Dogs and Tick Safety
Posted on June 06 2017
As we enter the final countdown to the summer season, your family is probably feeling the call of your backyard, whether it’s grilled dinners out on the back patio or a family game of baseball. And the family member who’s probably most excited of all is your pup, with the weather just right for lots of fetch, play, and snoozing in the sun.
Unfortunately, the summer also brings with it the increased risk of ticks. With new tick-related diseases still being discovered, it’s important to include tick prevention as a part of your summer preparation so that you can keep your pup, and by extension your whole family, safe and tick-free.
First, familiarize yourself with the level of risk for ticks in your area, and specifically which kinds of ticks to look out for. This map is a great tool to locate your home area and find out the number of reported cases of tick-related diseases in dogs.
When landscaping or adding new plants and bushes to your yard, keep in mind that some will be more inviting to ticks than others. The CDC recommends removing any old furniture or debris that could harbor ticks, building playgrounds in a sunny spot away from the edge of the yard, and placing a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between any surrounding wood areas and lawns, patios, or playgrounds. Another source advises that the common deer is essential to the tick’s life cycle, so it’s best to avoid planting any shrubbery that would be inviting for deer to snack on.
Though there are a lot of preventative tick products available for dogs, in the form of both topical applications and vaccines, none of them are guaranteed to be 100% effective. Plus, many symptoms of tick-born diseases are subtle and easy to miss. Keeping up with an annual test is the only way to be sure your dog is healthy. To make it easy, ask that your dog be tested for vector-borne diseases at his or her annual heartworm screening.
We know the thought can be pretty tedious (and gross!), but the sooner ticks are caught and removed, the better, so make it a part of your routine during tick season to scan your dog for ticks. Feel along their body with a firm pressure to check for bumps. If you feel a bump, pull their fur apart to determine what is there. Be sure to check in armpits, between toes, behind ears, and around the tail. If you do find a tick, follow these instructions for how to successfully remove it.
With dogs frequently running in and out of the house during the summer, it can be unsettling to find a tick on them, or even to think about the fact that they could be tracking them into your home. For peace of mind, keep The Stair Barrier closed to limit your dog’s access to the second level of your home and away from any bedding.
Though summer is known for being the season of ticks, research shows that we aren’t quite in the clear during other seasons, either. Keep these tips in mind year-round to keep your pup and your family happy, healthy, and tick-free.
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