photo of beagle with caption heartworm prevention in dogs

11 Home Remedies for Heartworm Prevention in Dogs

Mosquitoes are not only annoying pests, but they can also carry a potentially deadly disease that they may pass along to your dog. That deadly disease is most commonly referred to as heartworm disease and it can be naturally prevented.

In this post we’ll point you toward 11 home remedies for heartworm prevention in dogs to help keep your beloved pup safe. But first let’s look at what causes this disease.

Infestation with a parasitic nematode known as dirofilaria immitis in your dog is what causes the condition. It is contracted when your dog is bitten by a mosquito which is carrying the parasite.

The disease’s severity depends upon how many worms present in the body of the infected dog, how long the host has been infected, and the ability of the host’s immune system to ward off the infection.

Unfortunately, many over-the-counter heartworm medicines for pets contain ivermectin, a chemical tied to numerous side-effects, from liver issues, thyroid dysfunction, and fever to seizures, paralysis, and even sudden death.

According to Dr. Jeanette (Jeannie) Thomason,

65% of adverse drug reactions and 48% of all reported deaths resulting from drug reactions are caused by heartworm preventatives.

It is unclear why these drugs may cause such aggressive reactions, but it is widely believed that they weaken the pet’s immune system, thus, making it more prone to other diseases and conditions.

As a result, many pet owners now seek natural therapies when it comes to heartworm prevention instead of running this high risk with their pets on a monthly basis.

Heartworm prevention in dogs can be achieved through these 11 all-natural remedies, but they are not entirely fail-proof. In severe cases, if your dog or other pet displays symptoms of heartworm infestation take them to a certified vet ASAP.

11 Home Remedies for Heartworm Prevention in Dogs

1.Wormwood/ Artemisia

We’ll start off with this remedy because it is one that needs to be used with extreme caution. Wormwood has been used for centuries as a means to get rid of all sorts of parasites in both humans and pets.

What to do:

🐾 Add 1/8 tsp of wormwood tincture per 30 pounds of your dog’s weight within to their food.

🐾 Do not treat your dog with wormwood for more than 3 days in a row, as the overuse of the herb has been tied to damage to the nervous system and kidney and liver impairment.

🐾 Wormwood is bitter so consider adding it to a sweet treat or food.

⚙ How it works:
Put simply, wormwood is toxic to parasitic nematodes (roundworms) and kills them.

⚠ Caution:

Wormwood is a powerful dewormer that has been used for centuries to help pets eliminate parasites. But it also contains absinthe which is not safe to use in large doses if your dog has a liver or kidney problem or is prone to seizures.

Also, steer clear of wormwood-based remedies that contain alcohol if your pet has the said health issues. Wormwood is not safe for pregnant pets, either.

2. Coconut Oil

Heartworm prevention can also be accomplished through regularly feeding your dog coconut oil. Besides being extremely safe, this healthy superfood has a number of nutritional benefits besides getting rid of parasites.

What to do:

🐾 Give you dog 1 tsp of coconut oil for every 10 pounds of body weight in its food.

🐾 Alternatively, you can give your dog coconut milk in the amount of 1 oz. for every 10 pounds of body weight mixed into its meals.

⚙ How it works:
Coconut oil is known to both repel and expel parasites.

3. Carrots

This remedy is a typical staple in most homes. Besides being entirely safe and providing excellent vitamins and minerals, carrots are a popular heartworm prevention treatment.

What to do:

🐾 Finely grate 1 oz. of carrots for every 10 pounds of weight.

🐾 Mix grated carrots into your dog’s regular food with every feeding.

⚙ How it works:
Carrots produce anti-parasitic compounds which are a safe and effective way of keeping heartworms at bay and avoiding their spread.

little boy holding his dog

4. Black Walnut Extract

Heartworm prevention without the use of risky drug reactions tend to point toward black walnut extract as one of the most potent home remedies.

What to do:

🐾 Add one drop of black walnut extract per every 10 pounds of weight to your dog’s food once daily.

🐾 For smaller dogs, the dosage is typically 1 drop the first week, 1 drop every 3rd day in the second week and then 1 drop every other day after that.

⚙ How it works:
Black walnut is a powerful dewormer with antimicrobial properties that kills heartworm larvae before they can mature. It is also a cleansing agent which helps the dog’s metabolism and boosts its immunity.

⚠ Caution:

In small dogs, start with a low dosage because the herb contains a powerful antimicrobial agent that may prove toxic to smaller breeds. Also, don’t use black walnut on pregnant dogs or pets with a long history of GI issues.

5. Cloves

Another natural heartworm preventive which is probably present on the spice rack of every home is cloves. Cloves are a very safe alternative home remedy for heartworm prevention in your dog.

What to do:

🐾 Crush 2 to 3 whole cloves and add to your dog’s food daily (make sure that you don’t use more than 1 clove per 10 lbs of your pet’s weight).

🐾 You can use powdered cloves, but be sure that there is nothing else added.

⚙ How it works:
Cloves work in a similar way to black walnut in that they kill or prevent the growth of heartworm larvae.

⚠ Caution:

In high doses, this natural home remedy for heartworm prevention can be toxic to small dogs. Also, it is not safe to give to pregnant or lactating pets.

6. Garlic

Not only is garlic a great antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb, but it also has anti-parasitic properties and insect repellent potential.

Garlic is safe for dogs to consume up to 20 garlic cloves a day, as new research suggests that garlic is just as an effective dewormer as its less safe counterpart ivermectin.

What to do:

🐾 Crush 1 fresh garlic clove per each 10 pounds of weight and mix into food at least 5 times per week.

🐾 If you use dehydrated, minced garlic, be sure to read the label to determine what amount of minced garlic is equal to one clove.

⚙ How it works:
Garlic serves two functions in heartworm prevention. It repels mosquitoes and it cleanses the larvae of the parasite from the blood stream.

On top of that, it is a natural immune booster, which helps the body better fight off and repel unwanted guests.

⚠ Caution:

Garlic contains allicin, a natural blood thinner, so don’t pair garlic with aspirin, ginko biloba, and other natural or pharmaceutical medications against blood clots.

Also, don’t give your pet a garlic-based home remedy before surgery. Garlic is not good for pregnant/ lactating pets either. Also, if your pet is anemic, skip this natural remedy, as allicin can make things worse if the anemia is left untreated.

Plus, don’t give garlic to small puppies (up to eight weeks old) as you may up their risk of becoming anemic since their bodies are not ready to offset garlic’s less positive effects.

7. Hawthorn and Dandelion Tincture

Heartworm prevention is boosted when your dog’s heart is stronger. Hawthorn and dandelion tincture helps to strengthen and support your dog’s heart muscle, improve its circulation and works as a diuretic to help flush the parasite out of its system.

What to do:

🐾 Add two drops of a commercial hawthorn and dandelion tincture for every 3 pounds of body weight daily.

🐾 Make your own hawthorn berry tincture and dandelion tincture, mix the two and use as suggested above.

⚙ How it works:
Working as a team, hawthorn increases circulation, which makes the heart’s job easier and dandelion helps to flush the toxins out of the body.

owner and dog hugging in a field

8. Medicinal Mushrooms

First of all, keep your dog away from wild mushrooms, 9 times out of 10 they are toxic, so don’t even risk it. The cool thing is that dogs will typically woof them down as treats.

What to do:

🐾 Give a ¼ tsp of a commercial mushroom defense formula for every 15 pounds of weight daily.

🐾 Alternatively, give your dog 1 to 3 button type, store bought mushrooms as treats each day.

⚙ How it works:
Heartworm prevention is aided by boosting your dog’s immune response to all pathogens and parasites mushrooms help provide that immunity boost.

9. Geranium and Lemongrass Spray

A great way to prevent heartworms, which can only be passed on to your dog via mosquitoes, is to keep mosquitoes from biting your dog. By spraying a mixture of geranium and lemongrass essential oils on your dog before you take it outdoors, you can go a long way in preventing heartworms.

What to do:

🐾 Mix 2 Tbsp of witch hazel with 2 Tbsp of olive or coconut oil as the base.

🐾 Add 50 drops each of therapeutic-grade geranium essential oil and lemongrass essential oil to the base.

🐾 Place in a container with a spray handle.

🐾 Spray your dog each time you take it outside.

⚙ How it works:
Both of these oils repel fleas, ticks, biting flies and mosquitoes. Used in combination they are extremely effective at keeping mosquitoes off of your dog.

10. Coenzyme Q10

This supplement, though not specifically a home remedy, might already be in your own pantry. Humans typically use CoQ10 as a natural means of controlling blood pressure, macular degeneration, asthma and more, but it can also be given to your dog to help with heartworm prevention.

What to do:

🐾 Give 100 mg per day to a medium to large dog and half that much to a smaller dog.

🐾 Can be obtained in capsules that can easily be added into your dog’s food.

How it works:
Coenzyme Q10 works on the same principal as hawthorn and mushrooms. By using this supplement, you can boost your dog’s immunity and strengthen its heart at the same time.

11. Diet

Heartworm prevention is best accomplished through good nutrition. If your dog has a healthy immune system, it is far more likely to be able to eliminate the heartworm parasite before it has a chance to do its damage.

What to do:

🐾 Stay away from dog foods with chemical additives, colorings, hormones and artificial flavorings.

🐾 Your dog’s diet should consist of 56% protein, 30% fats and 14% carbohydrates.

🐾 Add grated raw carrots, fennel, shredded coconut and papaya to your dog’s diet to create an inhospitable environment for parasites.

🐾 Give 1 tsp for each 10 pounds of weight of raw pumpkin seeds to your dog’s food to help them expel parasites.

🐾 Supplement your pet’s diet with Diatomaceous Earth (DE) if you suspect that it may have intestinal worms. DE has been proven a great natural dewormer for livestock and pets time and time again. However, choose only a food-grade product which doesn’t contain any harmful additives. Nevertheless, don’t expect DE to help prevent or get rid of heartworms on its own. It can only fight off and repel intestinal parasites, which in the end, makes the immune system’s job easier at keeping the heartworms at bay.

⚙ How it works:
By feeding your dog a diet that more closely resembles its natural diet, adding a few supplements and staying away from unnatural chemicals, your dog’s immune system should be able to ward off a heartworm infection on its own.

little girl holding her dog tightly

Final Thoughts

Heartworms can be dangerous and potentially fatal, because of this fact, it is often easy to be convinced that the pharmaceutical option is the best option, but given the risks involved in their use, they may not be the best thing for your dog.

Heartworm prevention can be accomplished in a variety of ways at home through the use of natural, alternative remedies.

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9 comments

  • How long do I feed the coco nut oil? every night? Or is there a limit to how long I should feed it? I absolutely love the fact that I have natural alternatives, Thank you so very much

    Rhonda Abbett

  • I successfully treated/cured my 15 pound Westie with heartworm using the following:
    Coconut Oil (I used capsules and fed them like a treat – one 1000mg capsule per day)
    Black Seed Oil (aka Black Cumin Seed Oil – one 500mg capsule per day)
    Fish Oil (I used Barleans, one capsule daily, unsure of the mg equivalent)
    Mercola Organic Mushroom Complex for pets (3/4 scoop per day)

    She’s 10 years old, has been raw-fed since 18 months, and only contracted heartworm after having to use a systemic flea treatment on her last fall. I suspect that took its toll on her normally healthy immune system. This was the first time in 10 years she had a health issue of any kind. It was a Friday night after a long walk when I realized after some quick research that she must have heart worm. Though we were prepared to take her to the animal ER, we did not have to. She was significantly better after just 24-28 hours on the oils, so undoubtedly it was the addition of the supplements. The Mushroom was added about day 4-5 due to shipping time, but the other stuff I had on hand and started immediately. It did take about 4-6 weeks before I would have considered her recovery complete.

    Just wanted to share so that someone else may benefit. I have continued her on this regimen as a preventative, as well, as we are hikers and backpackers and are exposed to quite a few mosquitos seasonally.

    • It was interesting that yours got the heart worm after a systemic flea treatment. Unfortunately that’s what happened with ours as well. She is six and has been raw fed since we got her at one.
      We used a herbal tonic from herbalist Caraf Avnayt successfully for our Westie’s heart worm. We are looking into natural flea treatments now.

    • Thank you guys for sharing these tips. I just came home from the vet and gave me a heartworm, tick and fleas regiment for my baby once a month. She has been on a raw diet since we got her and has been on organic veggies as well. Upon receiving the pills I felt uneasiness in the pit of my stomach.So, I started to research a natural preventive regiment for my baby. Reading your reviews help me decide that I will not give her those pills.

  • Thank you for these tips. I have been giving my dog heartguard for over 3 years. I am just now starting to take him off the pill because i am learning how bad it is for him. Does goats milk help prevent heartworm?