Using Heartgard Heartworm Medicine for Dogs
Prior to beginning a course of Heartgard you do need to get your dog checked out by the vet. They will establish that the animal is not already positive for heartworm disease. This is crucial, as any pet who already has the disease will need close monitoring. Heartgard is designed to destroy larval heartworms contracted by your pet during the previous month. If your pet already had adult heartworms in its system the Heartgard would start destroying those too, which is good, but can put your animal under severe stress and would need to be administered under veterinary supervision.
If you are changing from another type of heartworm medicine, make sure you use Heartgard within 30 days of the last dose of the previous medication. This is because Heartgard does not prevent future outbreaks of disease, but rather works backwards destroying parasites contracted during the previous month.
Heartgard heartworm medicine must be administered to your pet every 30 days. If you forget a treatment, treat your dog as soon as possible but do not 'double dose' them. Carry on treating your pet every 30 days from this new date and be prepared to have another test for heartworm disease carried out in six months time. Usually delayed applications will not result in a poor outcome for your pet but the only way to be sure is to carry out a test for the disease in six months. The active ingredient Ivermectin is the best drug for dealing with more mature heartworm larvae which have been in the system for over a month. In fact, tests show it is able to offer considerable heartworm protection even if not given for four months. However, for each day of delay there is a fall in the percentage of parasites destroyed so you should always try to treat your pet regularly.
Types of Heartworm Medicine for Dogs
There are currently three types of Heartgard for dogs. Produced by Merial, all three offer exactly the same dose of Ivermectin and so offer the same complete heartworm control. Heartgard Tablets are a basic unflavoured heartworm pill. If your dog is not willing to accept medications in tablet form you can opt to pay a little more and use Heartgard Chewables. These hide the medication in a beef flavoured chewy treat. But if your dog is allergic to beef they will have to make do with the ordinary tablets. If your pet tends to devour things quickly you'll need to break up the chewable and give it to him in stages as they are not designed to be eaten in one swallow.
To reduce the number of medications you give your pet, you could choose Heartgard Plus. These only come in the chewable option so are not suitable for dogs with a beef allergy. They offer protection against roundworm and hookworm too so mean you do not need to use additional internal parasite medications to deal with these pests.
All Heartgard medicines come in different sized doses depending on the weight of your dog. Always ensure you use the correct one for your sized pet.