Heartworms are not the only kind of worms your dog can have.  Tapeworms, Roundworms, Hookworms and Whipworms are common internal parasites.  Added to making your dog uncomfortable hookworms can be fatal in puppies.  If your dog has been scooting on his bottom, has diarrhea, weight loss, looks bad, and/or a loss of appetite.  Tapeworms can make a dog eat more.

One time I was showing one of my Basenjis when the dog in front of me had a Tapeworm sticking its head in and out of her butt.  It really horrified me at the time but I have since learned how easy it is for a dog to get them.


Tapeworms are a parasite that is found in your dog’s intestine.  They are caused by infected flea, biting your dog.  The cycle begins when fleas eat infected dog poop.  The eggs inside the flea.  The dog swallows the flea.  Once the flea reaches the dog’s intestine the flea is digested and the tapeworm grows into an adult.

There are different types of tapeworms.  The most common being the one caused by swallowing infected fleas.  These can be ingested while the dog is grooming or biting, due to itchy flea bites.  If this happens a tapeworm can grow inside of your dog.

The worms can also occur if your dog eats an infected animals, such as rodents and lizards.

As the tapeworm matures the tail segments drop off.  The worms are made up of tiny segments.  Each segment looks like a tiny grain of sand.  They are flat and white.  The worms will hook themselves to the wall of the intestine, where it will feed and start to grow.

A close up of a tapeworm

A close up of a tapeworm

A tapeworm can grow to four to 20 inches long.  You probably won’t see an adult worm as they segment and are pooped out in the dog’s feces.  You might see them there as they wiggle.  Or you may see them in your dog’s bedding or on the dog, near his butt.  The dog may scoot across the floor on her bottom, or lick her butt a lot.

This shows an adult tapeworm

This shows an adult tapeworm

If the worm enters your dog’s stomach he may throw up.  Then you can see an adult worm.

How to diagnose tapeworms

  • You often see dried sections of the worm around your dog’s butt.  They resemble dried up grains or rice.
  • Dog may scoot around due to the irritation
  • You may see the small segments moving in your dog’s poop.
  • They may be found during a vet’s visit when your dog’s feces will be examined.

The vet will sell you pills to give your dog that are very effective.  They don’t cause any side effects.

Of course, the simplest thing to do is to keep your dog free of fleas.  There are many products now that work quite well and there are also natural products and ways.

Tapeworm Diet – For Humans

Can you believe this?

Can you believe this?

This dangerous parasite is banned in the U.S.  I wonder why.
But, you can go to a clinic in Mexico, for about $2000, and get tapeworm pills.

This diet was a fad in the early 1900s.  You could buy diet pills that stated they had tapeworm, via a beef cyst.  You would take the pills and lose one to two pounds a week while eating what ever you wanted.  According to Dr. Michael Mosely, who infected himself, you can gain weight instead.

There used to be a diet plan where you would swallow tapeworm eggs, ate whatever, and lose weight.  They were sold under names like Lard Begone.   You just had to swallow them to lose weight without exercising, dieting, surgery or dangerous pills such as Arsenic pills.  You were given ‘sanitized’ tapeworms, that did all the work for you.    The tapeworms ate your food which producing eggs that could grow to up to 20 feet long.

Of course, there were many problems with this.  Things such as malnutrition and vitamin deficiency.  Then, how to get rid of the worms once you lost the weight.  This brought up some interesting ideas, such as placing tapeworms near your anus and leaving milk, cookies and a hammer to entice the worms to come out.  Every night you would move the worm farther away until the worm was all the way out.  Guess what the hammer was for?  

Who came up with the tapeworm diet? That isn’t clear. Someone probably figured out that people who accidentally ate tapeworm eggs (in undercooked meat) looked pretty thin and thought, “there’s a money-making idea.” If you browse the web for “tapeworm diet,”  you’ll find the method is still in use; the Iowa Department of Public Health sent out an advisory on about it last year.

Actually there are pills for this purpose, deworming medications There is also some indication that strong antibiotics would work also.

Ingesting tapeworms is extremely risky and can cause a wide range of undesirable side effects, including rare deaths,” Quinlisk wrote in the email, as the Des Moines Register reported Friday. “Those desiring to lose weight are advised to stick with proven weight loss methods — consuming fewer calories and increasing physical activity.”


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