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Dogs and Heartworm: What To Know

Most pet owners would agree that protecting their pets from preventable health risks is an easy-to-keep priority. And while exercise, eating right and drinking plenty of water can help to keep pets healthy and active for many years, preventing deadly heartworm disease should also be among your top priorities. Understanding how heartworm disease is transmitted, how it affects pets’ health and how you can prevent your pets from contracting heartworm will help you to keep it top of mind.

What is Heartworm Disease?

Heartworm is a parasite that can enter into a dog’s bloodstream by way of a mosquito bite. Some mosquitoes can carry heartworm larva on their needle-like mouth parts from biting animals that are already infected with the disease. When an infected mosquito bites your pet, the heartworm larva enters her bloodstream. Infected pets are not contagious, so remember that heartworm is not spread from pet to pet.

How Heartworm Impacts Pets

The heartworm larva begins to mature in an infected dog’s bloodstream before taking up residence – and growing to maturity – inside the dog’s heart. As the heartworms multiply and grow, they obstruct blood flow, damage the heart and adversely affect breathing and circulation to vital organs. Although infected dogs may not immediately show any symptoms of heartworm disease, eventually they will cough, become lethargic, lose their appetite and breathe heavily. Advanced stages of heartworm disease can lead to death. However, there are a number of things you can do to prevent heartworm disease from affecting your dogs.

Preventing Heartworm

Preventing heartworm disease from affecting your furbabies is a fairly easy task. Giving your dog a monthly chewable tablet of a preventive medicine is by far the most effective form of heartworm prevention. As well, keeping dogs out of mosquito-infested areas and waterways (where mosquitoes breed) in warm weather can reduce the risk of heartworm by preventing the likelihood of mosquito bites.

Additionally, you can drain standing water from areas where your dog spends time and empty outdoor water dishes regularly. These simple tasks will keep mosquitoes from breeding and living in your dogs’ happy places and also reduce the risk of bites from mosquitoes that are infected with heartworm.

With more than 20 years of experience offering doggie daycare and grooming, we’re experts and preventing the common causes of heartworm. At Dog Day, Every Day!, we ensure you dog has easy access to fresh water, and we do not allow standing water in outside areas. To learn more about us, please give us a call at 513-860-DOGS. For more pet care tips and our latest updates, check us out on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest!

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