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Tapeworms in dogs. Symptoms and Treatment 




What are Tapeworms?

Tapeworms are a parasite that are found in the small intestine of dogs. The most common tapeworm found in dogs is the Dipylidium Caninum.  They are flat and segmented, white in colour and can grow up to 20cm long. They attach themselves to the dog's intestine by their hook like mouth.

How does a dog get tapeworms?

  • The tapeworm cycle begins with the flea larvae eating fecal matter that contains tapeworm eggs.

  • The eggs hatch inside the flea and become cysticercoids.

  • A dog may then swallow a flea that contains these cysticercoids while chewing or biting at an itchy area on it's skin.

  • Once the flea passes into the dog's intestine the flea is broken down and the cysticercoids develop into an adult tapeworm.

  • The tapeworm attaches itself to the lining of the intestine and feeds off the nutrients.

  • As the tapeworm matures the tail segments drops off. These segments are mobile. Each segment contains the eggs of the tapeworm. The egg packets are passed in the feces of the dog.

  • The eggs are then ingested by the flea larvae

The most common areas that tapeworm eggs are found are in the dog's bedding and in your carpet.

Dogs can also acquire tapeworms by eating infected rodents or lizards.


How do I know my dog has tapeworms?

You can often see the dried sections of tapeworm around the dogs anus. They resemble rice grains.

Dogs will often scoot around on their rear end due to the irritation.

You may see the moving segments of tapeworm in the dog's poop.

Your vet may examine a smear from your dogs anus under a microscope.

How to treat tapeworms in my dog?

Treatment is simple and in most cases extremely effective. Your dog will be given a drug that kills tapeworm and doesn't cause side effects. Tapeworm tablets can be purchased from your vet.

Droncit, Cestex, Drontal, Drontal Plus, Telmintic, and Vercom Paste are highly effective against all the common dog tapeworms. Use them under veterinary guidance.

How can I prevent tapeworms in my dog

A regular de-worming regime (see above) is important and also equally important is an effective flea control regime. Read our How to get rid of Fleas article.


Can I or my children get infected with tapeworms?

Humans can become infected with the tapeworm Dipylidium Caninum but it is rare.
Tapeworm Infection in Humans is not usually spread by dogs. For more information read this article Can Humans Catch Worms from Dogs?




This article has not been written by a veterinarian & should not be considered a replacement for a veterinarian visit. The articles are provided for informative purposes only. While great care has been made in the creation of these articles, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or omissions on these pages. If in any doubt whatsoever, seek professional medical advice from your veterinarian.

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