When to Start Heartworm Medicine?


All across the world dogs are one of the most loved animals of many pet owners. If you are like many dog owners, you are already aware of the importance of heartworm prevention. Heartworms can be a very dangerous, and many times deadly, illness that strikes thousands of dogs every day. The only way to avoid having a dog becoming ill with this is to take preventative measures. The effects of heartworms can be a terrible experience for any dog and it is best to make sure that it never occurs.


Dogs can contract heartworms by a simple mosquito bite. If the mosquito has bitten another animal that has heartworms it can be spread when the mosquito then bites another dog. When this happens heartworm larvae is transmitted to that dog and it will get into the bloodstream. As the heartworm larvae grows into actual heartworms there is a possibility they may go to the dog's heart and the illness can become deadly.


Although this can be a deadly disease, dogs do not always have symptoms if they have heartworms. If symptoms do occur they may include coughing or coughing up blood, heavy breathing, or lack of interest in activity. Sadly, by the time symptoms may be noticed the worms may already have gone into the dog's heart and it may be very difficult to treat. This can all be avoided if heartworm prevention medication is given beforehand.

When to Start the Medicine

The best time to start heartworm prevention medication in dogs is around 6 months of age. The medication is prescribed by your veterinarian and comes in chewable pill form. These pills are normally flavored so they are rather easy to administer. It should be given once a month to ensure there will be no chance of the dog contracting heartworms. Some pet owners prefer to only give heartworm preventative medications during mosquito season. However, it is highly recommended to give this medication every month.

Types of Medication

There are different types of heartworm prevention medication that can be given to dogs. The monthly medications include Milbemycin Oxime, Ivermectin and Selamectin. Daily medications that can be given are Decacide and Nemacide. While monthly medications are more commonly used for their convenience, daily medications are still available. Regardless of which type of medication a pet owner may choose, they are all very effective in preventing the heartworm disease.


Preventing a disease as potentially dangerous as heartworms can help a dog live a longer, happier life. Dog owners want their pets to be in the best of health as much as possible and this is a very important step to take to do so. Being a responsible pet owner involves taking care of your dog every day and preventing illness is part of that responsibility.

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