15 Tips on How to Keep a Hyper Dog Calm After Heartworm Treatment

Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo

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Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


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If you’ve ever dealt with a bored dog, you understand how difficult it is to keep them calm. Now, you’re dealing with a dog that must stay calm. It’s not easy, and it hurts your heart to see your dog so bored. But heartworm will hurt your dog’s heart even more, so it’s imperative to keep your dog relaxed during treatment.

The good news is that it’s possible to wine and dine your dog without needing to entertain them every second of the day. You can try several activities and tasks, and we’re here to tell you how you can do them.


Why Keeping Your Dog Calm After Heartworm Treatment Matters

Heartworm disease is no joking matter. It’s potentially fatal if not treated. On the bright side, 95% of dogs are successfully treated with new medications that show little to no symptoms.

During the treatment phase, keeping your dog relaxed is the most important thing you can do to ensure a successful recovery.

Heartworm infects the heart, meaning the body must flush the parasite out of the heart, through the lungs, and into the vascular system. The worms decompose into smaller and smaller pieces so they can pass through the blood vessels. If your dog’s heart rate increases, the worm pieces could lodge into the blood vessels, causing a blood clot.

This doesn’t mean your dog can’t be active. It just means physical exertion must be limited. It’s hard to do with hyper dogs. Thankfully, it doesn’t last very long. Here are 15 ways to keep your dog calm during treatment in the meantime:

1. Leash Your Dog on Potty Breaks

white dog on a leash walking with owner
Image Credit: Mabel Amber, Pixabay

Dogs like to run around while outside. This is especially true when they’re on bed rest. So, to prevent your dog from running around the backyard, leash your dog for potty breaks. Take your dog inside as soon as the potty break is finished.

Some dogs don’t like to go to the bathroom when tethered to their owners. You can help by using a longer leash or staying close to your dog when it goes to the bathroom.

2. Chew, Chew, Chew

Offer your dog several of its favorite chew toys: bones, jerky treats, rubber ducks, etc. Your dog can have as many as it wants as long as the chew toys are safe. Chewing helps pass the time and satisfies the natural chewing instinct ingrained in your dog. This also prevents your dog from becoming destructive during its bed rest.

3. Avoid Having Visitors

We all know how enthusiastic dogs become when visitors stop by. But during recovery, visitors should not be allowed if at all possible. This includes two-legged and four-legged friends. Your family and friends will understand. Just tell them that your dog has to stay calm, so you’ll have to meet elsewhere

4. Create a Cozy Resting Spot

Dog sleeping with leg raised
Image Credit: Javier Brosch, Shutterstock

Since your dog will be resting a lot, now is the time to update the bed and do a little rearranging. Create a cozy resting spot for your dog that it will enjoy during bed rest. Throw down some fluffy pillows and your dog’s favorite blanket. Your dog will appreciate the new setup.

Something to remember is where you let your dog rest. One knock on the front door and your dog will jump up as fast as possible and start barking. It’s a good idea to place your dog in a space away from busy areas of the house, but not too far away that it feels lonely.

5. Prolong Mealtime

Prolonging mealtime is a great time killer. You can create all kinds of games around mealtime. Food puzzles like Kongs and snuffle mats are excellent options for satisfying your dog’s natural foraging and chewing instincts.

6. Use the Element of Surprise

Don’t give your dog all its toys at once. Instead, offer your dog one new toy or two to three different toys each day. The toys will maintain their luster a bit longer, and your dog will enjoy the change of pace. Try mixing it up with other textured toys, like pet sensory balls and fuzzy squeaker squirrels. All of these options will help with mental stimulation and stress relief.

7. Teach a Quiet Command

dog training indoor
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Just because your dog is on bed rest doesn’t mean you can’t learn new commands. Take the time and (slowly) introduce a quiet command for your dog to work on. Just make sure it’s not physically active.

8. Play Stationary Fetch

Stationary fetch means throwing the ball around the area your dog is resting. Tossing the ball in the air or hiding it in the blanket should be enough. Your dog shouldn’t have to get up and move around.

9. Turn on the TV

Sometimes, all we need is noise. Your dog will miss having companionship and exercise, so turning on the TV for noise stimulation doesn’t hurt. Some owners turn on the Discovery channel or dog training shows for animal noise.

10. Give Your Dog a Massage

All that rest without moving around much may cause some bed soreness. Your dog will enjoy a good back and hip massage to ease the discomfort. Plus, a massage relaxes your dog even more.

11. Groom Your Dog

dog grooming
Image Credit: Rasulov, Shutterstock

Not all dogs enjoy grooming, especially longhaired dogs. But many dogs love the feeling of metal prongs gently scratching their skin. It’s relaxing, comforting, and a great way to spend time with your dog without exerting energy.

12. Snuggle

At the end of the day, all your dog wants to do is snuggle. At least highly social dogs do. Turn on the TV, lay on the couch, and cuddle with your pup. No doubt your dog will be grateful for the company.

13. Offer Several Short Walks Per Day

At some point, your veterinarian will give the okay for limited physical activity like short walks. If your veterinarian approves, take your dog for a relaxing 10-minute walk- but no more than 10 minutes (unless otherwise noted by your veterinarian). And, of course, no running!

14. Go on a Car Ride

dog sitting inside the car
Image Credit: Piqsels

Car rides are like an IMAX theater for a dog. There’s so much to observe and enjoy. Treat your dog to a fun ride around the city if it’s not too stimulating.

15. Ask About Anti-Anxiety Medication

Depending on how your veterinarian wants to treat your dog, your dog may already have anti-anxiety medication like Trazodone. But if your dog isn’t prescribed medicine, talk to your veterinarian about trying something to keep your dog relaxed. It’s worth it if the medicine keeps your dog safe through treatment.



Keeping your dog on bed rest is no easy task. It’s even harder when the stakes are high during heartworm treatment. Luckily, you have plenty of options to choose from. Remember, bed rest won’t last forever. The finish line will inch closer and closer, and before you know it, you and your dog can get back to your normal life.

But until then, keep your chin held high and follow these tips to make treatment smooth and sane.

Featured Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

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