What over the counter medicine is good for tapeworms in dogs? Here’s the Answer

Life Cycle of Tapeworms in Dogs

The life cycle of the tapeworm begins after a dog ingests the intermediate host—the adult flea that’s carrying tapeworm larvae.

Once the adult flea has been digested, the tapeworm larvae are released into the dog’s small intestine. They attach to the intestinal wall and mature to adulthood.

As the adult tapeworm continues to grow, the segmented proglottid packets that make up the body of the worm will break off. These packets exit the intestine with the feces or move through the anal orifice and attach to the fur around a dog’s hindquarters and tail.

Egg packets that reach the soil are then ingested by larval fleas. They develop into immature tapeworm larvae as the larval flea also matures to adulthood.

What Causes Tapeworms in Dogs and Puppies?

Dogs get tapeworms when they ingest fleas that are infected with the tapeworm larvae. This can happen during grooming if they lick their fur and accidentally eat an infected flea.

The flea is the intermediate host in the cycle of transmission of tapeworms, which means that your dog will not become infected by simply eating poop that contains proglottid packets with fertilized tapeworm eggs.

So that means that your dog can’t get tapeworms from eating cat poop, either, if you have a dog that likes to hang around the litter box.

A dog would need to ingest the flea that is carrying the tapeworm larvae to get tapeworms. To help understand how that works, here is a breakdown of the tapeworm life cycle.

Best Dog Dewormer Overall: Panacur C Review

Many veterinarians recommend Panacur C, which contains fenbendazole as the active ingredient. It’s effective against the most common species of hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and whipworms. It’s safe for dogs six weeks and older and pregnant and lactating pups. This medication is a powder that you sprinkle onto your dog’s food once a day for three consecutive days. If your dog eats dry dog food, you should moisten it before adding Panacur C.

It comes in one, two, and four-gram packets. Each box contains three packets. You’ll need to choose the correct packet size(s) per their dosing guideline, which essentially is one gram of powder for every ten pounds of your dog’s weight, e.g., a 50-pound dog needs a five-gram dose each day.

Pros Cons
Recommended by many veterinarians Must give for 3 consecutive days
Kills 4 types of worms (6 species) Not safe for young puppies under 6 weeks old
Safe for lactating and pregnant dogs

Over the Counter Dog Dewormer. Dr. Dan talks dewormers.

Some types of worms can be treated with over-the-counter medications, while others only respond to prescription medicines. Over-the-counter treatments are best used when your dog needs a routine worming and isn’t showing signs of trouble. Don’t treat a dog that is ill on your own, especially if he is vomiting, has bloody diarrhea or other indications of a serious problem; always take a dog that is visibly sick to a veterinarian immediately, since he may need more than just worm medicine.

Roundworms are the most common type of worms in dogs. Puppies can become infected with roundworms before they’re ever born. If left untreated, roundworms give puppies a potbellied appearance, rough coats and can even cause them to stop growing. It’s possible to treat roundworms with over-the-counter medicines such as pyrantel pamoate. Dogs need several doses spaced about two weeks apart to kill all the worms, because wormers can only kill the worms living in the dog’s intestines and not the eggs or larvae. Repeated doses kill the new worms as they hatch.

Dogs get tapeworms when they swallow one or more infected fleas. Control of fleas in and around your home helps limit your dog’s exposure to tapeworms, but he can still pick them up at the park, or even from a stray cat crossing the yard. Removing tapeworms is best done with praziquantel or epsiprantel, both of which require a prescription from your veterinarian. In most cases a single dose will kill and remove all of your dog’s tapeworms at once.

A heartworm infestation is a serious problem and can be fatal. It always requires treatment by a veterinarian and may even require your dog to be hospitalized while he undergoes treatment. The medication commonly sold for heartworm is actually preventative. This medicine is only available by prescription because dogs must be tested before you give it to them. The normal dosage is once per month, which kills any heartworm larvae in your dog’s bloodstream before they can develop into adult worms. Some heartworm medicines also contain wormers to kill other common canine parasites.

You dog can get hookworms from swallowing soil contaminated with hookworm eggs or close contact with the larvae, since they can migrate through the skin. Hookworms latch onto the intestinal lining to eat. Their feeding robs your dog of blood and may cause him to bleed internally. These worms can kill your dog if left untreated, especially if your dog is young or not in good health. A veterinarian should always treat puppies with bloody diarrhea or other symptoms of hookworms. Older dogs can be successfully treated with pyrantel pamoate or fenbendazole, both of which are available over-the-counter.