in Dogs

It is crucial to get rid of dog fleas both on your pet and in the surrounding environment to prevent recurring problems with tapeworms in canines. Fleas can be problematic to control, but keeping the home free of fleas will greatly reduce the chances of further canine tapeworm problems. For more information on getting rid of fleas, see our post on dog flea control.