What You Should Know About HeartGard

If you’ve heard about heartworms and the pain and suffering they can cause a dog then you must know how important it is to give your dog a heartworm preventative.

What is Heartgard?

Heartgard is a heartworm preventative for dogs.

Its in the form of a beef flavored chewable tablet given to your dog once a month.

Heartgard claims to prevent heartworm infection, along with common roundworms and hookworms. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitos and is a danger all year round.

How does it Work?

Heartgard Plus is a preventative treatment. It does not destroy and adult heartworm, but instead kills the larva.

If a dog is already infected by adult heartworm, a different course of treatment is required. Often both a steriod and an antibiotic is prescribed (to kill the bacterium that spreads once the adult heartworm has died).

Heartgard must be given every 30 days exactly – meaning you should give it to your dog on the same day each month.

Is Heartgard Safe for Dogs?

Heartgard has been proven to be safe in most breeds of dogs.

Herding breeds such as collies and shepherds are more sensitive to the active ingredient in Heartgard called Ivermectin. This is due to genetic sensitivity (MDR1 gene).

If your dog is a herding breed then consult with your vet first. You may need to choose a brand that uses a different active ingredient.

Heartgard (and any of the generic forms) should not to be given to pups under 6 weeks of age. You should talk to your vet about continuing use if your female dog is pregnant or nursing.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Side effects occur when the dosage is too high. This can happen when the dosage is not set appropriate to body weight. Side effects can include:

  • tremors
  • dilated pupils
  • lethargy
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • rapid weight loss

See your vet as soon as possible in this situation.

Is there an Alternative?

An alternative to Heartgard is Iverhart Plus – both use the same active ingredients.

Heartgard Iverhart Plus
Active Ingredient Ivermectin, Pyrantel Pamoate Ivermectin, Pyrantel Pamoate
Type Beef-flavor chewable Pork-flavor chewable
Price (per 6) $33.25 (26-50lb dog) $32.02 (26-50lb dog)
Buy Online Chewy.com Chewy.com

Not much in it.

There are discounts for a 12-pack, and also for autoship (if ordering online).

Heartgard Plus vs NuHeart

NuHeart is a generic version of Heartgard  manufactured in Australia. Ingredients are identical, except NuHeart is a tablet rather than a chewable tablet. So you need to get your dog to swallow it at once (not always easy).

Heartgard Plus vs ValuHeart Plus

ValuHeart is yet another generic heartworm preventative. This medication is also produced in Australia.

Very similar to heartgard, but possibly cheaper.

Heartgard Plus vs Trifexis

One of the newer heartworm preventatives on the scene is called Trifexis. This medication uses a different active ingredient than Heartgard, which makes it an excellent option for herding dogs who are sensitive to the Ivermectin.

Not only does this medication prevent heartworm but it also fights off roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms too.

The next big difference is that Trifexis will kill adult fleas within hours of being administered. This is great for an all-in-one approach for both heartworm and flea control. This medication lasts for 30 days just and also comes in a beef flavored chewable tablet.

Heartgard Plus vs B-Mectin

B-Mectin appears to be manufactured in Thailand and can appear on second hand sites like eBay.

Avoid at all costs. There are no standards on manufacturer and it is not approved for sale.

Heartgard Plus vs Sentinel

Sentinel (like Trifexis) is a broad spectrum medication. Sentinel covers your dog against heartworm disease, roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms.

Unlike Trifexis Sentinel does not kill adult fleas. It does go a step above HeartGard however as it will prevent flea eggs and larva from developing. This will stop the flea cycle and if you live in an area with a low risk of flea infestation this may be all you need.

Should You Use Heartgard?

I personally, would recommend Heartgard as it has been around for well over a decade. The product retains its quality and does exactly what it’s supposed to do.

If you have an existing prescription, you can have it autoshipped to you online.