When your dog is diagnosed with heartworms, it can feel overwhelming and scary — not just for your dog but for you, too. At VIP Pet Services, we understand the depth of concern that comes with a heartworm positive diagnosis and the importance of providing extra care and love during heartworm treatment. With April being National Heartworm Awareness Month, it’s the perfect time to discuss prevention and the critical steps in caring for a dog undergoing heartworm treatment.


If you are beating yourself up over your dog contracting heartworms, please know that you have a compassionate support system here. Heartworm disease can happen to any dog, despite our best efforts at prevention. You are not a bad pet parent. Sometimes factors outside our control, like increasing mosquito populations, missed dose reminders, or weight gain, can put even the most caring owners in this difficult situation. What matters most is that your dog receives proper heartworm treatment as soon as possible, and that you don’t go through this scary experience alone. We are here without judgment, to equip you with the knowledge and care team to get your best friend healthy again.


While dealing with the realities of heartworm treatment, it’s crucial to remember how this painful situation could have been avoided — through proper year-round prevention. Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, which means dogs are at risk virtually every month in many areas, especially warm environments like Texas.

Mosquito seasons are getting longer with climate changes, so consistent preventative medication is a must, not just during summer months. Many veterinarians recommend year-round prevention as the easiest way to ensure no lapses in protection from this devastating disease. Heartworm preventative is far less costly that heartworm treatment.


Heartworm disease is a serious condition caused by parasitic worms living in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an infected animal. Transmitted through mosquito bites, these worms can cause severe lung disease, heart failure, and damage to other organs in the body. Prevention is always better than cure, which is why we emphasize the importance of regular heartworm preventive measures.


Heartworm treatment is a rigorous process that can be hard on your dog’s body and emotional wellbeing. It typically involves a series of injections or oral medications that kill the adult heartworms, but the dying worms can cause blockages in your pet’s heart or lungs, leading to potentially fatal complications. Therefore, caring for your dog during this time involves meticulous attention to their physical activity level, signs of distress, and overall mental health.


Strict Rest is Crucial: Limit your dog’s physical activity as much as possible during heartworm treatment. Too much movement can increase the risk of complications from the dead or dying worms. Create a calm, cozy resting space and discourage running or jumping. Setting up inviting chew toys, food puzzles, and rotating cozy bedding can relieve boredom and anxiety during confinement.

Monitor for Symptoms: Keep a very close eye on your dog for any signs of discomfort, coughing, difficulty breathing, lethargy, disinterest in food or play, or other concerning symptoms. These could indicate complications or emotional distress. Contact your veterinarian immediately with any worries. If your dog is especially anxious or difficult to keep calm, you veterinarian can also provide medications to help while your dog completes heartworm treatment.

Stay on Schedule: Ensuring your dog’s heartworm treatment and medication schedule is followed precisely is critical. Keep a detailed calendar and set reminders so nothing is missed. Ask Alexa to remind you or set an alarm on you phone. Note any new behaviors or potential side effects to discuss with your vet.

Comfort & Enrichment: From gentle massage and soft music to stimulating scent trails and new treat toys, find creative ways to ease your dog’s stress and discomfort. Setting up indoor potties and introducing new safe chews or positive reinforcement training games can also provide beneficial mental and physical outlets.

Diet & Hydration: Consult with your veterinarian about your dog’s nutritional needs during heartworm treatment. Small, frequent meals of easily digestible food can help maintain strength and energy levels. Heartworm treatment can cause appetite changes and tummy discomfort, so be sure to keep something tasty and nutritious around you know your dog will like and eat. Ensure constant access to fresh, clean water to stay hydrated. Water is how the body flushes toxins and medication metabolites out of the body. Offering your dog ice chips or small cubes can be a good way to stay hydrated and reduce boredom from confinement.


During this scary and stressful time, you don’t have to struggle alone. VIP Pet Services’ professional pet sitters can provide:

  • Focused one-on-one attention to prevent anxiety and boredom during confinement
  • Carefully monitored schedules for medications, feedings, and potty breaks
  • Creative ways to keep your dog comfortable, enriched, and emotionally supported
  • Experienced monitoring for any treatment complications or emergencies
  • Peace of mind that your dog is receiving consistently attentive care in your absence

During this stressful time, having an extra set of hands and eyes can make a world of difference. VIP Pet Services’ professional pet sitters are can provide the gentle care and close monitoring your dog needs while undergoing heartworm treatment. We understand the nuances of caring for a sick pet, from administering medication to ensuring they remain calm and rested. Let us be part of your support system, offering peace of mind that your dog is receiving the best possible care in your absence.

Together, we can make this challenging journey a little easier for you and your beloved dog. Contact us today. Your pet deserves the VIP treatment, and we’re here to provide it every step of the way.

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