How much activity can a dog have during heartworm treatment? Here’s What to Expect

How to keep a dog inactive during heartworm treatment

You might be wondering how you’re supposed to keep your dog so inactive during — and after — his heartworm treatment, especially if your dog always has a ton of energy during the day.

Dogs love running and playing, so a prescription sedative could be useful when it comes to chilling your dog out.

“Many veterinarians use trazodone, an anxiolytic medication that works well in most dogs,” Dr. Marteney told The Dodo. “Other veterinarians reach for acepromazine, which is a true sedative.”

Caring for a dog after heartworm treatment can be more difficult than you might expect. It is essential that he is kept confined with limited activity levels for four weeks. After treatment, excessive activity and exercise can increase the risk of movement of the dead heartworms through the body, clogging the arteries, and creating serious heart and lung complications. After the first month has passed, you can encourage your dog to build up his strength with your vets guidance and approval.

Heartworms are life-threatening, and the treatment and recovery period can be long and tough on a dog of any age. Thankfully the success rate of treatment is approximately 98% and those dogs that have not fully cleared the worm infestation can go through additional treatment for a complete recovery. Follow your veterinarians instructions and prepare for the long period of quiet time your dog will need to be on to recover fully. Trending on LoveToKnow

If your veterinarian determines that the infestation is not fully cleared, he may require your dog to go through a second round of treatment after six months. Whether your dogs infection is cleared up during the first or second round, your veterinarian will prescribe preventative medication for your dog to stay on for the rest of his life. Your dog will need to start the preventative medication during the recovery period as it can take several months for a dog to get the “all clear” from heartworm testing. Taking a preventative right away can ensure that a new infection does not take hold while waiting for the next test.

Heartworm Positive Dogs Should Not Exercise Even On The Slow Kill Protocols.

According to the American Heartworm Society, I=if you are doing a fast-kill protocol, your heartworm-positive dog should not exercise for a minimum of 4 months, and the recommendations seem to be shifting to even 6 months – from diagnosis to 8 weeks after treatment is completed.

Likewise, if you are doing a slow-kill protocol, this means your dog should not run and play for up to two-and-a-half years, or longer. (Slow-kill is slow; many dogs do not test negative for 24 months, some dogs go three years on a slow-kill treatment.) That’s a long time to tell your dog they can’t chase a tennis ball or follow a lizard, or go on a long walk.

Talking to dog owners about rest and recovery during heartworm treatment