Ticks are more than just a nuisance. They can cause serious health complications for pets and people. They can potentially spread debilitating diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and others.
However, ticks often go unnoticed because of their size. Certain types of ticks are no bigger than a grain of sand. That’s why it is so important to check your dog for ticks after playing or walking outdoors. It can also be helpful to prepare your dog for tick season.
It’s a good idea to administer a monthly preventative recommended by your veterinarian. There are several types on the market now, including topical treatments, oral chews, and collars. However, this should not take the place of checking your pet after he or she has spent time outside.
Ticks are most active in the spring, summer, and fall, although this may vary slightly depending on where you live. Ticks can live in grass, leaves, and tall brush, while they wait to attach themselves to a host. When your dog is out playing in the yard, they often seize the opportunity to jump on and feed off Fido.
After a tick attaches to your dog, it begins feeding off your dog’s blood. Therefore the area where a tick has attached itself may become red and irritated.
To find ticks:
- Feel for lumps or bumps.
- Look for areas of your pet’s skin that appear irritated.
Ticks like to hide in moist, dark areas. But are you checking their favorite hiding spots? Make sure to check these spots where ticks frequently are found on dogs:
- Under your dog’s collar
- Under your dog’s tail
- Under the dog’s front and back legs
- In the groin area
- Between the toes
- On the elbows
- In the folds of your dog’s ears
- On your dog’s eyelids
Your vet will be able to tell you which tick-borne diseases are common in your area and may pose the most threat to your pet.
Although it is virtually impossible to avoid exposure to ticks, your vet can also advise you on how to avoid locations where large numbers of ticks may be found.
In addition to checking your dog for ticks once he’s been outdoors, you can take actions to make your landscape less appealing to ticks.
- Since ticks often hitch a ride on wild animals or feral and roaming pets, discourage wild animals and other critters from wandering onto your property.
- Keep your garbage bins tightly shut so wild animals cannot easily access them. Keep the area around your garbage containers clean.
- Provide a buffer between your lawn and any wooded areas. Woodchips, gravel, or pet-safe mulch can be used to help decrease the number of ticks coming into your yard.
- You can minimize the risks of ticks in your yard by spraying an outdoor spray solution. Make sure you know what chemicals are in the product. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
While you can’t entirely prevent your pet from encountering ticks, you can remain vigilant and know what to look for. The best protection against tick-borne diseases remains a monthly preventative prescribed by your veterinarian and regularly checking your pets.
So, get out and enjoy all the pawsome activities the outdoors has to offer - especially as summer comes to a close! Just make checking for ticks before coming in part of your routine, and consider signing up for a dog insurance policy to protect your furry friend..