Guinness Draught Beer for heatrworms in dogs

In the previous entry titled “Ivermectin sensitivity in dogs“, I wrote that we tend to give preventative pills without much thought, and your vet might suggest you to give monthly preventative for flea,tick,and heartworm to your dogs.

There, I have explained how monthly heartworm pills work, what heartworm is,and how dogs get infected with heartworm first.

Also, I have warned you about ivermectin sensitvity in dogs.

If you missed it, according to petside website, researchers first saw reaction in collies to ivermectin back in 1983.

If you give enough of ivermectins, these ivermectin sensitive breeds like collies get reactions by drooling, stumbling, blindness, coma, respiratory problems etc.. at the dose of 1/200 dose of medication that would be enough to cause problems in other breed.

Washington University studied about this peculiar reaction to “iverectin” by collie and breeds that are related to collies and found out about mutation in the gene called MDR1 genes (Multi Drug Resistance gene) in the breed.

These MDR1 gene forms the protein and help flashing out the drug from the brain. When these gene could not function as it should and could not help flashing out the drug from the brain, then,medication can build up in the brain and cause problems.

If you have herding breed or have breed that are known to have mutant MDR1 gene, you should consult with your vet when surgeries because some of the drugs that could cause the problems are in the anesthesia and find the other option of drugs.

Breeds known to have high rate of mutant MDR1 gene are collies,but some other breed are also being reported as well.

Laboratory can test the DNA by cheek swab or blood sample with roughly 2 weeks wait.

In this entry, I would like to focus on the natural remedy / preventative / treatment floating around as rumor on the internet.

Guiness beer and heatrworm….

You may be surprised to hear Guiness beer you find at the grocery store is something to do with heartworm remedy for your dog’s heartworm prevention/treatment.

I too was surprised to hear about that at first and soon, I got very curious about the remedy. It was even more so because alcohol beverage is toxic to dogs.

According to article written by canigivemydog website, if dogs drink beer, or any other alcohol,ethanol gets absorbed into their body and dogs’ metabolism cannot process as well as us human.

To read full article,please click here.

As explained before with monthly heartworm pill, when people think the pill is to prevent the dogs from getting the heartworm but it does not work like that.

This pill does not prevent the heartworm from occurring at all, but rather pills kill the already existing microfilaria to cut off the life cycle of heartworm larvae that was transmitted by heartworm positive female mosquito.

Also, vet and preventative pill box may say to give monthly but, did you know that this 30 days rule was implemented for us to remember the frequency easily?

In naturality, the pill is good for 45 days to 60 days. That is why, I give Palette heartworm pill that does not contain ivermectin every 45 days during the warm month when mosquitos are active . Then re start after taking heartworm/tick test called “Snap 4DX”, making sure her system does not have heartworm already.

I do not like to give synthetic preventative pill too but, I am compromised by making interval longer than 30 days, and limit the months to give.

It is simply because I did not find any better solution specially for heatworm.

If you live in warm states throughout the year such as FL, giving pills all year around might be better.

If tick or flea, there are remedy such as lemon water or essential oil but those do not work for heatworm.

Anyway, those who give dogs Guiness drought beer believe that giving the Guiness beer (stout beer) works like heartworm pill would because of  hops in the Guiness; they claim they can kill heartworm larvae that have been in the system for the past 30 days just like preventative pills would.

They also use it to treat the heartworm in dogs.

When I tried to research on this theory,I could not find scientifically proven documents at all and, the method seems to be floating on the internet as rumor. However, some use this method for their dogs and they strongly swear by it.

However, at the same time, I found that hop itself is toxic to dogs.

I found out that there are many warning towards home beer brewers from professional beer makers as well.

Here is one that I came across.

According to Northern Brewer company website (please click here), they have heard about their customer’s scary experience after their dog consumed hops.

They say that the research is not extensive, but ingesting hops can be highly toxic to some breeds of dogs (Golden Retrievers and especially Greyhounds).

Some dogs that ingest hops rapidly develop a condition called Malignant Hyperthermia, in which the body temperature rises uncontrollably and it can be fatal.

Some other symptoms include restlessness, panting, vomiting, abdominal pain, seizures, rapid heart rate, and high temperature.

What is hop?

According to Bark magazine article written by Shea Cox DVM, hops is the plant that are used in the process of brewing beer, and both the raw or spent hops are toxic.

True flowers or dried hops plugs tend to be more toxic than hops pellets. It is because pellets have less residue.

She also writes that the wild hops have been found to be non-toxic.

They do not know how the toxicity occur but they suspects that it may be related to essential oils, resins, phenolic compounds, or  nitrogenous constituents within the plant.

That being said, according to her article, many of the substances in hops are degraded or aerosolized during the brewing process

However, hops toxicity is very dangerous and serious matter to dogs.

She write that she has seen rectal temperatures greater than 108 F.

The high end of normal of a dog’s temperature is 102.5 F, and any temperature above 106 F can lead to an “unwinding” of the body’s proteins as well as permanent brain injury, depending on the length of time that the elevation in body temperature persists.

According to her article, any breed of dog can be affected, but breeds that are predisposed to malignant hyperthermia (extreme elevation of body temperature) tend to be more susceptible.

These breeds include Greyhounds, Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernards, Pointers, Dobermans, Border Collies, English Springer Spaniels, and northern breeds.

You can read her full article at bark magazine website here.

You can also read on hops and dogs at vetlearn website here.

With this information, you now know that the hops is toxic to dogs, and you learned that many of the substances in hops are degraded or aerosolized during the brewing process

However, we do not know how much of whatever causing the hops toxicity is in the beer at all.

It simply because no one has measured the toxic substance for dogs in the beer yet.

Also, we do not know how much of hops are lethal dosage even.

The Guiness beer feeding for heartworm support group say that hops is toxic only if they are consuming concentrated hops or hops pellets.

The support group claims that the amount of beer recommended for the heartworm treatment is minimal.

Therefore, the risk of hops toxicity or alcohol poisoning is slim.

Dosage for Guinness beer for dogs…

When I looked into the information, the recommended dosage seems to be around 1 oz per 25 lb body weight.Serve flat beer to avoid gas or bloat,they say.

Some people seem to feed the amount divide into two serving or so.

Give them the dosage once, and then once again in two weeks, and only once a month afterwards.

They also say if they test positive for heartworm within the first couple of months, give them the dosage every two weeks for three months.

Guinness Black Draught; from Dublin Ireland..

One thing that found it interesting about this topic is that, they say it must be Guinness Black Draught; the kind that comes from Dublin.  They say it cannot be made anywhere else.

Why so? They believe that the hops and water in this area are what makes the treatment effective.

According to petlover website, the way they brew it over in Ireland is better, slower, more hops, and better water.

To read full article, please click here.

To find out more on beer itself, I have reached out to the maker of the company; Guinness and asked about their beer.

According to the Guinness company, the St. James’s Gate Brewery is situated on the banks of the River Liffey in the heart of Dublin, but the water used in our brewing process comes from the Wicklow mountains, a little way to the south.

They said that all of the Guinness Draught sold in North America comes from the St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin, Ireland. Ireland is also the water source for all of that beer.

When I asked about hop content, I have received very interesting answer to that.

Despite the fact that Guinness beer feeding supporters believe that their beer has most hops, it was not so.

Guinness company representative has told me that the Guinness Draught does not have the most hop content of any beer, and in fact would be described as less hoppy than many beers and even other beer categories outside of stouts.

My husband told me before that Guinness must have been known for lower hop content in the beer and he was correct.

I have also asked them if they are aware of this natural heatrworm treatment method passing around among dog lovers,thinking if the method was so popular and well known among people, then locals there in Ireland must know/heard of something about that.

To that question, the representative said that they are unaware of people using Guinness to treat heartworm in dogs.

They said that they do not claim that drinking Guinness provides any therapeutic or health benefits, nor that it should be served to animals.

With my curiosity, I searched for the beer with highest hop content in the beer and it was India pale ale.

I can see why they are picky about what beer to feed; Guinness draught beer from Ireland if the hop content was higher as they think they are but it is lower hop content.

Therefore, if they are after the effect of hops to kill the heatworm lavae, they should have been serving Indian pale ale not Guinness draught although I do not know if the water source is what they like or not.

That being said,when you know hops are toxic, feeding beer with high amount of hops is good move? I do not know.

Their theory goes… the hops sterilize the heartworms. Therefore, more larvae cannot be produced.

This theory/method is largely used among those who feed their pets strict natural raw diet.

One thing that I find it interesting about it is that Guinness are made with water, barley, roast malt extract,hops, and brewers yeast.

Often times, they are not favor of grain products to feed their dogs.

Barley and brewers yeast would be most likely something they would not like to feed them to dogs. However, beer they rave about for heartworm treatment contains it.

I am not sure if they compromised to give grain products because of hops, and that they feel it is better than synthetic products.

Meaning it is simply natural vs synthetic treatment rather than detailed ingredients in the beer vs synthetic treatment.

For me, not knowing what in the hops are causing the hops toxicity, not knowing how much of whatever substance causing the hops toxicity is in the actual product; beer, and knowing alcohol beverage is toxic to dogs, this method would not be something I would jump  into despite some happy ending stories with the use of Guinness beer draught.

I feel like I would be playing the Russian roulette with potential risk.

Someone mentioned to me that this method was found by accident in Japan,where I am originally from.

When I heard about it, I tried to check about beer and heatrworm on Japanese sites but I did not find any information on that.

How the first person tried the method found out it was started from Japan is mystery.

Non supporter of feeding beer to the dog for heartworm treatment think it would not work;it would not kill the heartworm lavae and hops in excess is lethal to dogs..

In fact, someone who works as vet tech saw dogs brought to their ER after consuming beer and those dogs did not survive. I do not know how much beer the dogs drunk but you can see that the beer feeding has real potential of losing your precious furkids.

Would this beer feeding method be something you would try for your dogs?

I am being objective and being open minded to the idea.However, like I mentioned above, this method has a lot of unknown area and, for now, it would not be the method I would try with Palette.

It certainly is a interesting method though

Natural  herbal remedy for heartworm..

Besides Guinness draught beer treatment, I came across herbal remedy available for dogs to treat heatworm.

It contains garlic, black seed, licorice,hawthorn, hops,sorrel, apricot pits,flavoring (not being mentioned what flavoring exactly it is),alcohol, and filtered water.

Looking at the ingredient, even though it says “Natural” and appealing to many dog lovers, I would not get it for Palette to try.


It is because …

1. Garlic; It is ok to feed to dogs but there is safe amount to be fed. Too much garlic can cause anemia in dogs. 

As I understand it, below is the amount of fresh garlic you can give to your dogs.

**Small dogs; 1/4 of garlic clove

** Medium dogs; 1/2 of garlic clove

** Large dogs; 1 garlic clove

You never know how much of garlic in the supplement.That is my concern.

2. Licorice; according to dognaturally website here, licorice can cause sodium retention and potassium loss, resulting in water retention, high blood pressure, and hyopkalemia (low blood potassium) when consumed large amount.

They advise that licorice should only be used for two weeks at a time.

Also, they mention that licorice root should not be used in diabetic animals, pregnant or nursing animals.

Also,if your dog has heart or liver disease, then, they advise you to talk to the vet first.

3. Hops; Hops is already know why I am concern about this. Hops are toxic to dogs and you have no way to know how much of whatever causing the dogs hops toxicity in the supplement is unknown.

4. Sorrel; according to ASPCA, Shamrocks are toxic to dogs and cats because they contain chemicals called soluble calcium oxylates in all parts of the plants.

Soluble calcium oxylates consist of oxalic acid and oxalate salts, both of which can cause acute renal failure if ingested in large amounts.

According to motherhood-modernmom website here,  Calcium oxylate salts can also bind with calcium in a dog’s body, causing a severe drop in the dog’s calcium levels.

Symptoms of shamrock poisoning in your dog include drooling, lack of appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, tremors and bloody urine.

5. Apricot pits; According to webmed website here, Apricot kernel contains a toxic chemical “amygdalin”.

In the body this chemical is converted to cyanide. Cyanide is poisonous to dogs.

For human, there was interest in using apricot kernel to fight cancer because it was thought that amygdalin was taken up first by cancer cells and converted to cyanide.

They hoped that the cyanide would harm only the tumor. However,  research has shown that the amygdalin is converted to cyanide in the stomach. Then goes throughout the body, where it can cause serious harm.

Apple core also got cyanide toxic to dogs. Take a moment and think if whatever food you would like to give is toxic to them or not.

Lastly, alcohol beverage is toxic to dogs .Alcohol in the medicine could be tricky to see if it will enough to cause ethanol toxicity in dogs.

Natural remedy sounds good to your ears but, when you look into the ingredients, some of the ingredients are things that you have to be careful of amount to give or even not recommended to give to dogs.

You have no control over the amount of each ingredients in them and knowing something in the supplement could contains amount sensitive ingredient for dogs, would you give it to your dogs just because they say it is natural remedy?

I wouldn’t.

I would love to hear what your thoughts are on these so called “natural” treatment.

For the heartworm treatment which method do you use; Guinness beer feeding? Heartworm pill throughout a year? Heartworm pill during limited months? Natural remedy / supplement?

Why did you pick your method over other method?

Share your thoughts and experience with others.

This will be very interesting topic to discuss about.


Oct 05, 2015 | Comments are off | Dog Health

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