It?s that time of year again: break out the sundresses, break out the denim jackets, and break out the tick spray — Spring is here!
Needless to say, while Spring and Summer may be some of our favorite seasons (we no longer have to bundle ourselves up to take our furry friends for a walk), they?re also the seasons when we have to pay the most attention to where it is our dogs are walking and their overall pet health. And the reason for that is tiny, dark, and biting: ticks.
What exactly is a tick?
Ticks are parasitic arachnids, but unlike other arachnids like spiders which eat get rid of creepy-crawlies in your house, they aren?t helpful in the slightest. Like minuscule vampires, ticks feed on mammalian blood and sometimes that of birds, latching on to hairless crevices where the skin folds and remaining there until they?ve finished feeding.
Where do ticks come from?
Parasites like fleas and ticks can attach themselves to your dog during any season depending on where you live, but it?s typically in the Spring and Summer months when ticks bite the most. This is because ticks like to crawl along tall grass and shrubs in wooded areas where we?re more apt to walk our dogs.
When walking a taller dog, it?s important to check areas of their body such as the belly, legs, and especially the toes where ticks are likely to grab onto. However, if your dog is a puppy be sure to check their head; ticks especially like to hide in the sensitive skin behind the ears.
How dangerous are ticks?
When a tick bites, it transfers its saliva into the skin of the host and, while ticks themselves don?t cause disease, they have the high-probability of transferring diseases that may be dangerous to you and your puppy such as the infamous Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Bartonella, Ehrlichiosis, and more. However, the diseases a tick may carry are also dependent on the region in which you live and so it?s important to discuss disease-prevention with your veterinarian.
How do I prevent my puppy from getting ticks?
The best way to keep your dog or puppy safe from ticks is by checking their fur and skin after a walk, especially if you?ve been in a wooded area or an area with taller grasses. One helpful way of removing ticks which may be on your clothes or on your dog?s fur before they?ve bitten is with a lint-roller. Just make sure to dispose of the used sheets outside of the home!
Another way to prevent ticks is with tick collars, which you can buy over the counter at any pet store. However, if your dog or puppy has already been a victim of ticks, it?s best to consult your veterinarian to help find the best option for your furry friend. Solutions include anything from medications both spot-on and oral, tick shampoos, tick dips, and powders.
Keeping your dog or puppy indoors is another way to prevent them from contracting ticks, but because an active dog is a happy dog be sure to protect your animal’s health and keep an eye out for pesky parasites. Ask your veterinarian for the best pet care options for you.