How to Keep Your Dog Safe from Ticks
Dogs love to spend time outdoors in the wilderness, but unfortunately with the wilderness comes the chance of wildlife, with one of the riskiest for dog owners being tick bites. A common nuisance for dogs and humans alike, tick bites can at best cause mild discomfort and at worst can lead to lasting diseases on you or your dog. Unfortunately, there aren’t any vaccines available for tick-borne illnesses for your dog, and even if your dog is not affected there is still a chance that a romp in the woods could bring these bugs into your home.
There are several different ways that you can reduce the risk of your dog attracting ticks. You can minimize high-risk behavior, you can learn how to check for ticks, and you can utilize some of the many anti-tick products available for dog owners.
Preventing Tick Bites
The first step to protecting your dog from ticks is knowing where ticks hang out. Ticks typically dwell in thick, wooded areas. If you live near woods or are planning on taking a trip to the woods, you should either reconsider this or make sure that you’ve taken the appropriate precautions. But don’t think that ticks are just limited to forests: if your home has a thick lawn with leafy bushes, shrubs and trees, ticks could be lurking there. If landscaping isn’t an option, then make sure to spray with anti-tick products.
If you think that your dog has passed through a tick zone, your next step is to thoroughly check your dog for ticks. The CDC recommends looking in and around the ears, around the eyelids, around the tail, under the collar, under the front legs, between the back legs, and between the toes.
If you find a tick on your dog, remember to remove it with tweezers (not your fingers), and to do so by grabbing the tick as close as possible to the skin and pulling gently.
Once a tick has been removed, it’s important to thoroughly clean the bite area and keep an eye out for any potential follow-up issues, such as a rash. If you’d like some extra assistance, there are a number of anti-tick products that you can use to help your pet recover from the bite and reduce the risk of further contact:
- Spot-On Treatments – These are over-the-counter medications that can keep parasites away for about a month. There are also oral medications available.
- Anti-Tick Shampoos – Bathing your dog with a medicated shampoo is an effective way kill ticks on contact. This is typically an inexpensive method, but requires more work on your part. You will need to repeat the process more often, about every two weeks, as the effective ingredients won’t last as long as a spot-on or oral medication.
- Tick Dips – A dip is a concentrated chemical that must be diluted in water and then applied to your dog’s fur with a sponge or poured over the back. You should not use a dip for puppies under four months, or for pregnant or nursing dogs. Ask your veterinarian for advice before treating puppies, or pregnant or nursing pets.
- Tick Collars – Tick repellent collars are another simple measure, though they are mainly only useful for protecting the neck and head from ticks. The collar must be in contact with your dog’s skin in order to transfer the chemicals. Be alert for signs of discomfort, such as excessive scratching, in case an allergic reaction to the collar occurs.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (407) 865-7477, ext. 101.