There are three ways of administration for the preventative dog heartworm medicine: oral, injection, and spot on or topical treatment. Every one of these methods has its ups and downs but if they are used correctly they will remove the risk of heartworm disease in your dog.
Canine Heartworm Injection
The heartworm injections are quite common in US and all over the world. The preventatives must be given to the dog two times a year by a qualified vet. If you are thinking about this method then you must talk to your dogs vet.
Canine Heartworm Pills
Pills are the most used treatment for heartworm disease. They are given orally and they are quite cheap. They come in form of tablets or chewy stuff (more expensive). The pills must be given daily but people do it once a month. The monthly heartworm preventative drugs come from many manufacturers, in different shapes, colors, sizes and packages. No matter how the package looks, they all do the same. You can get even the cheapest pill because it will work.
These heartworm pills function by destroying the heartworm larva. They do not keep the parasite away from the pet but they destroy the young and make sure they do not mature. Giving a dog pills can be an easy job or a very hard thing to do. Some dog breeds are known for their stubbornness and reluctance in taking pills. But for these pesky dogs the pills manufacturers have released chewable medicines. You can take the chewy medicine and give it to the dog directly or put it in a piece of meat. This way he may not even notice it. If your dog likes to swallow pills, then give the medicine piece by piece and not the whole pill at once.
Topical Dog Heartworm Medicine
Topical or also called spot on treatments have become quite popular in the last few years. This way, you will not have to wonder if the dog has swallowed the pill or not. You will be sure about that. The topical dog heartworm medicines are also great because it will also control the other parasites. The topical products also control hookworms, roundworms and other intestinal worms.
Using Canine Heartworm Medicine
No matter what type of dog medicine you will use, here are some things you have to remember:
Before going along with the preventative heartworm treatment, the dog should receive a heartworm test given by the vet. This test must be repeated every spring and you need to make sure the dog takes it.
If you are giving your dog monthly drugs for heartworm prevention, then you must respect the 30 days period. The active ingredients in the medicine will stop working after those 30 days. If you give the dog the medicine at the right time, it will completely destroy every juvenile heartworm larvae that have been in the dogs system for 30 days or less. If you know that you tend to forget things, give the dog ivermectin based products like Heartgard heartworm pills because they are more efficient than the other types of pills. If you see that you missed a dose, then give the medicine to the dog as soon as possible and then maintain the 30 days rhythm. If you have stopped giving the dog the pill for more than two months, then it is good to talk to the vet for an additional heartworm test.
If you are trying out another preventative heartworm drug, make sure you are giving it to the dog 30 days after you gave the other medicine.