Heartworm Awareness Month is here and during a time where our health is on our minds now more than ever, it is just as important that we are keeping our furry family members healthy as well! Keeping your dog on a regular heartworm preventative regimen is crucial for their health and should never be neglected.
Oral, topical, or injection? With so many preventative options out there, it's hard to make heads or tails of what is best. Although consulting with your vet to determine the best fit for your pup is always necessary, here is a quick guide to help you start the conversation!
Oral heartworm prevention is the most common method of prevention used. It is given monthly, typically in a flavored chewable tablet.
There are a number of different chewable heartworm preventatives on the market, most of these protecting against heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms. Some also protect your dog from whipworms and even fleas and ticks.
This form of prevention is perfect for dogs who are indoors and outdoors, aren't picky about accepting pills or different types of treats (many dogs can see this as a treat instead of a pill), and want a little extra protection from parasites other than just heartworms.
Topical preventatives are given monthly by applying them to the back of the neck and are absorbed through the skin.
Many topical heartworm preventatives are also paired with a flea preventative to provide a convenient one-stop-shop for your dog's basic monthly preventatives. These generally cover, fleas, mites, hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, and heartworms.
This preventative is best for dogs who are predominantly indoors, since it is easier to observe them after application to ensure that it properly absorbs into their skin. It is great for dogs who are difficult with taking pills, won't rub it off directly after application, and don't run the risk of having other pets or children come into contact with the medication before it has the chance to fully absorb into the skin.
One of the most little-known heartworm preventative options available is the yearly heartworm injection. This option can only be administered by your vet.
At this time, the injection only protects against heartworms, so it would have to be paired with other preventative options for intestinal parasites, fleas, ticks, and mites.
The heartworm injection is best for dogs who are healthy, predominantly inside, refuse to take pills, and are difficult with topical applications. This is also a convenient option for pet parents who don't want to worry about forgetting a monthly tablet or topical application. However, keep in mind that you will still need to pair this with a tablet or topical flea and tick preventative as well, especially if your dog spends time outside.
No matter what prevention method you and your vet choose for your pup, just be sure to keep them on it year-round so they are always covered. Even if your dog is predominantly inside and isn't around other dogs much, it is important that they are always up-to-date on all preventatives so they stay safe and healthy for years to come!