Even if you don’t live in a rural area, ticks are becoming an increasing menace. They can bring disease – even death – to pets and people. These parasites latch on to your pet’s skin under their fur, and you may not even notice that your dog is infested until they’ve had their fill. The best tick protection for dogs is to keep them from getting bit in the first place, but there are other measures you can take.
Know Your Ticks
Ticks may all look alike at first, but there are more than 650 varieties; most have diseases associated with them. For example, paralysis ticks are grey with one set of brown legs next the their heads. The rear legs are white. They cause paralysis and death in dogs if not caught and removed.
Deer ticks are the kind that carry Lyme disease. They’re reddish-brown with black legs, and the body darkens as it fills with blood. Another common tick is the American dog tick, which carries Rocky Mountain spotted fever. They are brown with white spots on their backs, and they turn a grayish color when full.
Where Do You Find Ticks?
Some ticks, like the Lone Star tick, are regional. However, as people and pets migrate, we’re finding them in places they’ve never been seen before. They usually live in wooded areas or places where grasses are high. Whenever you walk your dog, you should avoid grassy areas and perform a spot check upon returning home.
How to Check Your Dog for Ticks
Ticks like to hide in thick fur, so keeping your dog’s coat short during tick season will help you spot them easier. They like to hide under collars, between toes and around the ears. You should carefully examine your dog for ticks every time they come in from outside.
Removing Ticks From Your Dog
Finding ticks before they’ve latch on is important, but it isn’t always possible because it can happen within minutes. If the head is already buried, carefully lift the insect out with a pair of tweezers or a special removal tool that you can find at pet supply stores or veterinary offices. Be careful about squeezing the body or leaving the pincers inside your dog, which can lead to infection.
Preventative Measures to Keep Ticks at Bey
There are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that repel ticks. They include topical drops, collars and pills. Collars are recommended for puppies as young as two months, and they should be replaced every three months. Pills are the longest-lasting preventative, providing up to four months of protection. The topical drops should be re-applied every two weeks. Your vet can provide more information.