Hello everyone, your favorite Dog Chip here to answer the question do puppies really need to have a heartworm medicine.
I remember back when I was just a little pup and I saw this big pile of poop on the floor and I thought it would be a good idea to…………………..
Um, hang on. Sorry about that!
Where was I?
When I was a little puppy I remember seeing my Mum being given a lovely beef treat every month, it was the Heartgard Plus chewables without prescription option, and feeling VERY left out. I wanted a nice treat too, but I wasn’t allowed them. And it made me sad. It is only now I am a slightly (ahem!) older Dog that I realize that it was for my own good. When Dogs are very young the fact is that they do not need to have heartworm medicines.
This is because until we reach a certain age we are simply not going to be able to develop heartworm disease. And this is because the disease actually takes quite some time to develop. We may have had the heartworm larvae introduced into our systems if we are very unlucky, but it is not dangerous straight away.
It takes these evil pest some time to develop, move to the heart, and begin to affect our health.
Allow me to explain. What a clever Dog, I hear you say!
Yes, I know.
How Do Puppies Get Heartworms
We may know what the best heartworm medicine for Dogs is, but we only need to use once puppies are of a certain age. This is down to the life-cycle of these pesky worms. And it all starts with them being introduced into our systems by the EVIL mosquito.
If an infected mosquito bites a Dog then there is a chance that the tiny heartworm larvae are introduced into their system. And then the life-cycle carries on inside the Dog. But this is no instant change. It takes months for the larvae to go through various stages and to finally develop into what we really mean by heartworms, once they are large and in the actual heart.
So, when should puppies have a heartworm medicine?
It really is not needed before 6-8 weeks of age, and even then we are probably being rather cautious. It may well be worth thinking about just how the puppy has been living up to this point. If they have been inside with their Mother, which is most common, then the risk of coming into contact with mosquitoes is quite low. And even if they have then the larvae will not have developed sufficiently to cause any damage within such a short time-frame. If we add to this the fact that the first few weeks of a puppies life are spent almost totally cosseted by their Mother, then giving a heartworm medicine for puppies under 6-8 weeks of age really is not sensible at all.
How often should puppies be given a heartworm medicine?
As with adult Dogs once a course is started they should be given a medication once a month all through the year. You can read more about this and other common heartworm questions at the American Heartworm Society’s Website.
But the main thing to bear in mind is that when we are just very young puppies there is no need for immediate concern. Beginning at 6 weeks of age should be more than sufficient. Although, of course, it is best to consult with your Vet. I am just a Dog after all.