Is it Safe to Give NexGard to Dogs?
Yes, it is safe to give NexGard to dogs. Safe use of NexGard is ensured in dogs with more than four pounds of body weight and puppies over eight weeks of age.
NexGard is a new generation product formulated by the makers of Frontline (trademark of the Boehringer Ingelheim Group, USA). NexGard is the first flea killer and tick killer of its kind.
NexGard is a prescription medication, meaning pet parents that want to treat their dogs with this revolutionary product need to talk to a vet and get a prescription first.
What is NexGard Used for in Dogs?
NexGard is formulated and FDA-approved for the prevention of tick and flea infestations in dogs. However, it can also be used off-label in the treatment of canine mange. Let’s look at what NexGard does in dogs.
NexGard for Dog Tick and Flea Control. NexGard controls pest infestations by working against the cat flea called Ctenocephalides felis and several tick species, including the black-legged (deer) tick (Ixodes scapularis), the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), and the Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum).
NexGard Against Vector Diseases in Dogs. As a direct result of killing ticks and fleas, Nexgard protects dogs from several diseases. For example, by killing Ixodes scapularis vector ticks, it prevents Borrelia burgdorferi infections (Lyme Disease). It also prevents flea allergy dermatitis in dogs allergic to flea saliva.
NexGard for Mange in Dogs. Off-label, NexGard can be used to treat dogs with mange (sarcoptic and demodectic). Scabies and demodicosis are common parasitic infections in dogs, especially in young puppies and immunocompromised adults. NexGard is usually prescribed in conjunction with other treatment approaches and medications.
What are the Side Effects of Dogs Taking NexGard?
In some dogs, NexGard may trigger side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, lethargy, dry and flaky skin. If you notice some of these issues, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
The safe use of NexGard has not been fully determined in breeding, pregnant, and lactating dogs. Also, extra caution is indicated if using NexGard in dogs with a history of seizures and neurological disorders. Obviously, it should not be used at all in dogs with allergic reactions to the active ingredient Afoxolaner.
Can NexGard Kill My Dog?
There are some concerning reports about dogs dying after using NexGard. However, in those official reports, there are no mentions of pre-existing health issues as well as concomitant use with other medications which could trigger complications.
NexGard Dosage for Dogs
The minimum recommended dose of NexGard for dogs is 1.14 mg per pound of body weight (2.5 mg per kg). For simple use, the NexGard chewable tablets come in four predetermined dosages:
- NexGard Chew for Dogs, 4-10 lbs, (Orange Box)
- NexGard Chew for Dogs, 10.1-24 lbs, (Blue Box)
- NexGard Chew for Dogs, 24.1-60 lbs, (Purple Box)
- NexGard Chew for Dogs, 60.1-121 lbs, (Red Box).
For dogs weighing over 120 pounds of body weight, it is advisable to use a combination of NexGard chewable tablets.
In case you miss giving your dog NexGard, give the chew as soon as you remember and then keep dosing every 30 days. Alternatively, if it is time for the next dosing, skip the missed one and continue with the original schedule. Either way, don’t give two NexGard doses at once.
How Long does it Take for NexGard to Start Working?
Most of the fleas and ticks on your dog will die within hours of administration using NexGard. Usually, NexGard starts killing fleas within 8 hours of exposure and ticks within 48 hours of exposure.
We should note that if there is a heavy flea infestation in the house, you will keep seeing fleas on the dog for a couple of days after using NexGard.
This is because the fleas will keep jumping on the dog in search of blood meals and get killed after they do. The more fleas jump, the faster you will eliminate the infestation.
NexGard for Dogs Usage Guidelines
NexGard is available in the form of a beef-flavored soft chew, thus making the administration straightforward. Afoxolaner can be given with or without food and/or water.
Either way, you need to ensure the dog consumed the complete dose and part of the dose is not lost. If your dog happens to vomit less than two hours after the administration, you need to give it another full dose.
You can start the NexGard protection strategy at any time of the year. However, if you live in a place where ticks and fleas are active and common year-round, you should practice a monthly dosing schedule during the entire year with no interruption.
If living in a household with multiple pets, to minimize the likelihood of flea reinfestation, you will have to use NexGard chewables or another FDA-approved flea control product on all dogs regardless of whether they have fleas or not.
Finally, be mindful of storage. NexGard must be kept in a cool (below 86 °F with acceptable excursions up to 104 °F) and dry place, away from heat and light. Proper storage is critical for maintaining the product’s efficacy.
Is NexGard by Prescription Only?
Yes, you need a prescription from a licensed veterinarian to get NexGard. To be valid, it needs to be issued within the last 12 months. There are many over-the-counter preventive products. However, it is always recommended to talk with a vet before use.
NexGard Drug and Food Interactions
Based on current knowledge, there are no food and drug interactions with NexGard. In a well-controlled field study, the tick and flea treatment was used in conjunction with drugs such as antibiotics (oral and topical), anthelmintics, vaccines, steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antihistamines, and anesthetics. There were no adverse reactions associated with the concomitant NexGard use.
How Quickly does NexGard Kills Fleas?
NexGard is a quick-acting medication. It kills fleas within eight and ticks within 48 hours of the initial administration. Then, it protects the dog against fleas for a minimum of five weeks and four weeks or one month against ticks.
Does NexGard Kill Fleas Before They Bite?
No, NexGard does not kill fleas before they bite. Fleas and ticks are exposed to NexGard’s active ingredient called Afoxolaner after they bite the dog and while taking the blood meal.
NexGard Alternatives for Dogs
If your dog is not a suitable candidate for NexGard, do not worry, there are some alternatives available. Here is a short review of some of the most popular NexGard alternatives for dogs.
Bravecto for Dogs. Bravecto is easily comparable with NexGard as they both come in the form of oral chews and have similar effects. However, with Fluralaner as its active ingredient, Bravecto is more potent and protects against fleas and ticks for up to three months.
Comfortis for Dogs. Comfortis is a soft chew with Spinosad as the active ingredient. Comfortis starts working in only 30 minutes, kills fleas before they lay eggs, and protects for one month. However, it does not kill ticks and is not indicated for young puppies (<14 weeks).
In case you find chewable tablets hard to use (or your dog is a fussy eater), you can try a spot-on flea and tick medicine. Here are some topicals you can try.
Frontline for Dogs. Frontline is an OTC with Fipronil as an active ingredient. Frontline kills fleas, ticks, and chewing lice by causing neurologic disorders. When using Frontline, your dog needs to be fully dry and avoid bathing and petting in the next 48 hours.
All in all, there are many products for preventing flea and tick infestations in dogs. However, they are not all made the same, and they are not universally suitable. Therefore, do not forget to consult with your trusted vet. The information in this article is purely educational.