Dog Articles

Protecting Your Dog from Heartworm

Honestly speaking, there are only two ways in which you can effectively prevent heartworms from attacking your dog and becoming a problem. The first one is to never let any mosquito (the carriers of heartworm) get inside your house and near your dog. The second is to never let your dog go outside of your house, not in your yard, and especially not during mosquito season.

These ideas may make sense if you lived in a brick house with no doors and windows! They could also work if you have a dog that does not enjoy playing and being outdoors and has no need to go outside. But in reality, there is no sure way to keep your pet from being bitten by a mosquito that carries heartworm. And because all dogs love playing outside and sticking their noses everywhere, it is essential for them to get proper care and sensible preventative measures to ward off heartworm infestation.

Below are four suggestions you can apply that can reduce your dog's risk of getting infested with heartworms:

1. Consult your vet about preventive medication from heartworms. This way, even if your dog is bitten by a mosquito that is infected with this parasite, the medication in his body will automatically destroy the heartworms before they start to mature and cause illness. Even though your dog does not like the outdoors, it is always possible that a mosquito could slip in and stop for a bite. So even if your dog is an indoor pet, it is wise to give him heartworm medication.

2. Before you administer the heartworm medication to your dog, make sure that he is not already infected. It can be dangerous to give heartworm preventive drugs to a dog that is already infected with the parasite, although very recent research appears to indicate that effective treatment is the heartworm preventative itself. Either way, do not deal with the problem yourself. Have your vet perform a blood test before prescribing the medication. Make sure that your dog is not already infected, and then he can start taking appropriate heartworm treatment medication. Keep in mind that it is possible for some of the older tests for heartworm to be inaccurate. It is always ideal to have your vet see your dog's record and decide if he needs to have a newer and more accurate test before administering the heartworm medication.

3. Since it is difficult to entirely keep mosquitoes away from you, your house, and your dog, you can put up a tight-fitting door and window screens to minimize their chance of getting in. You should also replace or fix damaged screens as soon as you can.

4. If you have thought about putting up a birdhouse in your yard, then you should consider getting a purple martin birdhouse. The birdhouse will attract these hungry birds to your property where they can eat thousands of mosquitoes per day and thus minimize the number of mosquitoes, especially those infected with heartworms.

5. Prevent heartworm naturally, and even treat heartworm naturally, with specific herbs which work just as well as the toxic chemicals which your vet probably prescribes. Your vet is probably blissfully unaware that herbs can prevent heartworm, and even that herbs can treat heartworm - your vet may even try to discourage you from using natural heartworm alternatives. So make sure you're aware of the facts - heartworm can be prevented AND treated with herbs and other holistic remedies - click here for more information on herbal heartworm prevention and treatment, and click here for homeopathic heartworm prevention and treatment.