A tick is a small parasite related to spiders. They are most normally found in wooded areas and those fields of high grass and like mosquitoes and fleas pose a health hazard to your dog and to people as well as they carry the Lyme disease, Rocky mountain spotted fever and other illnesses that can affect your dogs health and even his life. While many people know that ticks can be detrimental to their dogs health they simply aren’t sure what to do to protect their dog from these parasites. Here are a few tips that may help you to protect your dogs from ticks and keep him healthy.
Since ticks are found in wooded areas and high grass and especially prevalent during the spring and summer it is a good idea to keep the grass in your yard mowed and short. Ticks are far less likely to inhabit areas where there is no tall grass.
You will also want to keep your yard free of spilled bird seed and other things which might attract mice and squirrels because ticks often use these animals as a host and food source.
Don’t allow your dog to roam. The best way to protect him from ticks is to limit his access to areas where there is not a high concentrations of these parasites.
If you take your dog camping with you check him/her every three hours for signs of ticks. Make sure you check him thoroughly including the inside of his ears and around the genital area. Ticks do not attach immediately to a new host and usually don’t start feeding until after they are on the host for about 4 hours. (It is also wise to thoroughly check all humans who are camping in wooded areas for ticks as well.)
If you find a tick use a pair of tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the body as possible and pull the tick straight out. Never remove a tick with your bare hands. Ticks have teeth designed to latch onto a host and remain fixed and twisting and turning the tick may result in leaving the head with the disease carrying fluids attached.
Once the tick is removed then clean the area with soap and water and apply antiseptic.
Using protectants such as Advantix and Frontline Plus may prevent ticks from using your dog as a host. Ask your Veterinarian about these and other products that may help to protect your dogs from ticks.
If your dog has had access to any area where ticks may live and suddenly appears lame, feverish and has a loss of appetite and appears lethargic then take him to your Veterinarian immediately for treatment. Be sure to tell your Vet of the places your dog has been so that he can be tested for tick spreading diseases.
Your dog is your trusted companion and your friend. You want to be able to share those outside adventures, picnics, hiking and camping trips with him but, you also want to keep him safe. Following these few tips will help protect your dog from ticks and the associated health problems they cause while still enabling him to enjoy all those out of door adventures.