Worm infestations are very common in dogs. However, it’s problematic and a big dilemma among dog owners. Aside from treating the canine, it’s also important to get rid of the worms to end the infestation. This will also prevent an endless cycle of reinfestation. My dog has tapeworms how do I clean my house? Don’t fret because there are easy ways to remove the larvae and adult worms in your home.
Below, I discussed the steps you need to take to clean your home after a tapeworm infestation. I also tackled the nature of tapeworms, so you’ll know how infestations occur and what you need to avoid.
How do dogs get tapeworms?
In order to clean your home properly, it’s important to understand the nature of tapeworms first. Contrary to common beliefs, dogs can’t acquire tapeworm directly from an infected canine. Tapeworms need an intermediate host, in dogs’ case, it would be a flea.
Your dog needs to swallow a tapeworm-infected flea before it can get an infestation. Aside from fleas, the likes of sheep, rodents, and rabbits can also be intermediate hosts to tapeworms.
Take note that tapeworms can grow from up to 4 to 8 inches. The adults can be seen by the naked eye, but the larvae aren’t easy to find. This is why you have to clean your home and keep your dog protected against fleas.
Also, while your dog may have flea protection, you’ll never know when it will swallow a flea outdoors. Fleas can live in the soil and harbor on the tiny crevices of your home. If your dog licks or chews on these parts, it can likely acquire tapeworms.
How do I know if my dog has tapeworms?
It’s quite easy to identify if a dog has tapeworms. Canine with this infestation will often scoot on the floor, and you’ll spot tapeworm segments on its rear.
Over time, the canine will suffer from diarrhea, distended abdomen, unexplained weight loss, vomiting, and dull coat. Take note that tapeworms won’t go away on their own. It can even live inside the host for 30 years and steal the dog’s nutrition.
If you notice your dog exhibiting these symptoms, you should take it to the vet for proper treatment. After that, you can start cleaning your home to remove tapeworm larvae and segments.
How to clean your house after a canine tapeworm infestation
It’s very important to clean and sanitize your home after your dog has been treated. This will prevent reinfestation, and it will keep your other pets safe.
Below are some of the most important steps you need to take:
1. Clean the carpets
Tapeworm clings to carpeted surfaces. Make sure that you vacuum your floor and steam clean it well. Exposing tapeworms to at least 145F for a few minutes is already enough to exterminate the parasite.
If you don’t have a steam cleaner, you can bring the carpet outdoors and expose it to direct sunlight.
2. Wipe all surfaces
Next, it’s time to wipe all surfaces in your home. This includes the countertop, railings, stairs, and just about everywhere your dog has access.
For this, you can use a mixture of one part bleach and 30 parts water. This ratio is enough to kill remaining tapeworms without leaving a strong smell in your home.
3. Wash your dog’s belongings
Another important thing you should do is wash all your dog’s belongings. Make sure that you clean the bed properly by using white vinegar as a pre-wash. You can also soak it in the bleach solution you used earlier if colorfastness isn’t an issue.
4. Steam-clean all fabrics
You should also treat all your fabrics at home, especially the beddings and upholstery. These parts can easily harbor tapeworm larvae and adult worms, especially if your dog loves lounging on them. You can also use a vinegar or bleach solution as pre-wash if it will not damage the material.
5. Disinfect your dog’s potty spot
Once you’re done inside your home, it’s important to disinfect the part where your dog defecates. This spot is reeking with tapeworm and a slew of infections. Pouring white vinegar on it will help disinfect the area and kill remaining tapeworms. You can also add salt to it for added effect.
After that, it’s best to train your dog to eliminate on a new spot.
6. Seal your trash bins
If you’re picking up your dog’s feces and putting it in the trash can, you must cover the bin properly. This will prevent other dogs from dumpster diving into your garbage and getting exposed to tapeworms or fleas that carry it.
7. Place flea preventive measures
After removing the tapeworms in your home, it’s also important to place flea preventive measures. A flea collar or medication will work well. Since fleas are the main carriers of tapeworm, you should keep them at bay.
Can tapeworms live in your house?
Tapeworms thrive in grass and soil as well as dust and carpeted surfaces. If you have potted plants indoors, the tapeworm can prosper on the dirt and potentially find an intermediate source.
Also, you should know that there are different types of tapeworms, each one having unique hosts. While you might get rid of one type, another can infest your dog.
Can tapeworm be passed from dog to human?
Yes, you can get tapeworm from your dog. This is why it’s important to get canine treated and your home sanitized properly. But just like with dogs, you need to swallow an infected flea before acquiring the infestation. This can happen if you’re kissing or hugging your dog too often, especially while eating.
Also, humans may suffer from hydatid disease. This health condition is caused by swallowing tapeworm eggs, and the human becomes an intermediate host to the parasite. When this happens, the eggs will travel in the bloodstream and lodged in different body organs.
In this process, the tapeworms will form watery cysts filled with tapeworms. The only consolation here is that hydatid isn’t contagious, but it still requires immediate treatment. Surgery is the most common solution for this condition, but the doctor will have to assess the risk level.
How long can tapeworm segments live outside the body?
Tapeworms can live outside the human or animal body for months. It will be waiting for an intermediate host to come around. Those who are working on livestock and have poor living hygiene have a high risk of contracting tapeworms from their environment.
Tapeworms have a head and segments called proglottids. Each segment is of the same size as a grain of rice, which is one of the most recognizable characteristics of this worm. As the tapeworm matures, the segments break off from the main body and get passed into the stool.
When freshly passed, the proglottids are motile, which means it moves and still alive. Sometimes, they can be mistaken for a maggot. After some time, the segment will rupture and reveal the tapeworm eggs. If an intermediate host ingests the eggs, it will start a tapeworm infestation.
What happens if tapeworms go untreated in dogs?
Generally, tapeworms won’t cause life-threatening symptoms to canines. The infestation can go on for months only to be discovered once it’s on the advanced stage.
While this infestation will not cause serious illnesses to a canine, the parasite will steal nutrition from their bodies. This means weight loss despite eating properly. Lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea will also occur, which will impact your dog’s quality of life. It’s best to get your dog treated at the vet’s clinic while you clean your home.
My dog has tapeworms how do I clean the house? It’s quite easy to sanitize your home after a tapeworm infestation. Diluted bleach or vinegar will be useful here. You should also vacuum your carpets and steam clean all fabrics to kill the remaining segments and eggs.
Has your dog been infested with tapeworms before? How did you clean up at home? Share your tips below!