Tapeworms in Dogs – What You Need To Know

Many people believe that tapeworms only come from fleas. Other people believe tapeworms in dogs can only be contracted from the feces of other animals that have tapeworms. Both of these methods of transmission are possible.

There are several types of tapeworms that can affect dogs and the method of their transmission varies. The most common tapeworm is Dipylidium caninum. This tapeworm’s life cycle starts as an egg passed in the dog’s feces. The egg is then eaten by a flea or louse and develops into an intermediate stage called a cysticercoid. At this stage the tapeworm is not capable of infecting a dog.

However, once the dog eats the flea containing the cysticercoid it becomes infected. The cysticeroid develops into an adult tapeworm and the cycle starts again.

Another common tapeworm that infects dogs is the Taenia pisiformis. This type of tapeworm has a life cycle that requires an intermediate host, usually small rodents. The rodent must eat the tapeworm to be infected.

There are also some tapeworms a dog can catch by eating the undercooked meat of goats, cattle, and sheep.

A less common tapeworm in dogs is called Echinococcus multilocularis. This tapeworm is normally found only in wild dogs and is transmitted through an intermediate host, again usually a rodent. This infection is of special concern because if a human accidentally ingests an egg from this tapeworm, the intermediate host can develop in the human and cause serious disease. This tapeworm isn’t a common problem in dogs but it is a very serious infection that affects humans.

Tapeworm segments that have dried up usually look like rice grains or sesame seeds. Worm segments that have not dried up will appear to be moving.

If you spot a white thing that looks like rice sticking to the hair around your dog’s rear, you are seeing only one segment of the tapeworm. As the tapeworm wiggles around it spreads more tapeworm eggs. These are then eaten by fleas. When a dog eats the flea it starts the cycle all over again.

The only really effective and safe medications that kill tapeworms in dogs are prescription dewormers that are only available from a veterinarian.

Dog Allergies: Symptoms and Treatments


It’s fairly easy to determine whether your dog is suffering from allergies. Dog allergies can affect any breed of dog, no matter where you live. The symptoms of dog allergies are the same for all breeds and the treatments for those allergies are usually the same.

Some of the symptoms of dog allergies are: excessive scratching, pawing at the face or eyes; excessive sneezing, continual runny nose, watery eyes, acute coughing, skin rashes or dry, crusty skin, continually rubbing its face on the floor or furniture , and chronic ear infections.

Seasonal allergies affect many dogs and are caused by spores or pollen grains in the air. These allergens are inhaled and sometimes are able to penetrate a dog’s skin.

Seasonal dog allergies usually occur when a dog is between the ages of 1 and 3. However, some dogs don’t develop seasonal allergies until they are 6 to 8 years old.

If you notice allergy symptoms in your dog you’ll need to schedule a vet visit to have blood tests performed. This is the only way to confirm if the dog really does have seasonal allergies or if the symptoms could be related to a disease that has infected the dog.

Two methods veterinarians use to determine if a dog is suffering from allergies are an ELISA test, the most commonly used test to diagnose allergies; and intradermal testing.

To effectively treat seasonal dog allergies, the vet first has to determine the cause of the allergy, and then you’ll need to limit or eliminate exposure to that allergen. Most dog owners whose pets suffer from seasonal allergies will keep the dog out of grassy or flowered fields during pollen seasons and will also keep the grass on their lawn cut short.

The vet may recommend topical ointments to relive the dog’s itchiness and the other symptoms of seasonal allergies. In addition, regular bathing of the dog’s skin will help reduce allergic reactions.

Some dog owners have reported that a change in their dog’s diet reduced the allergies by strengthening the dog’s immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to help in boosting a dog’s immune system.

The vet may also prescribe antihistamines and steroids if the dog’s allergies continue to worsen.

Some vets also use immunization therapy to reduce a dog’s allergic reactions. This is accomplished by injecting the allergen in small amounts in the dog’s system and after a few shots, the dog will begin to build an immunity to the allergens.

The symptoms of dog allergies should not be ignored and treatment should begin as soon as you know for sure that your dog is suffering from seasonal allergies.

Common Infections in Dogs

Some common infections in dogs can result in minimal problems for the health of the animal, but infections can also cause major illnesses that can be fatal. As a responsible pet owner you should be aware of these common infections and their symptoms in order to determine whether your dog is having a bout with an illness that will cure itself, or whether the symptoms are indicative of a serious disease. Early recognition and treatment of infections are your best protection against a severe illness or the death of your pet.

Rabies is one of the most common infections in dogs. The symptoms of rabies may not become noticeable for days or even months after a dog has been infected with the disease. The symptoms include refusing to eat or drink water, a high fever, seizures, and foaming at the mouth. Some dogs will exhibit what is called “mad dog syndrome.” A dog with this syndrome can become extremely aggressive and will attack humans or other dogs. Vaccination is not only your safest protection against a dog contracting rabies, but also is mandatory in almost every city and town in the U.S.

Parvovirus is another extremely contagious disease commonly found in dogs, and also requires vaccination with a follow-up shot every year. It is usually contracted through exposure to the infected feces of a dog or other animal. The symptoms of parvovirus include lethargy, vomiting blood, or diarrhea and loss of appetite.

Ear infections in dogs are more common in floppy eared dogs and dogs who spend most of their time outdoors. The symptoms include excess wax build up in the ear canals, a foul smelling odor from the dog’s ears, and pawing or scratching the ears. Ear infections can be treated with a drying cream from a pet store. Insert the cream into the dog’s ear and rub it in well. The cream will act as a drying agent and soak up the excess moisture in the dog’s ears. Serious ear infections require treatment by a veterinarian.

Distemper is a highly contagious infection that affects the respiratory, nervous and gastrointestinal systems in a dog. Like parvovirus, the infection is transmitted when an animal is exposed to feces that contain the virus. All dogs are at risk of contracting distemper, but puppies under four months of age are especially at risk. There is no cure for distemper but there are medications to help control the disease and keep it from worsening. Distemper vaccinations are also required annually for puppies and dogs.

The common cold in dogs is most commonly caused by kennel cough when an upper respiratory infection affects a dog’s lungs and sinuses. The symptoms include nasal discharge and sneezing, continual coughing spells, and great difficulty in breathing. Dogs who have strong immune systems are usually able fight off the infection before it becomes serious. Kennel cough is extremely infectious but can be treated and eradicated if caught in the early stage.

Older Dogs Health Problems

Older dogs health problems can start occurring as soon as a dog is eight to ten years old, depending upon the breed of the animal. The most common health issues in older dogs include arthritis, heart disease, dental problems, and diabetes.

Arthritis is one of the most common medical conditions that affects older dogs. About one in every five pet dogs will develop some form of arthritis during its lifetime. And like arthritis in humans, arthritis in dogs cannot be cured. The good news is that arthritis in dogs is not inevitably hopeless. There are effective treatments on the market today that can help ease your dog’s symptoms, allowing your pet to live a longer, active life.

There are several causes for arthritis in dogs. The condition can be genetic, as is the case with hip dysplasia, and it can also develop as the result of an infection or an immune disorder that affects the dog’s joints.

Symptoms of arthritis in dogs include: weight gain not caused by excessive overeating, sleeping much more than usual, a decreased interest in playing or going on walks, favoring one leg more than the others, hesitancy climbing or going down stairs, acting less alert, having a lot of difficulty standing, and appearing to suffer from pain in the joints.

If the arthritis is not severe and advanced to the point that your dog cannot walk at all without the aid of braces or a wheelchair, the best thing you can do for your pet is to put it on a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own dog. For over 20 years this proven formula has been bringing relief from pain and stiffness to all breeds and ages of dogs.

Older dogs are very susceptible to the development of heart disease, including heart attacks, strokes, and congestive heart failure. Serious heart problems occur more frequently in overweight dogs. An older dog’s diet needs to be low in carbohydrates and fats, and it needs a moderate exercise program so it will be less likely to develop a heart condition.

After a dog reaches the age of 3 or 4 it will often develop dental problems. This happens when a dog doesn’t receive proper dental hygiene during its younger years. Adding kibble to a dog’s canned food diet will help keep its teeth and gums healthy. The slight tooth abrasion offered by dry dog food cannot be achieved when a dog eats a diet consisting solely of soft or wet food.

Plaque deposits on a dog’s teeth can easily turn into tartar which can’t be removed by simple brushing. Tartar buildup is the beginning of gum and periodontal disease. A dog with periodontal disease is susceptible to other internal health problems because bacteria can easily enter the dog’s system through its receding gums. Some dog chew treats have abrasive surfaces that help remove plaque deposits and keep a dog’s teeth healthy.

Some older dogs’ health problems include a lack of control over their bladder and they will urinate in the house. In addition to being caused by aging, urinating (or defecating) in the house may also be an indication of a urinary infection or some other medical condition like colitis, hormonal imbalance, kidney problems or diabetes.

Older dogs are more susceptible to developing diabetes, especially a dog that is obese. Diabetes is caused by an increased level of glucose in the blood that the body is unable to properly assimilate. A dog may need insulin shots or other prescription medicine to manage the diabetes.

Older dogs can also have hearing or vision problems just as older humans often do. If you are responsible for an older dog you need to be aware of the serious problems that can affect a dog’s health simply because it has grown old.