Sometimes, us pet owners can be a bit absent-minded.
Whether it’s due to the fact that we’ve been up all night due to a non-stop-crying infant, or because we’ve missed our daily morning double-shot oat milk iced mochaccino, our innocent canine pals are often the unfortunate recipients of our unintentional mishaps.
Or in the present case: Giving your pooch the incorrect amount of NexGard.
If you’ve recently panickily exclaimed, “I gave my dog the wrong dose of NexGard!” after coming to your senses, rest assured that your trepidation is completely understandable.
However, you’ll also be glad to learn that it’s also (almost) totally unnecessary to be worried!
That’s because NexGard has a very large margin of safety when it comes to canines, so it would require an extreme dose indeed for any serious ill effects to take place.
It is possible that your dog may experience some minor unpleasant symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, though these are typically self-limiting and will clear up by themselves within a day or two.
In rare cases, canines that have a history of neurological conditions may be at greater risk for tremors and seizures. Therefore, if you know that your dog experiences these issues, it would be best to take it to the vet immediately.
Whether you accidentally gave your dog two, three, or even five doses of NexGard, your dog is unlikely to experience much in the way of adverse reactions (subject to an exception that will be explored later on in this section).
The primary ingredient of NexGard is not structurally toxic to a dog’s body and organs, so will therefore pose very minimal risks of inflicting any internal damage.
In fact, it was previously shown in a clinical study that the majority of dogs tested were fine even after they were given 5x the recommended dosage of NexGard six times over a period of two to four weeks!
Only a few of the dogs experienced minor negative side effects of vomiting and diarrhea, and no relevant effects related to the treatment on body weight, clinical and gross pathology, organ weight, or histopathology were recorded.
Another large-scale study conducted in the United States in which over 600 dogs were treated over a 90-day period also showed that minimal adverse effects were experienced with NexGard treatments.
Again, the most common side effects of vomiting, diarrhea, and dry, flaky skin all had an incidence rate of lower than 4.1%. Even then, the symptoms resolved by themselves after a short period of time.
Other even less common side effects of NexGard administration can include:
- Skin redness and rashes
- Allergic reactions such as hives and swelling
- Muscle spasms
- Bloody stools
There are also no known contraindications to the medication, though the safe usage in pregnant or lactating dogs has not been formally established.
As such, it can be seen that NexGard is in fact a very safe drug for most dogs.
In reality, the most dangerous part of the medicine in the majority of cases is probably the packaging- especially if it is chewed up and swallowed!
However, like with most things there is a caveat: If you noticed the usage of ‘most’ two sentences back- firstly, good spotting.
Secondly, it’s because afoxolaner (the proper scientific name for NexGard) has been associated with negative neurological reactions as a member of the isooxazoline class.
These adverse neural side effects can include ataxia (discoordination, walking as if drunk), muscle tremors, and especially seizures.
Therefore, one situation where you would have to be concerned if you accidentally gave a dog two doses of NexGard is when you know that your dog has a predisposition or history of seizures.
In the same US study detailed above, two dogs that had a history of seizures experienced them in a span of 1 to 19 days after receiving a dose of NexGard. However, a third dog that also had a history of seizures, did not.
To be honest, there’s probably not a whole lot that you will actually need to do.
While an overdose of NexGard is technically possible, it’s still a very unlikely outcome.
As we’ve just explored above, the margin for safety of NexGard usage in canines is extremely high- so much so that even a 5x recommended dosage amount did not result in any significant adverse effects.
Therefore, if you accidentally give your dog two (or even three, somehow) NexGard tablets instead of one, there’s really no need to fret as chances are it won’t affect your pup in any way!
At worst, it could potentially result in a transient bout of mild vomiting or diarrhea over the next 24 hours- which brings us to the next question:
There are a few different things that you can do if you gave your dog an incorrect, excessive dose of NexGard.
The first thing that you’ll want to do is to observe over the next 24 hours whether your dog does start to experience any of the aforementioned signs of nausea and vomiting such as repeated attempts to swallow, excessive drooling, or lip licking.
If you do notice such signs, it may be beneficial to administer to your dog an over-the-counter antacid to help it feel better.
For example, Pepcid AC (famotidine) can be given at a dosage of 0.25-0.5 milligrams per pound of body weight every 12 hours, while Prilosec (omeprazole) can be provided at a dosage of 0.25-0.5 milligrams per pound of body weight every 24 hours.
It may also be helpful then to place your pal on a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice over the next couple of days.
This will help to keep the burden on the pup’s digestive system light so that it can recover as quickly as possible.
One avenue that worried pet owners might jump to instinctively when their pet has ingested the wrong dosage of medication is to attempt to induce vomiting as quickly as possible.
However, induced vomiting should NOT be attempted when NexGard is the medication in question.
This is due to the fact that since there is only a very tiny risk on balance of NexGard causing harmful effects, it is often better to just let the drug run its course inside the dog’s body rather than bring it back up.
On an aside, there’s really no need to give NexGard to your dog early.
According to VCA Hospitals, NexGard lasts for anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks inside a canine’s body once it has been administered.
Doses are usually given monthly on the same day, ensuring that each dose works for at least a full 30 days.
If you’ve at some point missed a dose for your pup- don’t worry! Simply start a new monthly dosing schedule as soon as you remember.
Your dog will be absolutely fine, but do be mindful to not give it two doses at once in an attempt to compensate.
Maybe you got quite the scare from giving your dog the wrong dose of NexGard last time, so this time ‘round you’ve got your thinking cap on and are pondering, “Can NexGard be split in half?”
The answer is that you should never split a NexGard chewable tablet in half.
This is because each NexGard dose contains the entire amount of medication that is necessary to be effective.
To ensure that your dog receives proper treatment, make sure that you know its weight before purchasing NexGard chews.
Individual doses of NexGard treatment can suit dogs up to 120 pounds.
If your dog is over 120 pounds, you will need multiple doses. For instance, if they weigh 150 pounds, you can give them one dose for 120-pound dogs and one dose for 30-pound dogs.
If your pup happens to be under four pounds or is under eight weeks of age, a vet should definitely be consulted first before administration. Dogs of this size will probably require a different form of treatment in order to prevent and kill adult fleas and ticks.
Here is the dosing schedule of NexGard, courtesy of Drugs.com:
Afoxolaner Per Chewable (mg)
4.0 to 10.0 lbs.
10.1 to 24.0 lbs.
24.1 to 60.0 lbs.
60.1 to 121.0 lbs.
Over 121.0 lbs.
Administer the appropriate combination of chewables
As you can see from the table above, NexGard comes in a wide range of doses for both large and small dogs.
Always make sure that you purchase the proper size NexGard tablet for your dog’s weight.
If you’ve accidentally purchased the wrong size, it can be tempting to try and work with what you already have. Many pet owners will subsequently assume that you can cut bigger tablets in half for pets that require smaller doses.
However, if you want the medication to be effective, you will need to find the proper size for your dog.
That’s due to the fact that the medicinal ingredients aren’t spread evenly throughout these tablets!
Therefore, if you cut a NexGard pill in half, your dog may end up getting more or less than half of the medication.
To reiterate: In order to receive the proper, effective dosage, it’s imperative that a pup eat the entire chewable that is appropriate for its size. Doing otherwise can mean that your best friend isn’t properly protected against fleas and ticks!
If your dog is small or has any dental issues like gingivitis or cavities, you can cut the NexGard tablet in half to make it easier for them to chew.
However if you do choose to do so, always make sure that they eat both pieces!
It’s a common occurrence for a dog to take one half, realize they don’t like how it tastes, and then reject the second piece completely.
This will essentially render the Nexgard tablets useless, so be careful when using this method.
If you do have to separate the NexGard pill, it may be easier to mix it in with your pooch’s food so that they gobble up the whole thing without even noticing!
Yes, you can definitely crush up NexGard chews for your dog. As the tablets do not contain any enteric coating, it should still be effective.
You usually won’t need to crush up these chews however, as their flavor is generally appealing to dogs. They’re not particularly tough, either, but dogs with dental problems might have a little trouble chewing them.
Try offering it to your dog as a treat first. If that doesn’t work out, then you may want to consider crushing it up to give to your pooch.
Crushing up medication for your dog can be a little risky. It’s easy to lose track of the crumbled-up bits, and it’s difficult to know whether your dog has eaten all of it.
However, if your dog cannot consume the chewable tablet as intended, crushing it up might be the only realistic way to give them the treatment they need.
Firstly, take the NexGard chew and put it in your dog’s food dish. Press on it with a metal spoon until it crumbles.
Next, get their favorite wet food (dry food doesn’t work as well for this) and thoroughly mix it with the crumbled Nexgard chew.
Make sure that you supervise your pup when they eat the wet food x crushed medication mixture to ensure that it is completely consumed.
Keep an eye on them afterwards, too– if they vomit after eating for any reason, you will need to give them another dose!
Overall, giving NexGard to your dog tends to be pretty straightforward. Its beefy flavor is highly appealing, and most dogs will view it just like any other treat.
However, some dogs are pickier than others. So if they don’t like the flavor of NexGard, it can be pretty challenging to get them to eat it willingly.
Fortunately, there are a few different ways to help ensure that your dog gets the treatment they need!
A little spoonful of peanut butter is one of the best ways to help your dog take their medication. Its intense flavor is enough to mask anything that your dog would usually turn their nose up at.
It’s not a particularly healthy food for dogs, but it does make an excellent once-in-a-while treat- especially in these scenarios.
Alternatively, you can wrap the chew up in a slice of liverwurst, cheese, or any other “people food” that your dog likes.
Believe it or not… Your dog can recognize your mood!
When you’re about to give them their monthly oral flea prevention pill, you probably have a certain demeanor that they have picked up on over time.
If you find that your dog gets nervous whenever you’re about to give them their Nexgard, this could be the reason why.
Treating your dog for fleas is admittedly stressful, but you should definitely try your best not to show it. If you behave in a relaxed manner, your dog is more likely to follow suit as well.
Therefore, treat the NexGard chewable the same way you would treat any other dog treat. Have them do a trick beforehand, and give them plenty of praise when they comply!
If your dog isn’t particularly fond of NexGard chews, they will be more likely to ignore them if they’ve just eaten.
To prevent this, it is highly recommended that you give the NexGard tablet to your dog right before a meal. When their appetite is high, the chewable will be a lot more appealing!
As with any medication, NexGard isn’t for every dog.
Some dogs are too small for the minimum dosage. Others might simply refuse to eat the chews. If this is the case, you should find a different method to treat your dog’s fleas.
If even those methods don’t seem to work, here are 8 additional flea and tick prevention alternatives that you can try with your pooch.
Finally, if NexGard or the alternatives don’t seem to be right for your dog, don’t hesitate to consult with your veterinarian. They will be able to help you determine which treatment is best for your furry friend.
Heather Abraham is a professional blogger who owns two dogs, a cat, a parrot, and a leopard gecko. She has a connection with animals since she was a child. She shares her love for all pet breeds and provides information on pet food, toys, medications, beds, and everything else.
She is committed to learning about the internal workings of animals. Her work permits her to work closely with knowledgeable vets and obtain practical expertise in animal care. When she is not working, her love of animals continues in her writing. Her goal is to educate and uplift readers who also have a passion for animals through her writing.