Eww! Tapeworms! We don’t want to think about it, but in the event that tapeworms enter our homes, usually through our pets, we have to deal with those nasty parasites.
You acquire medication for your pets that successfully de-worms them, and you breathe a sigh of relief.
However, does that mean the tapeworm threat is completely gone?
In this article, we’ll go over multiple tips on how to sterilize your home of these parasites to prevent them from coming back anytime soon.
How Tapeworms Get Inside Your Home
As Sun Tzu, author of the Art of War, once said, “Know thy enemy.” To better clean your house both inside and out of tapeworms, we first must understand how they enter homes in the first place.
One of the most common methods tapeworms spread is through pets such as cats and dogs.
However, the actual carriers of tapeworm eggs are mostly unseen fleas.
A key way to prevent a tapeworm infection in the first place is recognizing if there are fleas present on your pets or inside your home.
Another thing to watch out for is raw meat, especially fish.
Tapeworm eggs are known to be present in the muscle tissue of many vertebrate animals.
Always make sure that whatever meat you’re preparing for dinner is cooked all the way through.
If you own a dog, tapeworms and other parasites can enter their bodies depending on certain exposures.
To prevent this, don’t let your dog eat strange things off the ground, like feces from another animal.
And due to their predatory nature, dogs will go after just about any animal they can catch.
Here’s a quick list of some animals you should prevent your dog from chasing (or worse, eating):
The entrails of any of the above have been known to be infected with parasite eggs.
They can also be present in droppings.
Only allow your dog to eat anything that’s approved by a veterinarian.
It’s hard watching your best friend for every minute of the day, especially if you let them roam around outside for long periods of time.
However, there are several ways you can tell if your dog is already infected with tapeworms.
Some common signs and symptoms include excessive vomiting, severe diarrhea, or even lethargy (being “dog tired” more so than usual!).
Parasitic infections are also known to cause a dog to scoot its rear end all over the floor, trying to itch a bad scratch.
Similar to the other animals mentioned earlier, tapeworm eggs can appear in your dog’s stool as well.
Some eggs might be present in tapeworm segments, which will look like pieces of rice that move (gross!), or appear as hard yellow specks that can stick to dog fur.
If you notice any of the signs and symptoms we just discussed in your beloved pet, take them to a vet asap.
Your dog will need some de-worming medication to get back to full health.
If you own a cat or several, they can become carriers of the parasite as well.
Infection usually happens when a cat ingests fleas.
This process occurs when your pet is grooming itself.
Fleas are needed by tapeworms to carry their eggs into new host bodies.
Not only that, but letting your cat hunt rodents and other small animals in the wild can also put your pet at risk of being infected.
With cats, it’s harder to tell if a parasitic infection is present when comparing signs and symptoms with dogs.
However, two common things to look out for are bum-scooting across the carpet, or those rice-like flecks in the feces.
Sometimes, a cat will vomit out a tapeworm that can be several inches in length!
Should you notice any of these happening to your pet, they’ll need some de-worming medication.
Removing The Source Of Tapeworms In Your Home
Now to move on to the core of the issue, preventing tapeworm infections for the future.
As mentioned earlier in this article, most tapeworm eggs need fleas to transfer them onto our pets, and therefore our homes.
If you notice fleas jumping around in your yard, or worse, in your living room, how do you get rid of them?
Fleas flourish in hot, humid environments of around 80 to 90 Fahrenheit (or 26 to 32 degrees Celsius).
Even though fleas may not find hosts right away, their larvae can become dormant for months on end, waiting for the right time to grow and infest.
Aside from getting rid of any fleas currently on your pets, you’ll need to scour both your home and yard to get rid of whatever eggs and larvae the adult pests left behind.
House Cleaning After Tapeworms
Once you know that you’ve got tapeworms in the home, and you’ve worked on removing the source, it’s time to get to cleaning up.
Clean All The Things
Use both a strong vacuum and steam cleaner on your upholstery, pet beds, and carpets.
Don’t skip out on the tight spaces and cracks, as that’s most likely where a majority of flea eggs and larvae are.
You can also use chemicals such as pyriproxyfen and methoprene, concoctions designed to destroy flea larvae, eggs, and even pupae.
What also helps is giving your pet bedding a hot wash, as well as your own bed sheets.
When washing your clothes during this time, make sure it’s all in hot water so that any remaining traces of flea are eradicated.
You may have to repeat this process over the next several days just to make sure you get rid of them all.
By cleaning your home of fleas, you’ll also clean it of parasites such as the dreaded tapeworm as well.
Rid Outside Areas Of Fleas
Before taking a break, also inspect your yard for any signs of flea infestations.
Spotting them jumping around outside will be a lot harder, but you can spot areas where they could grow.
Be on the lookout for any shady and humid spots, prime areas where fleas plant their eggs.
These places could also be where your pets like to lie down.
Once you’re convinced that fleas are reproducing in these zones, here’s a list of what you can do:
- Spread sulphur granules and nematodes on affected areas (ask your local gardening center about these)
- Rake and mow your lawns regularly (as fleas love tall grass)
- Take some cedar chips and spread them around (especially on the areas where your pets like to lie down!)
- Remove all the debris from your lawns and gardens (to prevent any shady areas that fleas could lay their eggs in)
If you’re ever unsure about any of the steps we just discussed, ask a local expert for advice on how to proceed.
If you feel the problem is larger than what you can handle alone, don’t hesitate to call an exterminator for help.
It’s your health and your home you’re trying to protect, so don’t be ashamed to call for backup when needed.
To sum it all up, keep your yard, pets, and your home cleaner than you usually do to successfully prevent any pests and parasites from coming back.
It’s never fun discovering that tapeworms have invaded your personal space, and even less fun getting rid of them all.
But with a little knowledge and a good amount of hard work on your part, those pests won’t stand a chance.