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Health & Wellness

Trifexis could be the key to keeping parasites away from your dog

It comes in handy against heartworm, fleas and more.

While specific ailments and medicines are common among humans and dogs, other maladies are much more pup-exclusive — with particular treatments to match. But, as many pet parents know all too well, things like hookworms and fleas are common nuisances that we can prevent to keep dogs healthy. And that’s where Trifexis comes in, which is a dog-exclusive medication designed to protect against intestinal parasites and fleas specifically.

“Trifexis is an oral monthly preventive medication for heartworms, intestinal parasites, like hookworms, roundworms and whipworms and fleas,” Dr. Emily Singler, VMD, an on-staff veterinarian at Fetch, says. And it’s safe to say this medication is for pups only. 

Is Trifexis safe for dogs?

As a preventative measure, Trifexis can be hugely beneficial. “All dogs should be on parasite prevention, including heartworm prevention,” Dr. Singler explains, who recommends regular (once a month) medication when furry family members are 8 weeks of age or older.  

“Trifexis is a good and safe preventive option for most dogs,” she adds. “Parents should consider Trifexis to keep their dog on broad-spectrum heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention that includes flea coverage without giving more than one product each month.”

Trifexis side effects in dogs

As can be the case with some oral medications, the most common side effect of Trifexis is vomiting. “While it's not a common side effect, dogs need to be re-dosed if they vomit within 1 hour of taking Trifexis,” Dr. Singler shares. “Less commonly, some dogs may have diarrhea, lethargy, decreased appetite or itchiness after taking the medication.”

Dogs with a history of seizures or epilepsy may be at higher risk for having an attack if they take Trifexis, Dr. Singler explains. And although it’s not a side effect, some dogs don't like the medication's taste or smell, making it harder to convince your pup to eat it.

Always check with your veterinarian before giving your pup any medication, including Trifexis — especially if they’re pregnant. Unfortunately, this product is off-limits for pups weighing less than 5 pounds. 

RELATED: Was your dog prescribed Sentinel? Here’s what you should know

What should I do if my dog has a negative reaction to Trifexis?

Suppose your best friend vomits after taking Trifexis on more than one occasion or has a history of seizures or epilepsy. In those cases, it might be time to turn to a different preventative medication. Or, if your dog refuses to take Trifexis, it’s a good idea to consider alternatives.

The good news is that there are many alternatives to Trifexis. Dr. Singler recommends medications like Heartgard Plus, Interceptor, Triheart Plus and Iverhart Max for oral heartworm and intestinal parasite prevention. Alternatively, Proheart is an injectable heartworm option. 

These options can all be combined with separate flea and/or tick preventatives, like Comfortis (an oral medication for fleas), Bravecto (an oral flea and tick preventative) and Frontline Plus (a topical flea and tick solution), Dr. Singler says. Another option is a topical combination preventative — like Revolution or Advantage Multi — that works against heartworm, fleas and some tick varieties.

Does Trifexis kill ticks?

Unfortunately, this medication doesn't prevent ticks, so if you wish to find something that applies to that (like Revolution), ask your vet for safe recommendations.

No matter which route you choose, Dr. Singler reminds us that it’s best to get advice from a veterinarian about the pros and cons of each medication, what they cover and which would work best for your dog.

The Dig, Fetch's expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too.

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