Tapeworms are about 1/8 inch wide and their bodies are flat, but they can grow very long. The body includes a head and segments, with each segment having the ability to reproduce. The segments are shed while the tapeworm head remains attached to the dog's intestines. The idea of dogs having worms is very unpleasant to most people, but the condition is easily resolved with a visit to the veterinary clinic, medicine and follow-up prevention methods.
Determine if your dog has tapeworms. Usually you'll have noticed a symptom or two which has led you to this conclusion. The most common occurrence is when the pet owner finds a small, white, flat worm segment near the dog's anus or stuck onto the stool. These segments look like grains of rice or small bits of spaghetti.
Consider your dog's general health to determine if there may be a problem with tapeworms. Symptoms may include digestive upset and abdominal discomfort, changes in appetite, or poor coat and dry skin.
Call your veterinary clinic and explain that you think your dog has tapeworms. The staff will ask you to bring in a stool sample for testing.
Collect a fresh stool sample and take it to the clinic as soon as possible.
How to Kill Tapeworms
Pick up the medicine prescribed by the veterinarian, which they probably will have at the clinic. The most common prescription is for Drontal by Bayer, because this product kills not only tapeworms but any other worms the dog may have as well, including roundworms, whipworms and hookworms. Drontal contains the ingredients praziquantel, pyrantel pamoate and febantel.
Administer the pills to your dog as prescribed. The amount of treatment needed will depend on the dog's weight.
Collect all dog stools from the yard or dog run and dispose of them properly, as they probably contain tapeworm segments or eggs.
Determine if your dog has fleas, which can be infected with tapeworm larvae. If the dog swallows any fleas while grooming, it can become re-infected.
If the dog does have fleas, administer the flea-elimination product of your choice. These include flea collars or flea dips and special shampoos. You may need to de-flea your home as well with a spray product.
Prevent your dog from eating animals or carcasses, such as rabbits, mice and moles, which may have fleas or immature tapeworms.
Remove dog stools from the yard as soon as possible.