Is Dog Tapeworm Contagious?

The dog tapeworm is a common canine parasite that is located in the intestinal tract. The worm will lodge inside the dog’s intestines and will feed on the dog’s food. The infestation with this parasite won’t cause severe health issues, but the parasite may be contagious to other dogs. The tapeworm is a zoonotic disease, which means it may be transmitted to humans.

Canine Tapeworms

Tapeworms in dogs are intestinal parasites that may be of several different types. The most frequent type of tapeworms in dogs is the Dipylidium Caninum.

The tapeworms can be identified due to their unusual shape, flat body and length (which can be up to 20 cm). The tapeworm can divide into several segments, which may be found in the dog’s feces or vomit. It may also happen that the tapeworm will be visible coming out of the rectum of the dog, especially when the dog is asleep or sitting quietly.

The last segment of the tapeworm contains the eggs and these are often shed in the feces. For this reason, the feces of a dog infested with a tapeworm should be avoided to prevent contamination.

How Can a Tapeworm Be Transmitted?

Tapeworms may be transmitted through direct contact with dog feces that contain segments of tapeworms (touching or ingestion). However, infested dog feces may be present in different environments such as in the garden or on the beach and the tapeworm may be easily transmitted through these ways. Children are more exposed to contracting tapeworms, due to the fact that they are more likely to play with sand or in areas where dog feces can be found. In addition, children also have a weaker immune system that won’t be able to respond to the infestation. However, there are very rare cases of tapeworm infestation from dogs to humans.

The tapeworms may also be transmitted to other dogs through fleas, but only if the flea bites an infested dog or eats infested feces and then is swallowed by another dog. The fleas can be ingested if the dog is chewing on his fur and skin, which are normally itchy when fleas are present.

Dog fleas cannot affect humans and it happens very rarely that children swallow a flea.

Prevent Tapeworm Infestation

You can prevent tapeworm infestation by washing your hands and feet thoroughly after being exposed to sand or ground that may be infested with dog feces. Also, when you handle the dog’s feces, wear rubber gloves and make sure to dump the dog feces in a securely sealed bag.

Teach your children to wash their hands each time after playing outside or with a dog.

The environments you suspect as being infested with tapeworm eggs should be cleaned with a solution of diluted bleach, which has the capability of killing the eggs, so they won’t hatch.

There are also preventive tablets that can be administered to your pet to avoid other tapeworm infestations.