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The Myths about Home Remedies for Heartworm in Dogs

There are a number of reasons many dog owners think that heartworm infection spells death for their pets. It takes long before the presence of these parasites in your dog can be detected, and usually by that time, the infestation is already serious. Heartworm infestation can bring about several life-threatening symptoms, which includes loss of appetite, coughing, fever, and hemorrhage.

What makes heartworms even more formidable is the fact that treating them has considerable risks. There's always the danger of embolism, which occurs when dead heartworms block the blood flow to the lungs. More often than not, dogs infected with heartworms become too weak for conventional veterinary treatments. As such, there's always the risk of death for dogs who undergo them.

For this reason, it is no longer surprising why many dog owners are looking for alternative options for treating their heartworm-infested pets. Apart from the fact that heartworm treatments are risky, they can also be quite costly. This is where home remedies for heartworm in dogs come in. Unlike most conventional medical procedures, home remedies for heartworm are natural, readily available and cheap.

However, home remedies for heartworm are not what they are cranked up to be. The following are some of the well-propagated myths about them:

Myth #1: Feeding your dog garlic will get rid of heartworms.

The Truth: While garlic may be effective against other pests that plague your dog, the same isn't true with heartworms. As opposed to what most people think, garlic can do very little to eliminate these pests in your pet. What it can do, however, is to repel mosquitoes that might be carrying heartworms with them. Its pungent taste and smell is guaranteed to ward off those flying insects. So, in essence, garlic may be able to help you prevent heartworms but not get rid of them.

Garlic also has a catch: it is poisonous. If taken in huge amounts, garlic can be toxic for dogs. In addition, not all dogs can benefit from it. Garlic contains N-propyldisulfhide and S-methyl cysteine sulfoxide, two things that are not suitable for anemic dogs.

Myth #2: Black walnut is an excellent deworming agent.

The Truth: While it is well-known that black walnut is used against parasites, there is no consensus over its effectiveness against heartworms. As a matter of fact, it is believed that black walnut is too toxic for use on pets. This is because it contains tannins and alkaloids that may bring about vomiting and diarrhea. As such, black walnut should not be administered to pets without veterinary supervision.

Myth #3: Wormwood is safe for treating heartworms in dogs.

The Truth: Like black walnut, wormwood is yet another natural dewormer that isn't entirely safe for pets. Dogs who suffer from kidney problems, liver diseases and seizures should not be given wormwood. Wormwood contains absinthe, an ingredient that is believed to be addictive and highly toxic. According to FDA, long-term and high-dosage use of wormwood in humans can cause insomnia, vertigo, seizures, nausea, vomiting, and even brain damage. If it's not even safe for humans, how can it be safe for dogs?

These are just some of the myths about home remedies for heartworms in dogs. The bottomline is that alternative home remedies, although natural, are not always safe. They don't even guarantee positive results all the time, so they should never be considered as a substitute for conventional veterinary medical approach. Keep in mind that heartworm is a potentially fatal disease if not treated properly. Would you really entrust your pet's life on these home remedies?