Rarely a threat, tapeworms in dogs come from fleas and gophers. Here's how they get into your dog and how you can deter these parasitic worms without using toxic shots or a dog dewormer.
What Do Tapeworms Look Like?
Once you've seen a tapeworm you won't likely forget what they look like. Odd, amazing and gross all at the same time; many of us learn it like this...
You see what looks like a grain of rice stuck to your dog's fur near his butt. If you had rice for dinner, you'll automatically assume that's what it is so being the good mom you pick it off the dog.
Then your eyes kinda bug out of your head because it just changed form when you picked it up. Watching it on your fingertip, you realize it's flatter than a grain of rice and then it moves!
It may even stretch out two or three times longer than it was at first glance. This is when you squeel "Eweeee" and race down the hall to flush it down the toilet.
You wash your hands three times.
Now you will know for the rest of your life what tapeworms look like.
* * *
If you have more than one dog, do not automatically assume they all have tapeworms. They have to ingest the larvae first and then have the right intestinal flora for tapeworms in dogs to stick around. (I made a funny.)
Okay, let me explain.
The Tapeworm Life Cycle
The part about
sticking is true but I'm getting ahead of myself. A dog swallows either
a flea or a rodent (gopher) carrying the tapeworm larvae. In the right
conditions, it makes its way to the intestines where it attaches itself
to the intestinal wall and absorbs food through its body since it has no
mouth. (See, it's gross but amazing.)
As it grows, it forms egg filled segments which fall off and exit the body through the anus. That means what you found was not even a whole tapeworm.
Once the segment dries and bursts, the eggs wait to be eaten by a host. Fleas are perfect hosts. The tapeworm egg will hatch inside the host and wait in a dormant state until the perfect dog host comes along and eats the flea (or gopher) host.
The Perfect Tapeworm Home
Tapeworms in dogs, like other parasitic worms prefer an intestinal tract clogged with toxic overload from an improper diet of highly processed dog food. Worms thrive in mucus and wastes because they're garbage eaters.
While we'd like to think eating the garbage is good, there is a downside since everything that eats must also expel. So now we have something making more garbage by leaving toxic waste which floats in the blood.
Like all internal parasites in dogs, there's a few ways to go about getting them out. You can buy a dog dewormer or use herbs to get rid of them and also prevent them. The prevention part make your dog's intestines inhospitable to parasites.
Dog dewormers are still very popular. The problem is we buy them without thinking. They're called tapeworm meds, tapeworm medicine or tapeworm medication, which is misleading. We think of medicine as a good thing but it's really a poison. A poison that is supposed to be strong enough to kill the worms without hurting your dog. Hmmm.
This reminds me of the flea meds that nearly killed my dog. Anyway, I don't use poisons period.
The other problem with tapeworm medication is once the worms are dead, there is nothing to help clean up the garbage they left. After all the blood is still a river of toxins. And what about the tapeworms attached to the intestines? It's dead but does it let go and leave?
The truth is, using a dog chemical dewormer may kill segments but not the 'mother worm' docked like a boat with a big anchor in the intestinal pathway.
One of the best ways to prevent worms because it also helps prevent other parasites (and fleas too) is a combination of black walnut and garlic.
Unfortunately, not all products are created equal since there is no regulation in the industry. Now I have two other places for you to read on this website. The first is Dog Dewormer. There I will tell you what works for all types of worms. There are two programs there. One I call the big guns for killing internal parasites.
The other is for prevention, not just for tapeworms in dogs, but all worms (including heartworm) and fleas as well so you are not buying more products than you need.
The other page is called Why NSP? Because I did this backwards (like I've done more than a few things in my life) I started this website long before I found the right products that work all the time.
But one last hint before you go. Switching your dog to a raw food diet helps the body naturally. The more you know, the better things get.