How We Protect against Heartworm

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With mosquito season upon us, our dogs are now sporting all-natural dog spray to protect them. They don’t like being sprayed, but it does seem to be working!

I just got the call from Thickson Road Pet Hospital letting me know that our dogs are heartworm- and tickborne disease–free. Yay!

When we first adopted Cora and Dusty, we learned of the risks of heartworm prevention medication from The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS). Although we had put Roxie, our previous dog, on Revolution every year, the information TAGS provided us with about the risks of giving our dogs these medications gave us pause. And after doing independent research online, we decided not to put our three on “heartworm prevention” (it’s not really prevention—it’s treatment just in case of infection). For the past two years, we have instead taken the following nonmedicinal (nontoxic) precautions:

  • Feeding a high-quality food and supplementing with fruits and vegetables
  • Using Natural Defense spray (or a homemade spray) to repel mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks
  • Giving them garlic and brewer’s yeast tablets daily
  • Putting black walnut drops into their food three times a week, as recommended by Dr. Marty Goldstein in his book The Nature of Animal Healing (some sources claim black walnuts are dangerous for dogs, but Dr. Goldstein claims it’s all about quantity)
  • Buying a Mosquito Magnet for the backyard to keep the population down
  • Avoiding buggy trails and woods, particularly in the early morning and at dusk

Last year, a colleague of mine who had given her two beautiful English bulldogs their Revolution doses faithfully every month the previous summer learned that one of her dogs had contracted heartworm regardless of the preventative medication. Her experience of a positive heartworm test has reinforced for me that we are doing the right thing by not using Revolution since even the “prevention” isn’t foolproof.

Nevertheless, I admit, I will be on pins and needles once again next year as I await the results of my dogs’ heartworm tests. Until then, we’ll keep on doing what’s worked so far: focusing on nutrition and homeopathic options.

Have any of you had experiences—good or bad—with heartworm preventatives or homeopathic options? If so, please share in the comments. I’m always looking for more “real world” information to help me maintain my dogs’ good health!

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