Ticks are a nuisance, especially for dogs. However, what is more concerning about ticks is their ability to spread diseases. Ticks that get into a dog’s skin can transmit a wide variety of infectious diseases such as rocky mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease. Ticks can also cause a rare condition called tick paralysis, and can also produce inflammation and bacterial infection at the target site of the bite.
The best way to prevent your dog from getting tick-borne diseases is to prevent it. Here are some tips on prevention strategies:
Learn which season is “tick season”
While ticks are around all year, there are certain times of the year where they are the most prevalent (differing from region to region). Ask your local veterinarian when tick seasons occur in your area. This will give you a good idea of when to be more vigilant with watching out for ticks.
Use tick prevention products
There are a variety of products out there that can prevent and/or kill ticks. Some products are:
- Tick collars
- Monthly topical and oral medication
Just check with your veterinarian on what the recommended product should be to prevent ticks.
Know the landscape
It is known that ticks prefer areas with dense vegetation. The majority of their time is spent on the ground but they are good for crawling up to the tips of shrubs and grasses, which makes it easier for them to jump on an animal passing by. It’s best to avoid exposing your dog to any shrubbery or grassy areas during the peak tick season.
Check your dog daily
Be sure to pat down your dog every day, especially after any outdoor excursions. This can help get rid of the ticks before they have a chance to embed themselves into your dog’s skin. This will eliminate the possibility of disease transmission. Pay extra attention to your dog’s neck, head and ears when patting them down, since those are considered a tick’s favourite place to go.
Know the symptoms
Be aware that most dogs that are exposed to ticks hardly ever develop a tick-borne disease. But for those who do, early recognition of the symptoms and a prompt diagnosis will be beneficial. If your dog has tick exposure, talk to your veterinarian about what symptoms you should look out for and the best course of action.
Properly remove embedded ticks
Try to remove any embedded ticks as soon as possible to lessen the chances of disease transmission. There are multiple methods online on how to remove an embedded tick, from burning it to coating it with lubricant to using acetone. These are not the best methods because they can harm your dog in the process. The best solution would be to talk with your veterinarian about the preferred method of removing embedded ticks. No matter what method you choose, make sure to wear gloves to prevent the transmission of disease to yourself.