They might be some of the tiniest creatures you can imagine, but don’t understate the toxic nature of ticks. While most of us only understand the inflammation that’s caused through their presence, this can lead to much more severe conditions such as Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis and tick paralysis. In other words, these are creatures that just can’t be ignored in your dog.
Unfortunately, whether it’s due to ignorance or anything else, a lot of owners do ignore the problem. They don’t take the adequate precautions and as such, tick-related problems can develop exceptionally quickly.
It’s for this reason that this guide has been put together. Whether you take a proactive approach to tick management in your dogs or not, read on to find five ways that you can limit the spread of their diseases and allow your canine friend to live a tick-free life.
When do you need to be the most vigilant?
In truth, you should be vigilant in relation to ticks throughout the whole year. As we’ve already covered, the problems that they can cause can be severe and a year-long proactive approach is always recommended.
However, there are certain periods of the year where your pet will be more at risk than others. Unfortunately, without drifting into a dissertation about every region of the world, we can’t list them all here. They differ for each area and while North America might have more problems at one period of the year, Europe might be more susceptible in another.
It means that you have to research exactly when the problems are going to arise. By doing this, you can determine when you need to potentially apply more preventative solutions, which we will start to discuss shortly.
Choose your preventative measure wisely
We briefly touched upon preventative solutions above, and unfortunately, to make matters somewhat more complicated, there’s no “one-fits-all” approach here. In other words, tick prevention products come in all shapes and sizes – and what works for one owner and their dog, certainly won’t be applicable for the next.
The first example we’ll talk about are tick collars. Some of these collars are able to just prevent the creatures appearing on your dog, while others will kill them instantly. The benefits of this approach are obvious; rather than applying a substance, your dog is wearing the deterrent. Unfortunately, they are not ideal for all dogs and if yours takes to water frequently, or plays with other dogs, they aren’t deemed suitable. In the case of the former, this is because the substance on the collar will wash off, while the latter is because it contains chemicals which might be harmful if they come into contact with other animals.
The second example is probably the most common and comes in the form of some medication. At times, these will be oral, while other versions of the medication might be administered on their coat to act as a deterrent. This is where you’ll need to speak to your vet about finding the most practical; a lot of the time they are coupled with flea prevention medication so you can combat multiple problems within the same product.
The daily frisk
Unfortunately, the preventative approach doesn’t just stop there. Even though you may have invested in some form of medication, you need to be proactive on a daily basis to ensure that your dog hasn’t become susceptible to the perils of ticks.
On the plus side, this approach is hardly time-consuming. If your dog hasn’t been outside of the house, or even outside of your garden, there’s probably no need to carry it out either. However, if he has, it’s time to do a spot-check of all of the at-risk areas of his body. Frisk his neck, ears and head – as these are the areas which tend to attract ticks the most. Simply take a look at each of these areas and ensure that no ticks have found their way into his coat.
If the worst does happen – remove as a matter of urgency
Even if you follow a rigorous proactive approach, there’s still no guarantee that ticks aren’t going to be found on your pet’s body. It’s in these cases where you have to do the thing that no owner wants to do, and manually remove the tick.
It’s at this point that we’ll highlight that this isn’t a glamorous job by any stretch of the imagination – but it’s crucial if you want to keep your dog in good health. While there are various methods available, one of the most common involves taking a pair of tweezers and simply pulling it away from the skin. All throughout the process you should be protecting your own body, using gloves, as ticks have the unfortunate habit of spreading diseases at a whim.
While some sources might suggest the use of chemicals during the removal process, it’s worth mentioning that some of these approaches can harm your dog’s skin, whilst also making the tick more brittle and subsequently more difficult to remove from the coat.
Make sure you store your tick
Following on from the previous piece of advice we’ve issued, this next suggestion is probably going to sound even more absurd. Once you have removed your tick, resist the temptation to simply throw it in the trash. While this might appear natural, for the sake of your dog’s health there’s a much more beneficial option open to you.
As we have discussed throughout this guide, ticks carry some really nasty diseases. The problem is, there’s more than one species, and each species tends to “specialize” in its own set of diseases. If you find later down the line that your dog has contracted a tick-related disease, for the purpose of diagnosing the exact problem it’s of huge help to the vet if you can provide the species of the tick that he was infected by. This is where your jar of ticks comes into play and in the interests of preservation; it’s advisable to turn to something like isopropyl alcohol to store them in.
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