One challenge with Lyme disease is that it doesn’t appear right away. The Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine shows that only 5% – 10% of infected animals develop symptoms, and these may only show up weeks to months after being bitten.5
According to the American Kennel Club, some signs of Lyme disease in dogs include:6
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced energy
- Lameness or limping
- Generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain
- Swelling of the joints
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Lyme disease symptoms in dogs could lead to kidney failure as well as potentially fatal cardiac and neurological effects.
If you find a tick on your dog or suspect your dog has been bitten by a tick, consider talking to your vet. They can administer tests that can detect Lyme disease as early as 3 – 5 weeks after a dog has been bitten by an infected tick.4
The good news is that treatment is available from your vet for Lyme disease in dogs. Treatment includes prescribing a 30-day course of antibiotics to help fight off the infection. Your vet may also suggest other treatments to help your dog with related issues like joint inflammation or pain.5
With Lyme disease, prevention is always a smart move. Following these steps may help you keep your dog safe from Lyme disease.
Many preventative treatments for Lyme disease take the form of a flea or tick collar, a monthly chew, or topical treatment. Several of these are now combined with heartworm preventatives, making it easier and more affordable to deal with multiple parasites at once. It’s best not to wait for flea and tick season as early preparation and prevention is key.
Examine your dog for ticks each time you return from a walk. Make sure to check under your dog’s collar, between the toes, around the face, armpits, and groin. Ticks like warm, moist areas, although they will latch on just about anywhere.
If you want to make a tick check enjoyable for your dog, combine it with brushing their coat. A good brushing can help dislodge ticks that are still in their fur. Washing your dog’s bedding in hot water and vacuuming can also help keep ticks from making your house their home. They can even survive in your vacuum cleaner, so make sure you empty it regularly.
It’s recommended to speak with your veterinarian about whether to vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease. Your veterinarian’s advice may depend on several factors such as:
- Where you live
- Your dog’s activity level
- Your dog’s overall health
- Whether or not your dog has already had Lyme disease
Also, while Lyme disease vaccination has been shown to be effective, vets recommend it be used in addition to other methods of tick protection.4
Aside from arming your pet against ticks, your yard is also an area of focus. To make your landscape less appealing to ticks:
- Discourage wild animals and other critters from wandering onto your property by keeping your garbage bins tightly shut and keeping the area around them clean.
- Use wood chips, gravel, or pet-safe mulch to help decrease the number of ticks coming into your yard, creating a buffer between your lawn and any wooded or grassy areas.
- Spray an outdoor spray solution that could help deter ticks. Make sure you know what chemicals are in the product and ask your veterinarian for pet-safe recommendations.
Whether you have an outdoor dog or an indoor dog, it can be a smart idea to protect them against Lyme disease. If you’re worried about Lyme disease taking a bite out of your budget, a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance could help offset the costs of costs of vaccinations, antibiotic treatments, vet visits, and more.7 Get your free quote today and take that next step to protect your dog in the warmer months, and all year long.