Ticks are the bane of any dog owner’s existence. Not only do these tiny insects latch on to your pet and make them miserable, but they can also spread serious disease. It’s important for dog owners to understand just how dangerous ticks can be in order to protect their dogs from tick-transmitted diseases. We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to educate you about ticks so that you can mitigate their impact on your beloved pets as well as yourself—it’s important for humans too! Follow our tips below and you’ll have an extra layer of protection against these aggressive parasites.
Ticks are everywhere
They are in the environment, on the ground, and on plants. Ticks can be found in grass and other vegetation as well. They also attach themselves to trees and bushes in order to begin their life cycle as an adult tick.
Ticks need moisture to live, therefore it is important that you keep your dog away from areas that are moist or wet such as standing water or puddles after rainstorms.
Ticks spread Lyme disease
You may have heard of Lyme disease, but what exactly is it and how does it spread?
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread to humans through the bite of an infected tick. It’s named after a township in Connecticut where it was first identified in 1975.
The main symptoms of Lyme disease are fatigue, fever, headaches or muscle aches that get worse over time. Other symptoms can include:
- Rash that appears at the site of the tick bite (or on other areas of your body), often circular but sometimes shaped like a bullseye or spiral (this rash doesn’t always occur)
- Sore throat with difficulty swallowing or painful swallowing (a sign of an infection called lymphocytic meningitis). This symptom usually comes along with other early signs of Lyme disease
- Fatigue lasting more than six weeks after treatment
Ticks spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is a bacterial infection that can be transmitted to dogs and humans through the bite of a tick. Symptoms of RMSF include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and vomiting. The disease can also cause redness or rash on the palms of hands and soles of feet within 7-10 days after being bitten by an infected tick.
Symptoms usually last for two to three weeks but may go away after only a few days or linger for several months. Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are.
To prevent RMSF:
- Ticks should be removed as soon as possible by using tweezers to grasp them firmly near their heads (not legs) and pull straight up with steady pressure until there is no sign left behind.
- If you live in areas where ticks are common, use insect repellents containing DEET according to instructions on labels.
Ticks can be removed carefully.
Ticks can be removed carefully.
Check your dog for ticks daily! Always use tweezers to remove a tick and try to grasp the head of the insect, not its body. If you are having trouble removing it, use a magnifying glass or a mirror to get a closer look at where it is attached and then grasp it using two fingers and slowly pull upward until all of its legs are removed from your dog’s skin.
It’s a good idea to check your dog for ticks every day.
It’s a good idea to check your dog for ticks every day. While tick prevention is the best option, it’s not 100% effective and there are some things you can do if your pet has been bitten by a tick.
Ticks are small and difficult to see, even with the help of a magnifying glass or mirror. Because they’re so small, they’re also hard to find once they’ve burrowed under your dog’s skin. If you notice any unusual behavior in your pet (such as excessive scratching or licking), make sure to check it closely for signs of ticks. Otherwise, keep an eye on him/her throughout the day—you may be able to spot one before it has had time to bite!
You can avoid ticks by using tick preventatives on your dog.
You can avoid ticks by using tick preventatives on your dog. Tick preventatives are a good idea for all dogs, especially those that go outside and travel to areas where there is a higher likelihood of encountering ticks. These include parks, beaches and other outdoor areas where ticks may be present.
Tick preventatives work by applying a product to the skin of your dog that kills adult ticks before they attach to him or her and feed on blood. Different products are available depending on whether you want protection from fleas as well as ticks or just one of these pests at a time; however, most products provide coverage against both insects without having to use separate treatments each time you visit an area likely to harbor them.
You can take steps to make sure your yard is not inviting to ticks.
- Mow the lawn. This can help keep ticks away, and it will also reduce the number of mosquitoes in your yard.
- Keep grass short. Ticks like to attach themselves to tall grasses and other vegetation because they are easier to hide there. Trimming back your grasses makes it less likely that ticks will crawl up onto you or your dog in search of a host.
- Clean up leaves, twigs and branches as soon as they fall from trees so they don’t build up into thick piles that act as hiding places for ticks on the ground where dogs might step on them later on!
In summary, ticks are dangerous. They can cause serious diseases that affect not only dogs but humans as well. There are easy ways to prevent them, and if you have one on your dog or yourself, you can remove it safely with a tick removal tool.