You may ask yourself, "My dog has tapeworms, how do I clean my house?" That's a great question that many people may not consider when taking steps to eradicate worms from a household pet. Treating worms in dogs is obviously an essential step in getting your canine's health back on track, and that extends to treating the environment that surrounds your dog as well. To effectively sanitize your home after an outbreak of worms, find the right cleansing solutions and hit all surfaces, inside and outside of the home, to give your dog her best chance at remaining worm-free.
What are worms?
Worms are intestinal parasites that dogs can pick up a number of ways. The most common types of worms in dogs include tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms, and whipworms. Roundworms and whipworms are usually contracted via ingesting infected feces. Hookworms enter through the mouth or skin, and tapeworms are often passed through an intermediate host, like fleas or rats, according to Banfield Pet Hospital. Despite its name, ringworm is actually a fungal infection, and is not an intestinal parasite.
Signs of worms
Often, you can spot signs that your dog has worms. Because intestinal parasites pass through a dog's stool, you may be able to see parts of them in your canine's feces, where they often appear as small white-colored specks which mimic grains of rice. Additionally, your dog may also scoot his butt across the floor or lick his anus in an effort to ease the irritation that comes with having worms. If you notice that your dog has blood or mucous-laced stool or diarrhea, weight loss, an enlarged abdomen, or changes in energy level or appetite, consult your veterinarian, who can help you determine if your dog has a parasite.
How to clean after worms
A dewormer will be needed to rid your dog of the worms that live inside of her intestines, and an additional sanitization of the immediate environment is needed to kill additional worms and eggs, which can live in soil and carpet. To start, make a cleaning solution by mixing one part bleach with 30 parts water, and use this cleanser to wipe down any solid surfaces, like dog bowls, tile or vinyl flooring, countertops, and even concrete surfaces outside or in your garage. Vacuum carpets, wash dog bedding and toys, and steam clean non-washable fabric surfaces like couch cushions. To prevent the spread of worms and eggs outdoors, pick up your dog's poop as soon as she goes, seal it in a bag, and throw it away immediately.
If your dog contracted worms through a host like fleas, which is common with tapeworms, VCA Hospitals recommends that your dog be bathed and treated for fleas. Use detergent and warm water to clean any washable fabrics, taking special care to sanitize dog bedding, blankets or clothing. Vacuum carpets and then toss contents outside as quickly as possible. Steam clean your curtains, if possible. Flea larvae can ingest tapeworm eggs, and once those fleas become adults it is possible to transmit that tapeworm to a dog, so be sure to clean your home for all pests and parasites to keep worms from returning.