NexGard and HeartGard for Dogs
NexGard and HeartGard, manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim, target different pests that may afflict dogs. NexGard is renowned for its potent efficacy against fleas and ticks, while HeartGard mainly prevents heartworms. They work hand in hand, each addressing unique issues that, when combined, provide a broad spectrum of protection for dogs.
NexGard: Flea and Tick Defender
NexGard is an oral medication that is a champion in the fight against fleas and ticks. Its active ingredient, Afoxolaner, interferes with the nervous system of these pests, leading to their death. NexGard’s swift action usually results in the extermination of fleas and ticks within 24 hours of ingestion. Notably, it’s also effective in controlling the Black-legged tick, Lone Star tick, and the American Dog tick, which are notorious for transmitting Lyme disease.
HeartGard: Shield Against Heartworms
HeartGard, on the other hand, uses Ivermectin and Pyrantel as active ingredients. These compounds are effective in preventing heartworm disease, a potentially fatal condition for dogs. HeartGard also helps in controlling and treating other parasitic infestations like roundworms and hookworms, enhancing its value in a comprehensive parasite control program.
Can You Give NexGard and HeartGard Together?
Given that NexGard and HeartGard each target different parasites, administering them together should not pose a problem. However, for first-time users, it’s advisable to stagger their introduction by a few days. This approach allows pet owners to discern which drug may be responsible should any adverse reaction occur.
Examining the Efficacy of NexGard and HeartGard
In their respective roles, NexGard and HeartGard have proven to be highly effective. NexGard’s key ingredient, Afoxolaner, is fast-acting, eliminating fleas and ticks within 24 hours of administration. Not only does it kill adult fleas, preventing them from laying eggs, but it also proves lethal to various tick species, including those responsible for transmitting Lyme disease.
HeartGard, with its dual active components of Ivermectin and Pyrantel, shields canines from heartworm disease, a serious and potentially lethal condition. Beyond heartworm prevention, this medication also controls and treats infestations of roundworms and hookworms, contributing to broader parasite control.
Optimal Administration of NexGard and HeartGard
While NexGard and HeartGard serve distinct purposes, they complement each other in a holistic approach to parasitic prevention. Both are designed for monthly administration, making it convenient for pet owners to establish a regular care routine. It’s also worth noting that both products come as tasty chews, easing the process of getting your furry friend to take their medication.
When introducing these medications for the first time, it’s advisable to administer them separately, with a couple of days in between. This strategy helps you identify the source should your pet exhibit any adverse reactions. It’s worth noting that reactions are rare, with the majority of dogs tolerating these medications well.
Possible Side Effects and Precautions
As with any medication, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects associated with NexGard and HeartGard. While these medications are generally well-tolerated, some dogs may experience gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting or diarrhea. Less common side effects for NexGard include itching, lethargy, and lack of appetite, while HeartGard might cause tremors and dilated pupils in rare cases.
Always consult with your veterinarian if you notice any unusual behavior or adverse reactions after administration. Additionally, these medications should be used with caution in dogs with a history of seizures or other neurological conditions.
Embracing the Dual Defense
NexGard and HeartGard form a formidable duo in defending against the common threats of fleas, ticks, and heartworms. Their different active ingredients work in tandem to ensure your furry friend is well-protected. As you navigate your dog’s health routine, remember that these medications are tools to help maintain their health and happiness. Your vet remains your best ally in tailoring the right parasite prevention strategy for your dog.
Cost-Effective Alternatives and Buying Tips
For pet parents seeking alternatives to NexGard and HeartGard due to cost or other concerns, other brands offer similar protections. Simparica Trio is one such example, which covers fleas, ticks, and heartworms, potentially coming out cheaper than the combination of NexGard and HeartGard.
Remember, purchasing from reliable sources is crucial to avoid counterfeit products. Online pet supply stores like Chewy, or bulk retailers like Costco, often provide these medications at competitive prices. However, they will require a prescription from a vet, which usually necessitates a recent heartworm test.
Are NexGard and HeartGard Safe for All Dogs?
NexGard and HeartGard are considered safe for most dogs, but they aren’t suitable for every single one. HeartGard is approved for use in puppies as young as six weeks old, while NexGard is approved for puppies at least eight weeks old and weighing at least four pounds. If your dog has a known sensitivity to the active ingredients in either medication (Afoxolaner for NexGard, and Ivermectin and Pyrantel for HeartGard), these medications should be avoided.
Furthermore, these medications should be used cautiously in dogs with a history of seizures or other neurological disorders. It’s always best to consult your veterinarian about the safety and suitability of these medications for your specific pet.
How Do I Administer NexGard and HeartGard?
Both NexGard and HeartGard are orally administered and come in the form of beef-flavored chews, which most dogs readily accept as treats. They are designed to be given once a month. Consistent administration is critical to maintain effective protection against fleas, ticks, and heartworms.
While you can administer both medications on the same day, it’s recommended to separate them by a few days when first starting, to help identify the source of any potential adverse reactions.
Can I Use NexGard and HeartGard for Cats?
NexGard is exclusively approved for use in dogs. It’s not safe or effective for cats, and should never be used in felines. HeartGard, on the other hand, does have a version formulated for cats – HeartGard for Cats. But remember, HeartGard for Cats is not interchangeable with HeartGard for Dogs. Always use the correct product as directed for the specific species.
What Should I Do If I Miss a Dose?
If you miss a dose of either NexGard or HeartGard, administer the missed dose as soon as you remember. Then, continue with the regular dosing schedule. However, do not give two doses at once or give extra doses. Maintaining a consistent schedule is crucial for these medications to effectively protect your pet.
Are There Any Drug Interactions I Should Be Aware Of?
NexGard and HeartGard don’t have any common drug interactions, but that doesn’t mean they can’t interact with other medications your dog might be taking. Always inform your veterinarian of all medications your dog is currently taking, including over-the-counter products and supplements, before starting a new medication.
How Should I Store NexGard and HeartGard?
Both NexGard and HeartGard should be stored at controlled room temperature, away from moisture and direct sunlight. Be sure to keep them in their original packaging until it’s time for administration. Most importantly, store these and all other medications out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion.
Can NexGard and HeartGard be used year-round?
Yes, both NexGard and HeartGard are designed for year-round use. Parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworms pose a threat throughout the year, not just in the warmer months. Regular, year-round treatment ensures consistent protection against these pests. Remember, monthly administration of these medications is key to maintain their effectiveness.
What if my dog vomits after taking NexGard or HeartGard?
If your dog vomits shortly after taking either NexGard or HeartGard, it’s possible that the medication may not have been properly absorbed into the body. Consult your vet for advice. In some cases, your vet may recommend administering another full dose, particularly if the vomiting occurred within a short time of administration.
Can pregnant or lactating dogs take NexGard and HeartGard?
HeartGard is considered safe for use in pregnant or lactating dogs. However, the safety of NexGard has not been evaluated in breeding, pregnant, or lactating dogs. Always consult with your veterinarian before administering these medications to a pregnant or lactating dog.
Can NexGard and HeartGard be used in conjunction with other medications?
In general, NexGard and HeartGard can be safely used alongside most other medications. However, it’s essential to inform your veterinarian about all the drugs your pet is currently receiving. This includes other prescription drugs, over-the-counter products, and even dietary supplements. This will allow your vet to assess any potential risk of drug interactions and advise accordingly.
Are there any contraindications for NexGard and HeartGard?
Yes, NexGard and HeartGard have some contraindications. NexGard should not be given to dogs younger than eight weeks old or weighing less than four pounds. It should also not be used in dogs with a known sensitivity to Afoxolaner. For HeartGard, it should not be used in puppies less than six weeks old or in dogs with a known sensitivity to Ivermectin or Pyrantel. Additionally, dogs should be tested for existing heartworm infection before starting on HeartGard.
What should I do in case of an overdose?
If you suspect your pet has consumed more than the recommended dose of NexGard or HeartGard, seek immediate veterinary attention. Signs of overdose may include vomiting, loss of appetite, excessive drooling, tremors, or unusual behavior. Always keep these medications out of reach from pets and children to prevent accidental ingestion.
What Are the Side Effects of NexGard and HeartGard?
Like any medication, NexGard and HeartGard can have potential side effects. For NexGard, these can include vomiting, itching, diarrhea, lethargy, and lack of appetite. Less commonly, some dogs might experience dry or flaky skin, seizures, or behavioral changes.
In the case of HeartGard, side effects are rare but could include vomiting, diarrhea, and lack of appetite. In the case of an overdose, or if a dog ingests HeartGard not intended for its weight class, symptoms could include dilated pupils, stumbling, tremors, or drooling.
Remember, while these side effects can occur, they are not common and these medications are considered safe for most dogs. Always monitor your dog after administration and report any concerns to your vet.
Is there a Weight Requirement for NexGard and HeartGard?
Yes, there are weight requirements for both NexGard and HeartGard. NexGard is suitable for dogs that are at least eight weeks old and weigh at least four pounds. HeartGard, on the other hand, is safe for puppies as young as six weeks, with no minimum weight requirement.
These medications come in different dosages based on weight classes to ensure your dog gets the correct amount. It’s essential to choose the right product for your dog’s current weight to ensure effectiveness and safety.
Can I Use NexGard or HeartGard if my Dog is on a Special Diet?
Yes, NexGard and HeartGard are not known to interact with any specific dog diets. Whether your dog is on a weight management plan, a hypoallergenic diet, or any other specialized dietary regimen, it should still be safe to administer these medications. However, if your dog has food allergies, particularly to beef, it’s best to discuss this with your vet, as both products are beef-flavored.
What if my Dog Spits Out the NexGard or HeartGard Chew?
If your dog spits out the chew, you can try to offer it again. Some pet owners find it helpful to hide the chew in a treat or a small amount of food. If your dog consistently refuses the chew, contact your vet for advice. There may be other formulations or brands that your pet finds more palatable.
What Happens if my Dog is Exposed to Ticks or Mosquitos Before NexGard or HeartGard Takes Effect?
While NexGard starts killing fleas within four hours and ticks within 12 hours, there is a brief window where exposure could occur. Similarly, HeartGard is designed to kill the larvae of the heartworms that your dog was exposed to in the preceding month, it does not prevent the immediate bite from mosquitos. If you live in a high-risk area for ticks or mosquitos, discuss additional protective measures with your vet. Regular checks for ticks and using mosquito deterrents can add extra layers of protection.