Pinworms in Dogs

Dogs do not contract pinworms. These parasitic worms target certain mammals, specifically horses, humans and rabbits. Each species of pinworm targets a specific host, so pinworms from a horse will only grow in another horse. Pinworms do not move from one animal species to another.

Many dog owners mistake tapeworms for pinworms because the worms look similar. Both parasitic worms attach in the intestines where the adult worms lay eggs. At times, you may see small tapeworm segments outside the anus, much like pinworms crawl from the anus. This explains why many people confuse the two.

What Are Pinworms

Pinworms are a specific problem in young children. It's important to note that a child cannot get pinworms from a dog and your child cannot give pinworms to your dog. The parasitic worms live within the intestines and crawl out at night to lay eggs in the skin. The only real symptoms is severe itching around the rectum.

Pinworm eggs are tiny and can easily transfer to bedding, clothing, carpeting and even toys because the eggs get trapped under fingernails when a child scratches. Most pinworm cases occur in daycare and preschools.

Horses and rabbits also get a variety of pinworm, but none of them can pass to dogs or cats.

Dogs and Tapeworms

Because tapeworm segments irritate the rectum, it's common to see an infected dog drag his bottom along the ground or carpeting. This helps spread the worm eggs within your home. If your dog has fleas, they're likely to eat the tapeworm eggs and become infected. Dogs can also get tapeworm by eating an infected rodent.

Tapeworm eggs hatch in a dog's intestines where they become adults and lay eggs in segments of their tail that break off and exit the dog's body. The eggs then fall into carpeting, animal bedding or the ground outside. Once a dog ingests an infected flea or rodent, the life cycle of the tapeworm repeats.

Occasionally, tapeworms will travel through the intestines into the stomach. If this happens, your dog may throw up the entire worm. It's important to remove the worm and not allow the dog or another household pet to re-ingest it.

While it is unlikely, humans can contract tapeworms from their pet. For this to happen, you must ingest an infected flea. You can eliminate all risk of tapeworms infections in you and your pet by preventing flea infestations.

Best Treatments for Tapeworm

If your dog has tapeworm, you should talk to your veterinarian about dewormers. The medications paralyze the parasitic worm causing it to exit the body. Make sure you clean up and dispose of any fecal matter to prevent a new round of tapeworms.

Preventing Parasitic Worms from Returning

Parasitic worm eggs can live for years in the ground. It's important to remove any fecal matter from an infected dog immediately.

As most cases of tapeworm involve the ingestion of an infected flea, keep fleas off your pets and out of your home. Use topical flea preventatives throughout the year to keep fleas away.