Parasites are nasty little creatures that can infect dogs in the same way as humans. One such parasite is a worm; a common problem dog owners must face. Fortunately, HolistaPet is here with some home remedies for worms that may help your furry friend. We specialize in pet health and wellness by providing information and access to some of the healthiest dog products around.
Tapeworms are not deadly, but an infestation can lead to weight loss in your pup. That is because tapeworms feed in your pup's intestines, latching on and sucking out nutrients. Tapeworms may cause your pup to vomit or produce stool with little wriggling worm pieces in them. Different worms may infect your pup, but tapeworms are the most common because they typically come from fleas. Let's take a closer look at tapeworms in dogs and how you can get rid of them!
What Are Tapeworms?
Tapeworms are intestinal parasites. They are flat, segmented worms, differentiating them from hookworms, whipworms, and roundworms. The most prevalent tapeworm species is Dipylidium Caninum. Almost all animals can be infested with tapeworms. The medical term for a tapeworm infestation is Cestodiasis. Tapeworms are not very dangerous, but they can cause weight loss in dogs if the infestation gets to be extreme.
This parasitic flatworm lives in the intestines. The many segments of its body, called proglottids, are about the size of a grain of rice. A full reproductive system is in each segment, and a tapeworm can be made of over a hundred segments. As the segments break off, they can cause further infestation or pass in your pup's feces, which will, in turn, infest other animals.
Different Types of Stomach Worms
Hookworm, whipworm, and roundworm are also common parasites, but they have different features. Hookworms are very small (roughly 1/8 to ¾ inch long) and have a hook that fastens to the pup's intestinal lining. Hookworms suck blood and may cause anemia in dogs, especially small puppies.
Whipworms are roughly 2 inches long and are tapered at one end, like a whip. Roundworms look like spaghetti and vary in length. Tapeworms differ in their physical composition and are easier to spot. Unlike the other parasites mentioned above, tapeworms are segmented and flat.
When researching your dog's stomach issues, you may come across something known as a pinworm infection. While some believe dogs can get this intestinal parasite, it is fortunately not true. Pinworm infections occur between humans, but your canine companion is safe from them!
Causes of Tapeworms in Dogs
Dogs typically get tapeworms from ingesting fleas. Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs, and if your pup is grooming itself, it may ingest an infected flea. Once your pup ingests the flea, the tapeworm eggs will position themselves in the intestines. The average tapeworm can grow to up to 8 inches in length.
Tapeworms feed of the nutrients being passed through your pup's intestines. Once fully mature, a tapeworm will lose segments to reproduce or spread. When a segment comes out in dog stool, it is usually ingested by the larva of fleas or other animals. If the flea larva eats the tapeworm segment, it will become a carrier of tapeworms. If another animal gets into the infected stool, it will then plague that creature with tapeworm eggs as well.
Symptoms of Tapeworms in Dogs
Owners can tell if their dog has worms by their pet's behavior or by looking at their pup's stool. A tapeworm can grow from 4 to 8 inches long, but owners typically won't see a fully mature one in their pup's stool. Infected dogs may scoot their butt across the ground the relieve itching and irritation from tapeworms near the anus. They may also lick and scratch at their anus frequently. In some cases, tapeworm segments can be seen protruding from the anus or around the area.
To determine the best home remedies for worms, owners should also be attentive to their pup's stool. We spend a decent amount of time cleaning up after our pets when we take them for walks; this is the perfect time to take a closer look. Stools with tiny white or yellow worms, or stools with small white specs, are signs of tapeworm infestation. In some cases, the tapeworm segments dry out and become stuck to your pup's fur after they are excreted.
Sometimes, when a tapeworm sheds long segments, it can cause pups to vomit. If you spot small worms in your dog's vomit, that is a sign of tapeworm infestation. In cases of heavy tapeworm infection, your pup may lose weight. Tapeworms are not deadly but are still nasty parasites that can trouble your dog.
Prevention of Tapeworms in Dogs
Preventing tapeworms is very simple. Since fleas are the main cause of tapeworms, making sure your pup doesn't get them is key. Clean your dog regularly and utilize flea spray. Make sure to treat your dog with seasonal flea preventatives, including flea collars, powders, oral medication, or topical liquids. If your pup does have fleas, sometimes it is safest to practice de-worming procedures just in case.
Many vets have de-worming plans for pups to keep their immune systems healthy. Probiotics are always recommended to improve the overall health of dogs. Although Probiotics may not prevent tapeworms outright, they will help to keep your pup healthy.
Owners should be attentive when taking their pups to parks or out on walks. Ensure your dog isn't ingesting animal feces and is not rolling around in anything nasty. If you have a pup that enjoys being outside more often than inside, inspect your pet thoroughly for fleas upon return to the indoors. Make sure to clean up after your dog on walks to help promote the health of other pups.
While it is very rare, humans can get tapeworms from their pets. If a human swallows an infected flea, tapeworms will begin to thrive in your intestines. This happens to children more often than adults because they are more likely to play in the grass and dirt where animal feces are present. Ensure to wash your hands and your children's hands thoroughly after outside activities or playing with animals. Keep your dog away from animal carcasses and garbage, which may be infested with fleas or other bugs carrying parasite eggs.
Home Remedies for Tapeworms
Owners should contact their vet before adding anything to their pet’s diet. Since tapeworms are parasites, several effective home remedies for worms can flush them out and destroy them.
The most popular home remedy for tapeworms in dogs is garlic. Although the properties of garlic can destroy tapeworms, it can be toxic to pups in large doses. Use 1 clove or 1 teaspoon of chopped raw organic garlic per 30 lbs of weight. If your pup is under 30lbs, garlic may be too toxic to mix into the diet.
Pumpkin seeds are another natural home remedy for tapeworms in dogs. Owners can grind raw organic pumpkin seeds and feed them to their pup. Depending on the size of your dog, owners can crush up between 1/4 teaspoon (small dogs) and 1 teaspoon (large dogs) of pumpkin seeds.
Researchers believe that an amino acid in pumpkin seeds called cucurbitacin paralyzes tapeworms, forcing them to lose their grip in the intestine. Similarly, the papain enzyme in papaya seeds can help your furry friend get rid of intestinal parasites.
Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat germ oil is yet another home remedy for tapeworms in dogs. Owners can add 1 teaspoon of wheat germ oil to their pup's meal. Continue this process until you notice that the symptoms have disappeared.
Oregon grape tincture seeds can also be effective. Greens, fennel, raw carrots, watercress, squash, papaya, and pumpkin will help make the environment for tapeworms less attractive to the parasites. Mixing these ingredients into daily meals is a great preventative measure, but it wouldn't hurt to add them to your dog's diet while they are infested as well.
Speaking of carrots, we recommend giving them to your pup on an empty stomach early in the morning. Not only will this help your dog with its stomach worms, but carrots also come with many health benefits!
There are several over-the-counter medicines at pet stores you can use to treat intestinal worms. Using these medicines typically destroys the worms, and owners will not see their remains in their pup’s feces. Over-the-counter tapeworm drugs are the most common method owners use to flush out and kill the parasites.
Final Thoughts - Home Remedies for Worms
Although tapeworms may seem like a scary ailment, rest assured there are home remedies for worms that work. Owners all over the globe have praised garlic, pumpkin seeds, Oregon grape tincture seeds, and wheat germ oil for their ability to cure their pets. If home remedies are not working for you, please contact your vet. Symptoms for parasites can vary or appear similar, and you want to make sure you're employing the proper techniques to help your pup's health.
Remember, keeping your dog clean and away from other animals' feces will go a long way in preventing parasites from finding a home in your pup's tummy. Make sure to stay up to date with all your pup's flea medications, and if your pet does get fleas, get that issue resolved immediately. Pups with fleas exponentially increase the risk of getting parasites. While you're here why not view some more home remedies for dogs or check out our products on our shop page.