No one likes to think about the possibility of their dog getting sick. However, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of tick-borne disease and prepare accordingly when you have a dog who loves to spend time outdoors. These diseases are transmitted by ticks and can affect both humans and pets. The most common species is Ehrlichia, but there are also other serious illnesses that ticks can carry, such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
It’s important to be aware of the dangers of tick-borne disease and prepare accordingly when you have a dog who loves to spend time outdoors.
You’re probably aware by now that ticks can be a problem for pets and their owners. There are many different types of ticks and each one has its own set of dangers, but some tick-borne diseases are particularly dangerous to dogs. Ehrlichiosis is one such disease.
Tick-borne disease affects your dog’s immune system, which means it’s harder for them to fight off illness or infection than healthy dogs would normally be able to do. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of tick-borne disease and prepare accordingly when you have a dog who loves to spend time outdoors—especially if they live in an area where they are more likely run into infected ticks like those carrying Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF).
Be mindful when your dog is in tick-ridden areas.
- Avoid tick-ridden areas. If you live in a region where your dog may be exposed to ticks, consider keeping him or her out of such areas as much as possible.
- Check for ticks regularly. Inspect your dog’s fur and skin daily for any ticks that might be present. If you do see a tick, remove it immediately with tweezers or by applying pressure directly on the tick until it releases its hold on the skin.
- Consider using a tick collar if your dog spends time in an area that has high incidence of these pests—this can help deter possible bites from occurring while also making removal easier when they do occur (although care should still be taken).
Remove ticks from dogs promptly and correctly.
Remove ticks promptly and correctly. Tick bites can be dangerous, but the sooner you remove the tick, the better. Don’t use your fingers to remove a tick. Instead, use fine-tipped tweezers or clean fingernail clippers to grasp the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible and pull it straight out from its mouthparts using slow and steady pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick; this may cause its mouthparts to break off in your dog’s skin. Avoid squeezing any remaining bodily fluids from the tick onto his fur—these fluids could contain other pathogens that could infect him later on.
Do not use petroleum jelly or alcohol when removing ticks because these substances irritate them into biting more deeply into your pet’s skin.
Ask your veterinarian about tick protection products.
If your dog spends time in tick-infested areas, your veterinarian may recommend a product that will prevent ticks from attaching to your dog and preventing them from transmitting disease. But not all flea and tick products are created equal. Some products work better than others for certain breeds and sizes of dogs, while some work best against certain types of ticks and at different times of year.
It’s important to find a flea and tick product that works well for your pet’s individual needs when it comes to protecting them against Ehrlichia, Babesia or Borrelia burgdorferi (the bacteria that causes Lyme disease).
Use flea and tick preventives that kill ticks as well as fleas.
You should also use flea and tick preventives that kill ticks as well as fleas. Ticks are the most common carrier of Ehrlichia, so it is important to use a product that will kill them. There are several different types of products available for this purpose: oral medications, topical spot-on applications, and collars with active ingredients applied to them. Each of these has its own pros and cons; we’ll break down their differences throughout this guide so you can find out which option works best for your dog.
Create a barrier by keeping your lawn trimmed and grassy areas mowed.
The ticks that carry ehrlichiosis prefer to live in tall grass and brush. They are not attracted to dogs or humans; they need to find hosts on their own. While you can’t completely eliminate this risk, you can reduce the chances of your dog coming into contact with ticks by keeping grassy areas mowed regularly and free of leaves, debris, brushwood and woody plants as well as weeds.
The best way to treat and prevent tick-borne disease is to keep your dog away from wooded or brushy areas where ticks live. That said, the prevalence of ticks varies depending on the region. In general, ticks are most common in rural or suburban areas with tall grasses and lots of trees. They’re less common in urban settings where there’s little vegetation and fewer opportunities for them to find hosts like dogs.
Ticks are also less likely to survive during hot weather—their bodies require a temperature between 50°F (10°C) and 80°F (26°C).
This information may be overwhelming, but it shouldn’t discourage you from taking your dog on outdoor adventures. Just be sure to take the proper precautions and treat your pet with tick preventatives if necessary. And, of course, if your dog develops any signs of illness after being bitten by a tick, see a veterinarian immediately!