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How can you prevent tapeworms in dogs?

Dogs may pick up all sorts of worms and parasites from eating abandoned food that has been in contact with stool residue. Good sanitation and careful supervision of your dog is essential to his health. Your dog can get inflicted with tapeworms via fleas or by eating raw meat.

Since fleas are common carriers of tapeworm, it’s important to keep your dog protected from fleas by wearing a flea collar. If you notice a flea problem with your dog, there is a good chance he has a tapeworm problem as well. Since tapeworms can be transmitted through raw meat, don’t give your dog uncooked meat and don’t let your dog eat unsupervised animal products outdoors. In addition, always wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat in the kitchen.

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To detect tapeworm eggs, check your dog’s stool or hairs near his anus. The scolex, or head of the tapeworm, attaches to your dog’s intestines and produces a flat strand containing multiple eggs that is released during defecation. The strand can be anywhere from several inches to several feet long. If you see this strand, or pieces of it, released with the dog’s stool, you can safely diagnose tapeworms.

However, since the strands are small and can be easily missed, you should look for other symptoms of tapeworms as well, such as digestive trouble or scooting behavior. Scooting is when your dog drags his behind along the ground, scratching it. This behavior can also be caused by an impacted anal gland, so check first with your veterinarian to rule that out.

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