You can tell a lot about a dog’s health by simply looking at their poop. Ideally, their poop should be brown with a distinct log shape. If the poop is anything other than that, then there may be something amiss.
For instance, you may notice that there are some white flecks on your dog’s poop. Upon closer inspection, they look more like grains of rice. Are you really seeing grains of rice or could they be something else? Stay tuned to find out.
Why Is There Rice in My Dog’s Poop?
The appearance of something that looks like rice in your pet’s poop can be surprising. You probably didn’t think that something like rice could just pass through your dog’s body like that.
Well, you’re right. Rice doesn’t move through a dog’s digestive system without getting processed along the way. Rice grains won’t remain relatively intact and appear in the waste that your pet leaves behind.
So, what are you looking at if those white specks aren’t actually grains of rice? Unfortunately, the answer is quite unpleasant.
The white specks that look like rice grains are indicators that your dog has a tapeworm infection. To be more specific, you’re looking at the segments of a tapeworm that have ended up in your dog’s poop. Those tapeworm segments may look like grains of rice, but some say that they also bear a close resemblance to seeds.
A tapeworm segment measures about a quarter of an inch in length, but it could creep up to half of an inch. If the things you’re looking at are generally in that size range, then there’s a very strong chance that you are indeed looking at tapeworm segments.
How Did My Dog Get Tapeworms?
Now that you know that those white, grain-like objects are tapeworm segments instead of rice, you may be wondering how they got there. How did your dog develop a tapeworm infection?
In all likelihood, your dog developed a tapeworm infection due to a flea. Some adult fleas are known to carry tapeworm eggs. If your dog somehow ate a flea carrying tapeworm eggs while grooming, then they will get infected. Tapeworm eggs may also be present in other animals, but your pet likely got them from fleas.
After entering your dog’s body, the tapeworm eggs will likely stay somewhere inside the small intestine. They will then cling to the walls of your dog’s intestines and feed until they grow.
Once a tapeworm becomes an adult, segments of it will break off. Those segments are likely the white specks that you saw in your pet’s poop.
What Are Other Signs Pointing to a Tapeworm Infection?
The “grains of rice” in your dog’s poop are probably the clearest signs that they have tapeworms. However, there are still other ways to confirm an infection.
One thing you can do is to look for other tapeworm segments. Inspect your dog’s behind and see if you find some white specks there. Comb through the fur a bit because they could have gotten tangled up in there too.
You should also check out your dog’s bed if they have one. The “grains of rice” may be scattered all over there as well.
If you want to be 100 percent certain that your dog has tapeworms, you can collect the white specks and place them inside a plastic bag. Take the bag to the veterinarian and have them check out its contents.
By the way, the tapeworm segments can also dry out and turn yellow. They may start to look more like sesame seeds at that point.
Other signs that your dog has a tapeworm infection include them scooting their behind on the ground or excessive licking of that area. Your dog is performing those actions because the tapeworm segments are starting to irritate their skin.
What to Do about Rice in My Dog’s Poop?
After noticing the other symptoms or confirming the tapeworm infection with your veterinarian, you can now turn your attention to treating it. If you’re already at the vet, then treatment can begin shortly.
The veterinarian will likely prescribe some deworming drugs to eliminate your dog’s infection. The drugs may come in different forms.
Some of the drugs prescribed may be items that are meant to be sprinkled on your dog’s food. Others may be tablets that you are supposed to give your pet orally. The vet could also administer a shot to get rid of the tapeworm infection.
You can count on your veterinarian to choose the right type of medication for your pet. Note that a second dose of the medication may be necessary in some cases.
Once the medication is inside your dog’s body, it will quickly work to dissolve the tapeworm. The dissolved tapeworm will stay in your dog’s intestine until it is eventually released the next time your pet goes to poop.
Your dog and their poop should be back to normal not long after the medication takes effect.
How Do I Prevent Tapeworm Infections?
It’s good to know that tapeworm infections in dogs can be dealt with relatively easily. Even so, you probably don’t want your pet getting infected in the first place.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to prevent tapeworm infections in dogs.
First off, you need to protect your dog from fleas. You can do that by consistently covering them in flea powder, putting a flea collar on them, or using other deterrents. Choose whichever deterrent your pet is okay with.
Next, you need to keep close tabs on your dog. Don’t let them roam all over your neighborhood because they could stumble upon the droppings left behind by other dogs. Those droppings could also contain tapeworms.
Dogs can also get tapeworms from dead animals so make sure your pet stays away from them. They should also stay away from garbage.
If your dog is already infected, you need to dispose of their poop more carefully. Scoop up their poop and place it in a plastic bag before throwing it in the trash. That way, no tapeworms can escape the poop and get back into your dog’s body.