Unfortunately, they are quite common. They are so common, in fact, that many pet owners will have to deal with a tapeworm at some point in their pet’s life.
What Causes Tapeworms in Dogs and Cats?
Have you seen worms in cats that look like rice? These are tapeworms. They are caused by eating an infected host. This can mean a cat eating a rodent that is carrying them or a dog consuming an adult flea.
Similar to tapeworms in humans, they are flatworms that thrive inside of the intestines. It is important to treat them immediately because it is possible to pass along the tapeworm from a pet to a human. Eating undercooked meat can also be a cause of tapeworms.
How Do I Know If My Pet Has Tapeworms?
If you suspect that your pet might be dealing with tapeworms, there are some signs and symptoms you should look for. These include:
- Dried, broken segments of cream or white-colored pieces just under the tail
- Cucumber or sesame seed-like appearances in the animal’s feces
- Biting or licking the anus due to irritation
- Severe itching that causes your pet to drag their bottom across the floor to alleviate it
- Weight loss due to nutrient depletion
- Vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation can also be a symptom
Tapeworm Symptoms in Dogs
Tapeworm symptoms in dogs are similar to tapeworm symptoms in cats, although there can be some slight variations.
With tapeworms in dogs, the symptoms are far more physical in terms of the way their body reacts. They tend to drag their bottom across the floor and lick or bite at their anus profusely. If you are noticing this type of behavior in your dog, it’s best to be on the lookout for a tapeworm. Your vet will likely ask you to bring in a fecal sample to be tested.
Symptoms of Tapeworms in Cats
A tapeworm in cats can have more subtle symptoms. Cats tend to lose weight because the tapeworm is depleting their nutrients as it feeds off of the host. Consistently vomiting can be another sign, along with either constipation or diarrhea. Both extremes can be a symptom.
The sign that is similar in both dogs and cats is the physical appearance of remnants of the tapeworm outside of the rectal area. Segments near their tail or anus can appear. The length of the tapeworm can grow to be up to two feet long. If you see these types of signs, it’s important to learn how to get rid of tapeworms in cats.
How to Treat Tapeworms in Dogs
Tapeworm treatment for dogs can vary, but it is essential to know where to start. There are several different options you can try. These treatment options include:
- Prescription Medication
Praziquantel is a medication that orally treats tapeworms. It can also be injected. It will assist in the dissolving of the tapeworm from within the intestinal wall. The best part of this medication is that there are very few side effects.
- Over-the-Counter Medication
Chewables can be an effective way of eliminating tapeworms. Granules that can be sprinkled over your pet’s food can subtly medicate a pet that is not being cooperative with tablets. The benefit of these types of medications is that they can also treat other forms of worms. These include whipworm, hookworm, roundworm, and tapeworm.
- Natural Remedies
Garlic contains volatile oils and sulfur compounds that help alleviate tapeworms. Pumpkin seeds, Oregon grape, and wheat germ oil are all supposed to be effective in the battle to eliminate tapeworms, as well.
Best Products for Dog Tapeworms
Now that you know how to get rid of tapeworms, here are some of the best products you can turn to for help:
- Praziquantel (prescription medication)
- Chewables and Tablets (over the counter medicines)
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Oregon Grape
- Wheat Germ Oil
Tapeworms in dog poop will be a thing of the past with one of these competent remedies. The route you choose to go depends on what you and your vet decide is best for your particular pet.
Natural Tapeworm Treatment for Dogs
Garlic powder can be mixed with your dog’s regular food. Be sure only to use ⅛ of a teaspoon per pound of food, though. Too much garlic can be toxic for dogs. In order to see results, you will want to do this three to four times per week for about two to three weeks.
You can also grind up ¼ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon (depending on your dog’s size) of pumpkin seeds. They can be given to your dog before their meal as a treat. Another option is 1 teaspoon of wheat germ oil to our dog’s food or six drops of Oregon grape juice per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight. You will do this twice per day to get rid of the tapeworm.
How to Treat Tapeworms in Cats
How to treat tapeworms in cats can be tricky, but it is certainly not impossible. You can easily learn how to deworm a cat if you follow the steps below for over the counter and home remedies.
Best Over the Counter Cat Dewormers
The best dewormer is going to include over the counter worm medicine for cats. Some good choices are as follows:
- HomeoPet WRM Clear Dewormer
- ProSense Liquid Roundworm Dewormer
- Bayer Drontal Broad Spectrum Dewormer
- ProSense Liquid Roundworm Dewormer
- Bayer Tapeworm Dewormer
While these are certainly some of the best over the counter cat dewormer medications out there, you will still want to consult your vet to be certain you are making the right choice for your individual feline friend.
Home Remedies for Worms in Cats
There are some tried and true home remedies for worms in cats that might be good options for you to try. Here are a few of them:
- Pumpkin Seeds
Just like dogs, pumpkin seeds are an excellent home remedy for eliminating nasty tapeworms that are using your furry feline as a host.
- Parsley Water
You can make something similar to a homemade tea that will act as a natural diuretic for your cat. It contains nutrients and antioxidants that can help repair their digestive system after the havoc that has been caused by the tapeworm.
Just remember, it’s important to find the right cat dewormer for your particular kitty. Not everything works for every cat in every situation.
When Should You See a Vet?
If you are not sure if it is a tapeworm, you should see your vet in order to have testing done. This way, you will know exactly what the issue is and can eliminate all of the other options. The last thing you want to do is treat your pet for a problem that doesn’t exist. On top of that, even if it is a tapeworm, your vet can help guide you toward the best method for your fur baby.
How to Prevent Tapeworms in Dogs and Cats
The best way to deal with tapeworms is to avoid them ahead of time. Give your pet a regular dose of preventative flea and tick medication. Do your best to reduce their access to rodents by using spray and traps around the house. Make sure litter boxes stay clean and never give your pet undercooked meat. These simple tips can save you from the hassle of a nasty tapeworm.