This post may contain affiliate links.

I am not a veterinarian. If your dog needs medical assistance, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

2016 Heartworm Incidence Map for the United States of America

Source: https://www.heartwormsociety.org/veterinary-resources/incidence-maps

 

I recently read an article on PetGuide.com that 2017 will see record heartworm cases due to the warmer winter in areas of the United States.

“This year, the Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC) is forecasting record heartworm cases, mainly because the warmer winter temperatures and increased precipitation most of the United States had will lead to an increased mosquito population across the country. Mosquitoes transmit heartworm, and heartworm can be deadly to pets.” ~ PetGuide.com

When I read the article, I thought about our winter in the Pacific Northwest – snow, ice, below 20-degree temperatures.  It was so cold here that I had to hire a pet sitter for the dogs (aka my stepson).  So I can't imagine that we're going to have a problem with mosquitoes.  At least I hope not because we have four ponds – havens for mosquitoes – and I can only hope that we have enough frogs to keep them under control.  But then I realized…

It's Not All About Me!!!

We don't have heartworm in Washington State, yet.  Several veterinarians have told me that this may not always be the case.  I don't treat my dogs for heartworm, but I check in with our vet annually to make sure that my dogs are still safe.  But many areas of the country deal with heartworm and the treatment to prevent heartworm is grueling for many dogs.

Isn't there something natural?

What is Heartworm?

Heartworm is a parasite transmitted by mosquitoes that dine on infected animals.  The larvae are passed into a dog's bloodstream where it travels to the heart, growing along the way until you eventually have a dog with long worms surrounding their heart.  If you have a strong stomach, you can search online for images of infested hearts.  It's heartbreaking.  Heartworm is NO JOKE.

4 Natural Heartworm Prevention Treatments

DepositPhoto/irwanjos2

 

Natural Preventatives for Heartworm

At first, I believed that there was nothing anyone could do to prevent heartworm is their dog is at risk, but I've been hearing amazing stories from people who treat their dogs with natural supplements.  It's important for a dog to have a healthy immune system.  I believe that feeding a dog a species appropriate, raw diet will help boost their immune system. However, it doesn't make dogs bulletproof.  So I'm not stating that feeding raw will protect dogs from heartworm – it's just a piece of the puzzle.

Watch healthy white blood cells attack a parasite; it's amazing what a healthy immune system can do!  “The immune system in action! This 11-second video shows how white blood cells (eosinophils) attack a parasitic worm in 80 mins.”

 

Using a natural treatment is slower than a chemical treatment offered by the vet. However, I've read that it's safer and less painful for dogs.  And like the chemical treatment, it slowly kills the heartworm; killing them all at once may seem like the best idea, but we don't want them to create a blockage in the dog's system.

I've read that it is best to use a natural treatment when a dog has tested positive for heartworm but has not started exhibiting symptoms.

  • Black Walnut Hull works to cleanse a dog's system, including the digestive system and bloodstream.  It kills the heartworm parasite before it has time to grow to maturity.
  • HWF (formerly Heartworm Free) is a liquid supplement that helps to strengthen a dog's immune system to help them overcome heartworm naturally.
  • Garlic (a minced bulb) added to a dog's meal works to prevent heartworm from maturing.
  • Guinness Beer has been said to both prevent and treat heartworm.  It has to be a specific beer.

What's the dosage?  How do we use these treatments?

Black Walnut Hull: when used incorrectly, black walnut can be toxic.  It is best to use a tincture or capsule created by a holistic veterinarian.  In searching for a dosage, the most common thing I read was to add one drop per 10 pounds of body weight to the food daily for two to three weeks.

You will find tinctures online, however, before buying, make sure the tincture is safe for dogs.  Speak with your veterinarian to confirm product, dosage, and how long treatment should last.

HWF (formerly Heartworm Free):  HWF makes it easy by providing users with an easy to follow chart and instructions to follow on their website:  HeartWormFree.com

Garlic:  According to Dr. Pitcairn, the following dosage is recommended:

  • 10 to 15 pounds – half a clove.
  • 20 to 40 pounds – 1 clove.
  • 45 to 70 pounds – 2 cloves.

I have a friend (Hey, T) who crushes up cloves and adds it to her dogs' food as a preventative.  Before you race to email me about the dangers of feeding garlic, please note that I would have to feed 7 or more whole garlic bulbs to my dogs to reach toxic levels.

Guinness Beer: I wrote about the Guinness Beer heartworm treatment some time ago, and I find it fascinating because occasionally I get a comment that it works.  I can't speak to the validity of this treatment; I can only point you to the comments on the post.

What About Essential Oils?

In my research, I discovered an article by Dana Scott on treating heartworm with essential oils. However, I'm still on the fence when it comes to adding essential oils to a dog's diet.  I've been told that it's safe by some while others say that it can be toxic.  So please proceed carefully, seeking the guidance of your vet.

 

 

Treating Heartworm Naturally

Heartworm should be taken seriously, and before taking on a DIY at home treatment, I suggest that you contact a local holistic veterinarian.

  • CLICK HERE to search the AHVMA for a holistic veterinarian.

I know that treating heartworm naturally is possible because several veterinarians are posting about it online.  Dr. Peter Dobias, whom I follow and respect, wrote an article about treating heartworm naturally for Dogs Naturally Magazine.  Dr. William Falconer is known for naturally treating heartworm and believes that heartworm is so prevalent in some areas because we've weakened our dogs' immune system through poor diet, over vaccination, and chemical flea and tick treatments.  Read more about heartworm and his thoughts on Whole Dog Journal.

Take the time to speak with your vet and explore all of your options to help protect your dog.  Let one of the steps you take be transitioning to a species appropriate diet to improve your dog's immune system.

Naturally Repel Pests and Protect Your Dog

I don't currently vaccinate or treat my dogs for heartworm because it's not a concern in Washington state at the moment; however, this can change so I discuss treatment with my vet annually.  I do add 3-5 cloves of fresh, crushed garlic to their diet (it's the newest ingredient in their veggie mix), however, this is done to repel fleas, not protect against heartworm.  I also use natural products to repel pests and protect my dogs from fleas and ticks.

Wondercide, essential oils and a raw food diet is doing a great job of protecting my dogs from fleas and ticks.  We haven't had fleas in 7 years.  We used chemical drops the first two years of Rodrigo and Sydney's lives and when I learned about the risks, I switched over to essential oils.

  • CLICK HERE to purchase Wondercide flea, tick, and mosquito repellents on Amazon.com.
  • CLICK HERE for DIY recipes using essential oils.

 

Pin It on Pinterest