Ivermectin For Dogs: Dosage, FAQs, and More 

Three Minutes
Feb 22, 2023

Quick Takeaways

  • Ivermectin is primarily used to treat and prevent heartworm in dogs and cats, though it can treat other internal and external parasites.
  • Ivermectin is available in various forms and can be administered as a tablet, chewable, topical liquid or paste, or an injection.
  • While generally safe for dogs, some pets may be sensitive to the drug at higher doses, and dogs with the MDR1 genetic mutation may be particularly sensitive.
  • This medication should only be given to your pet under the guidance of your vet.
  • A MetLife Pet insurance policy can help pay for medications, including ivermectin, and other treatments.

As pet owners, we want to make sure we’re keeping our furry friends as happy and healthy as possible — even if that means chasing them around the house to make sure they take their medications.

Ivermectin, a heartworm preventative, is one of the most common medications for keeping our pups healthy. Let’s dive a bit deeper into what ivermectin is and how it works.

What Is Ivermectin?

Ivermectin is a veterinary drug most commonly used to prevent heartworm in dogs and cats. However, it’s also often used to treat a variety of internal and external parasites.

What does ivermectin treat in dogs?

While ivermectin is mainly used to treat and prevent heartworm, it can also be used “extra-label” to take care of a number of parasites, including:

  • Mange
  • Scabies
  • Ear mites
  • Hookworm
  • Roundworm
  • Capillaria

This type of extra-label use must be prescribed by a veterinarian, as outlined by the FDA.1

How To Use Ivermectin for Dogs

It can be difficult to give our pets medicine at times. Luckily, ivermectin comes in a variety of forms, so you can find an option that works best for you and your dog. Ivermectin can be administered as a tablet, chewable, topical liquid or paste, or an injection (this option must be done by a qualified veterinarian).2

While ivermectin can be given with or without food, if your dog gets sick afterward, your vet may advise that you give the medicine with a treat or food. If they continue to get sick, you may want to contact your vet, as they could be having a reaction to the medication.

Regardless of the form of ivermectin you choose, this drug should only be given to your pets under the guidance of your veterinarian and should be monitored closely after it’s been given.4

Ivermectin dosage for dogs

If you give your dog ivermectin, make sure to follow the dosage instructions outlined by your veterinarian. The general rule of thumb for ivermectin dosage is 0.0015 – 0.003 mg per pound each month for heartworm prevention. For external parasite treatment, you typically administer 0.15 mg per pound for two weeks and, for internal parasites, 0.1 mg per pound one time.3

Is Ivermectin Safe for Dogs?

For the most part, ivermectin is well-tolerated by dogs; however, some pets can be sensitive to higher doses. Additionally, some dog breeds have a genetic mutation, called MDR1, that makes them particularly sensitive to ivermectin, making them more likely to show signs of toxicity.4

Symptoms of ivermectin toxicity in dogs can be acute or mild. Acute symptoms typically show up within 4 – 12 hours of ingesting the drug, while mild symptoms can show up in 2 – 3 days following ingestion.5 Symptoms of toxicity in dogs can include:

If you notice any of these symptoms from your pet, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Dog breeds that can be sensitive to ivermectin

As mentioned above, a number of dog breeds are extra sensitive to ivermectin. This sensitivity is most common in:

  • Shepherds
  • Collies
  • Longhaired whippets
  • McNabs
  • Sheepdogs
  • Silken windhounds
  • Skye terrier

Typically, the suggested doses for heartworm prevention are safe for these breeds, but it’s important to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog ivermectin.5

Pet Insurance Can Help

Ivermectin is a common drug used to treat and prevent heartworm in dogs and cats, as well as internal and external parasites. While it’s generally safe for pets, there are certain dog breeds that can be sensitive to the medication. Regardless of your pet’s breed, ivermectin should only be given under the direction and supervision of your vet. A dog insurance policy can help cover the cost of ivermectin and other medications.6 Get a free quote today.


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 1 “The Ins and Outs of Extra-Label Drug Use in Animals: A Resource for Veterinarians,” FDA

2 “Ivermectin,” VCA Animal Hospital

3 “Ivermectin (Ivomec®, Heartgard®) for Dogs and Cats,” PetPlace

4 “Ivermectin,” American College of Veterinary Pharmacists

5 “Ivermectin for Dogs: Is It Safe?,” American Kennel Club

Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.

Coverage underwritten and issued by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85254 or Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations. Application is subject to underwriting review. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC for details. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator for this coverage. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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