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Removing the Dreaded Tapeworm in Dogs

We have found that fleas and tapeworms go hand-in-hand as they dance down the merry lane to some pretty intensive itching and misery for dogs—unless controlled immediately and routinely by the owner. If you see your dog scooting on their butt across the living room rug with their rear legs stuck straight out in the air, there is a chance they have worms. It stands to reason that the more scooting they are dong, the more it itches with the numbers of worms increasing inside.

Any dogs that live directly on the ground have an excellent chance of having tapeworm-infected fleas on them, which leads to tapeworms inside the dog’s bowels.


The rice-looking particles of tapeworm are just small pieces of segments of the entire tapeworm inside the dog, hooked to the intestinal walls with hooks and suckers which hold its head to the gut area. The worm can grow to incredible lengths if left untreated, known to be as long as 26 feet in beef or up to 100 feet in other invertebrates.

A class of parasitic flatworms, the tapeworms live in the digestive tract of all vertebrates, including humans. Referred to as the “Diphylidium caninum” in dogs, fleas and lice are its intermediate hosts when ingesting the eggs, thereby becoming infected themselves. How a human would be able to obtain this type of tapeworm is if they would accidentally swallow an infected flea through their hands.

What is passed through the rectum inside the feces are tapeworm segments about 1/4 of an inch long, able to move independently from the worm’s head inside the animal’s gut. These little moving segments are what causes the dog or other vertebrates to have intense itching in the anal area.


In addition to the common tapeworm in dogs, or the “Diphylidium caninum”, there are other types. “Taenia” consists of several tapeworm species in dogs, acquired by eating infected sheep, rabbits or rodents. If  the dog is able to obtain fish-parts, they may obtain the “Diphyllobothrium” tapeworm species from fish organs, which are found in the northern part of the  United States and Canada.

Another type of tapeworm is the “Echinococcus” tapeworm, which is typically uncommon in dogs. The intermediate hosts are not fleas or lice but deer, elk, goats, sheep, cattle, swine, horses…along with a few rodents.


The main prevention that works best is to keep the dogs flea and lice free.  They should also be kept from roaming unattended without owner supervision. Otherwise, they have a tendency to eat dead animals which may have  fleas, lice or rodents that are infected with the tapeworms. Many dogs also eat animal feces, with the same results. Quite a few veterinarians suggest to avoid consuming uncooked raw game and raw meats or giving it to the dogs, which is controversial to the raw food diet many dog owners advocate.


The “Echinococcus granulosa” infection is becoming a public health consideration, obtained from eating contaminated uncooked meat. Dogs get it from feeding on the dead carcass of an infected animal. When handling dog feces from the infected dog, humans can acquire the disease from cleaning up after their dogs without using plastic gloves or disposing properly of the feces, and failing to wash their hands immediately afterwards.

The eggs are then ingested through the human’s mouth, with larvae producing large cysts in the body’s liver, lungs and brain—called “hydatids”. They are known to cause serious illness and death to people who have obtained the disease. The few cases which are reported are located in the southern, southwestern, and western parts of the United States. Dogs who live in these areas should have their stools checked twice a year for this type of tapeworms.

This particular tapeworm can be identified “ONLY” by removing the worm’s head through very effective deworming of the dog.


Commercial Tapeworm Treatments

Some excellent commercial treatments are Droncit, Cestex, and  Drontal Plus Allwormer for common types of tapeworms under veterinary guidance. Most vets suggest worming with an all-round wormer four times a year to twice a year, depending on the dog’s situation and condition.

Over the years, we have used Drontal Plus Allwormer or Happy Jack Tapeworm Tablets (under $20):

Drontal Plus for dogs is a good overall wormer as it removes all common canine intestinal worms—such as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms and tapeworms. This dewormer product can be used safely on puppies from three weeks of age and 2 lbs in weight.Their prices for dogs range from $4.95 per tablet with one tablet used for a small dog; a medium sized dog would require a pill for $10.95; large dogs would require a pill for $18.95.

For tapeworm alone we use Happy Jack’s Tapeworm Tablets with 30 tablets for 300 pounds of dogs (one tablet for 10# dog/2.5 tablets for a 25# dog) which is under $20 a bottle at the local feed stores.

Natural Tapeworm Treatments

There are many natural products available anymore without chemicals or preservatives for tapeworm removal. Once such product is HomeoPet  Wrm Clear –”HomeoPet Wrm Clear is a 100% natural and fast acting liquid homeopathic product formulated for removal of hook, round and tapeworms. It helps prevent infestations by reducing susceptibility. Wrm Clear is easy to administer by dosing into either water or directly into the mouth. This product has no added chemicals and is a gentle, safer alternative to most wormers.” We offer to reviews for this product, one a so-so by a vet and the other is five stars for a woman’s cat:

Vet  Review:

When it comes to overgrowth of intestinal parasites, however, I have not found combination homeopathic remedies like this effective in most pets. Susceptibility to hookworms, roundworms and tapeworms is an individual issue, and homeopathic remedies are best prescribed on a case by case basis by an experienced veterinary homeopath , based on the unique and total symptom picture of an individual pet. And in those cases a single homeopathic remedy is prescribed to address this chronic weakness. When combination of remedies are combined in a product like this, most of the time the individuality of the patient is not taken into account, which is why such combination products typically fail when looked at across a large group of pets. While an occasional individual may respond, I have found that most pets don’t, and that simply deworming a pet with a broad acting wormer like Pyrantel or Panacure C is usually safe and more effective. I give this product an overall rating of a 2 with an efficacy a 2, taste a 4. (out of a 1-5 star rating)

Another Review:

My cats seem to get worms once a year as soon as fleas are on the scene…. I have tried many remedies, they won’t eat the pills, in the food, in the mouth, anyway you do it. All other liquid formulas have a smell and/or a taste and they won’t eat that either. This works, and they don’t hesitate to eat their food (I put it on a small amount of wet food). It’s all natural, I don’t worry about what I am giving them, and like I said, it works.(5 out of a 5 star rating)

Foods for Tapeworm Control

Things like garlic (fresh or powdered, aged garlic extract or a garlic tincture made of garlic/cider vinegar), cayenne pepper, grapefruit seed, or pumpkin seed are things that tapeworms prefer not to be around.

The garlic removes the layer of protection in the intestinal area, which makes the tapeworms uncomfortable in the prescence of roughage (such as pumpkin or grapefruit seeds which are processed) or other sharp irritants.

An advisable dosage is 1/8 tsp per day per 10-15 pounds of a dog’s weight. Irritants such  diatomaceous earth, grated carrots, greens, sweet potatoes or pumpkin should be used in small quantities at first. Then after about 2 weeks you can increase their amount slightly,  and wait for about two weeks again before readjusting.  This way their digestive tracts will have time to adjust to the new foods.

If adding insoluble fiber to the mixture (such as wheat bran), soak the bran in water before adding it to the mixture, using just a pinch for small dogs and 1/8 tsp per 10 pounds. This is an excellent irritant for worms while also sweeping out the intestines. Feed the bran only for a couple days per month then discontinue, replacing with raw vegetables to do the same purpose.

An excellent food for dogs and cat are figs and papayas, which digest the outer coating of the intestinal worms. They should not be mixed with foods, but giving it separately as a treat so they can work independently in the animal’s body. If feeding dried figs, soak them one hour in water before feeding.


>> Read more about how to get rid of dog worms here…


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  • Pet Beds

    May I know what are the symptoms if my dog has a Dreaded Tapeworm? I’m just worried about my pet’s attitude these past few days. please email me back.

  • Nancy Houser

    The first symptom a pet owner will have is to be able to see the dried sections of tapeworm around the dogs anus with some moving around the area. They resemble rice grains or tiny little maggots.

    Another big sign is having the dog scoot around on their rear end due to the irritation. Once a dog toilets, you will be able to see the tiny segments of worm in their feces. If you see them, you can take the feces to the vet for testing under the microscope for a definite diagnosis. You know if you see them around the anal area they are loaded inside.

  • Graciel Phillips

    my 20lbs beagle has tapeworms, it looks like a big infestation, I had found the dried worms everywhere in my house and they still keep on coming from his rear!!!
    since the humane society was closed on saturday, my husband bought VERMOX100mg, it cames 6 pills on it..I gave half the pill to my it safe to give him this human medication for thiese worms?? Now I am very worry..Please advice if I should continue giving him the rest of the pills, and if I do..should i give him the the rest of the pills? like I said, in the box comes 6 pills of 100mg., I was planning in giving him half a pill everyday, since it doesnt indicate in the box about the dosage .
    Please help me..
    Thank you.
    Graciel Phillips.

    • Nancy Houser

      I would not give him the rest of the pills until advised from a vet as it is not a dog medicine. You should be able to take him to the vet and have him tested for tapeworms first. DO NOT give him the remainder of the pills. On dog tapeworm medication, typically one pill is prescribed for every ten pounds, which is give only once a month to once every three months depending on the amount of infestation. You really need to take him into the vet to see if this human medication has done him any damage.

  • Rick

    I noticed the tapeworms in my Shiatsus’ stool and around his rear recently. I plan to go buy some treatment medication today; however, I am worried because we also have a small dog that is about 7 months old. For the life of me, I cannot spell his breed and Mic. Word can’t pick up on it, but he is a “small, ankle biting, hyperactive little Mexican dog”. That should tell you what he is!!! Is he already infected or should I treat him anyway even if I don’t see any signs yet?


    • Nancy Houser


      I think you are referring to the little Chihuahua? :) And yes, all dogs who live together should be treated, in addition thoroughly cleaning the bedding and carpeting. Remember to follow up as the directions say, as the worms will rehatch again and again until under control.


      • Tina

        Hello. I have been searching on-line about worms and found here. I have been finding thin rice like things around one of my dog’s butt and back legs. The ones I found before were dried, so I took it and through away, but the one that fell off today was moving, and I thought they are worms. I thought it could be any worms: hookworms, roundworms, whipworms etc. However from what I read here, I started wonder if they are tapewarms. I am hoping to take her to a vet, and my other dog hopefully tomorrow. I think vet can help about the dogs. What can I do for the room(one with the worm and other dog is inside dog)?I could I clean carpets, lugs and things in the room to kill them and prevent them? Do I have to go to doctor to get checked too? I will be flying overseas in half years or a year with dogs, so I would not want to take risk to wait to get worms to get worse and found later. Thank you so much.

        • Nancy Houser

          Tina….take your dogs to the vet and have them placed on a routine worming schedule until you leave for overseas. This is not a major worm but extremely annoying. The hookworms are so much worse. As far as yourself, just call your doctor and see what they say. I do know there is over the counter wormer for people, but check with your doctor first. He may want to do a fecal sample. And then again, he may not. Good luck.

          • Tina

            Thank you, Nancy. I took dogs to a vet next morning.

          • Nancy Houser

            Let me know, Tina, how they are doing. Okay? Wish you luck.

  • Rick

    Oh yeah, I had one more question, is it necessary for me to treat my carpets, the dogs bedding or our beds?


  • kiely

    My 2 month old husky has tapeworms and i need to knoe how much money it would cost to get her de-wormed!It was only today that i found a worm in its feces,and im very worried for my 2 little pomeranians if they will get it!

    • Nancy Houser

      It costs the price of a visit and to buy the tapeworm medicine. The vet appointment is necessary as you want to make sure what type of worm it is, as it can be several. PetSmart and such places have vets there or call a nearby vet. The tapeworm med is not too high….but you will need to treat all dogs in the household, retreating in about three weeks again when the eggs hatch out.

  • Rick

    Thank you so much for your advice, and spelling Chihuahua for me. HA!!! I did go out and buy some tapeworm medication that day and immediately began treating my Shiatsus, Sparkey; however, it was unsuccessful in controlling them. My wife will be taking him and Buddy, the Chihuahua, to the Veterinarian today. We will also be ridding the house of them. We have a busy day ahead of us.
    I have one more question for you. We have had Sparkey for 13, almost 14 years, and have never had any problems before. Can you explain what may have brought this on now? We were wondering if it had anything to do with Buddy, who is only 8 months old? Thank you again and I will be looking for you on the Web.

  • Nancy Houser

    Most dogs who are on the ground have a pretty good chance of getting worms because of a “cat flea” which uses both cats and dogs as a host, who has moved into the neighborhood. Tapeworms do not go from dog to dog, even though all dogs in the household should be treated. This is because if one dog has the cat flea from the ground area, the other one will. The best bet is to routinely treat the dog throughout the year with Frontline, Advantage or Advantix in spring, summer and even early fall– as well as have stool sample checked yearly by the Vet to look for newly arriving tapeworm eggs.

    Best of luck,

  • Rick

    We made our trip to the Vet. this morning and it WAS a trip. Buddy was awful; however, we managed to get everything done. Sparkey did have tapeworms and she treated him for that. I know he’s going to feel better very soon. While we were there, our Vet noticed that Sparkey is somewhat pot bellied and asked us some questions. The Dr. wants to test him for a disease called Hyperackenocorticism, better known as Cushing’s disease. She said that it is common in Shiatsus. Go Figure!!!!!!! We will be taking him back next week to be tested and probably treated for it. Wish us luck. Thanks again.

    • Nancy Houser

      Rick….we just did an article on Cushing’s Disease in dogs. What a coincidence! Has Sparkey ever been on the hormone Prednisone? You may want to check up on the article, as it does refer to a natural supplement many people are using called Supraglan. Glad your two buddies are doing better and part of your battle is over!!!

      Supraglan–A Cure for Cushing’s Disease in Dogs?

  • Rick

    Hey Nancy,
    By the way, my wife of 30 years is named Nancy. I refer to her as Nan, so you have a great name!!!! Sparkey has never been on much of anything actually, other than what he had to have when he was neutered. Thanks for the heads up on the article about Supraglan. I will look more into it once we know for sure that is what we are actually dealing with. After Nan and I talked about it, we realized that he only has a couple of the symptoms listed. The thirstiness and urinating, and these symptoms are not new to him. He has always been that way. We will know soon enough though. I promise to keep you informed. By the way, I signed up for your newsletter. I’m looking forward to it. Keep up the good work….

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  • danny

    i have a 10wk old puppy brought to the vet got shots and dewormer cause she has tapeworms its be over three weeks it doesnt look like they are going away at all they gave her the dwormer and gave me one to give her 2 weeks later i called three times and they said give it time i think im going to pets mart to get dewormer myself!!! or what should i do PLZZZZZZ HELP i feel bad cause shes locked up all the time i have three toddlers dont want them to catch them

    • WayCoolDogs

      I am assuming the shots were traditional puppy shots? Tapeworms can only by vet dewormer or 3-days of panacur (the dosage depends on the weight of the puppy). If you have already given her a wormer medicine for tapeworms from the vet, it would be harmful to take her to PetsMart to worm her again….she could die unless you take the vet copy of her shots to PetsMart. Do not keep her locked up all the time as the worms in her feces will attach to her feet, get in her water or food, and the tapeworms will continue to remain in her system, preventing her from getting better. Take her outside to toilet and pick it up with a paper towel. If she toilets in the house, as she is a baby, pick it up in the same way and disinfect the area.

      • danny

        yes traditional puppy shots…she doesnt go in her kennel she waits till i take her out to potty and beleive me i dont wanna keep her locked up but i have no choice so i went to pets mart today and bought -Worm Combo Broad Spectrum Puppy and gave her half of a tablet i do clean her kennel daily and her food and water isnt in her kennel so i got the deowrmer flea meds which she doesnt have fleas and some cleaner for inside and outside to kill worms and fleas so i pray to god this works so my lil bentleigh can sleep with me thanks

  • Terry

    I have not had issues with tape worm before.Then we relocated to where fleas are abundant.My pekinese ate an infested flea and contracted tape worms.I noticed the little pieces near his rectum and on the lowest part of his spine around base of his tail.I had permaguard food grade diatomacious earth ( shell flour)i began putting it in his food he weighs 12 lbs and I started him out with 1 tsp worked him up to 2 tsp a day in his breakfast( wet) I wash our l beds linens and their bed linens every day for the first week.Covered everything they sit on( treating all pets in the house) with spare sheets then wash them every other day after the first week.Bathed all pets and applied DE on the outside of them as well for the first week.Now I’m just bathing just the infected dog(soapless dog shampoo )with oatmeal 2-3 times a week.his hair is getting less brittle and I’m seeing much less tapeworms pieces on his back side And none in his stools the blood in stools Became less and less and stopped after one week.Now stools are normal and I’m changing covers every 3 or 4 days and have just kept their beds up till the tiny almost microscopic tape worm pieces are no longer visible.i use a magnify glass to inspect the feces and the tape worm pieces.You must stay on top of this tapeworm project as it makes your dogs health Slowly deteriorate.I also give them probiotics to help the intestines and colon.We do not have carpet otherwise that would have been much more work.note do not get the DE in yours or their eyes as it dries them out.Do not breath it in.It is not harmful,all natural.go to,Diatomaceuos Earth and it is a great resource website for dosage and weights… not give them just any needs to be the pure permaguard food grade DE shell flower.I paid 60 cents a lb for it.My husband and I take it every day to keep ourselves clean from worms and parasites.

    • WayCoolDogs

      Terry….thank you very much for the detailed advice. It will help our readers very much with this annoying subject. By the way, you said you used oatmeal for bathing. Is that our one minute oatmeal, instant or what?

      • Terry

        The oatmeal I use depends on what I have around.Usually if you purchase a dog shampoo that has oatmeal in it ,it will be “soap free” which helps when dealing with sensitive skin or skin issues associated with tapeworm and others.You can bathe your dog with tee tree soap,home made pepppermint( all bugs despise peppermint soap) then when you think you have the shampoo rinsed out rinse another ten minutes to be sure.Aveeno or any colloidal oatmeal soothes the itch.You can add it to dog shampoo or make a rinse or soak.I like to leave the shampoo on for 8 minutes as it helps to kill fleas etc on the pet..If the itch is bad Or dealing with allergic skin issues (unless they have bad sores)mix 1/3 appl cider vinegar and 2/3 water into a gallon jug and rinse slowly at the end of the bath and rinse and it brings their skin ph back to balance and relieves the itching a lot.If you don’t have a good place to soak a small pet,I put a rubbermaid square tub in the bathtub just big enough for them to turn around in that way I don’t waste the soak solution in too much water.A 14 gallon container handles a 12-15 lb dog quite well?Btw for those of you choosing to use the Diatomacious Earth for cleaning out tapeworms ,you must not miss a dose for at least 30 days so as to kill the worms and larvae..DE does not kill the unhatched eggs of which there are hundreds.You have to administer the DE long enough to kill all the life cycle stages down to the last hatched egg.I personally would do it for 90 days minimum.I myself choose to use it once daily to keep away most all worm and parasites.Again is a great resource for deworming pets and prevention there of.I am also using a Elizabethan collar to keep the one with tapeworm from re ingesting the tapeworm segments whether live or dead.Hope this is not too much.

  • Terry

    I meant too much information.Sorry I don’t know how you recall what you write to correct errors..Appreciate your website for helping those who have pets..:)

    • WayCoolDogs


      Thank you for the excellent advice! I am sure it will help many readers, including myself. :)

  • http://mozilla deanna gibbs

    have a 3 mo. old pom and been treating him for tapeworm. this am he had a foot length of dead worm hanging from him..he is now very lathargic acting and i am waiting for a call back from our vet..Is there anything else I can do for him..I am so worried I may loose him..

    • WayCoolDogs

      You need to take him into the vet, Deanna. Depending on the type of worm, he may need several routine wormings and also some antibiotics.


  • nattiefattie

    So, how do I go about treating my house to rid it of invisible eggs best? I remember in my parasitology classes its alot of work…I’ve got one I know is (suspected tapeworm)positive so all four of my critters off to vet TODAY!!! Just spread borax all over…I’m particularly worried about my kids as the dogs sleep with them…thankfully not allowed in my room/bed or on furniture tho I see the tell tail (hehe) signs of sneaking onto the couches! HELP! :)nattie

    • WayCoolDogs

      Nattie …. if you are pretty sure you have tapeworms, then the best thing to do is bomb your house for fleas and worm your dogs monthly or as your vet suggests. To remove the home from parasite eggs and fleas, wash your dog’s bedding, stuffed toys, dog beds, and so forth in super hot water with Clorox. I would wash them twice. If they sleep with the children, wash the kid’s bedding and vacuum the mattress, flipping it over and leaving the old side down. Make sure you tell your vet that your dog sleeps with the children and inform your family doctor of the situation.

      Before vacuuming, sprinkle the area with one part borax to one part sea salt and allow to sit for fifteen minutes before vacuuming. If your dog sleeps on the couch or chairs, vacuum them thoroughly also. When you are done vacuuming, remove the bag or container and empty it outside immediately.

  • Tracey

    We just brought a new foster in 3 days ago. He is being separated from our pack unless supervised. Just noticed today worms..looks like tape worm. Never dealt with worms even with our aged pack of four. Sent stool to vet and appt tomorrow. He is defensive and will act violently to a bath and brushing..let alone a vet exam. This is not going to be fun..not the way I wanted to start training. Poor guy

  • Tracey

    Thanks Terry for the DE info, we’ve used it before..appreciate the website info

  • Shelly

    I believe my dog has tapeworms….ive noticed 2 little flat white things crawling in his stool. This morning was the first time i noticed it! He’s 8 weeks old , was wormed when we got him at 4 weeks. I’m no sure what to do. They arent on the outside of his rectum , but only in his poop this morning. He’s been drinking alot of water lately, and when i put his food out he’ll only take a couple bites at first then he sometimes eats the rest Idk if it matters but he’s a chihuahua/dashaund(sp) mix. A chiweenie lol I just want him to be ok! He’s still very hyper , kind of aggressive but in a playful way most of the time. Does that have anything to do with it? Will he be ok? I do plan on worming him again this afternoon until i can get to a vet.

    • WayCoolDogs

      Shelly …. puppies require wormings at 4, 6, 8 , 10 and 12 weeks of age. If you puppy only received one worming at four weeks, he probably does have a massive case of worms. Please take him to the vet and have him checked out and wormed as he is supposed to be. The breeder obviously was either not knowledgeable or a puppy mill breeder. Worms kill puppies who are not wormed properly.

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