As summer draws to a close and fall approaches, chances are you’re wanting to soak up as much warm weather as possible before it goes away. If you’re also a dog owner, chances are good you want your pooch to join you on your outdoor adventures.
There are few things dogs love more than being outside. It gives them a chance to stay active and explore the world around them. Unfortunately, being outside means there’s also a good chance they can pick up ticks and fleas. It seems every year there are news reports about how bad tick problems are going to be in your state or your area and when it comes to your dog, it’s best to stay vigilant.
For those unfamiliar, ticks are small parasites that attach themselves to your dog via the skin (and they can attach to you as well). A tick can stay on a dog until it dies naturally or something is used to kill it. In the nymph and adult stages, ticks are very dangerous and they can even produce eggs while they are feeding on your pooch. It’s a scary thing to think about, but a trip to a vet clinic can get all your tick questions answered and allow you to get some tick and flea preventative.
So what can happen if your dog gets bitten by a tick or gets a tick on them? For starters, some tick-borne diseases can essentially be dormant for up to three weeks before you notice anything is wrong. When symptoms do manifest, your dog can be susceptible to things like:
- Skin irritation
- Skin rashes
- Psychological issues if they’re scratching a lot
- Possible transmission of tick-borne diseases from the dog to owner
The last point is an important one since you and your dog live together. To prevent ticks and transfer of diseases, a visit to a vet clinic can help you come up with an easy tick prevention plan.
You’ve read about what can happen if your dog gets bitten by a tick, but how do you know when it happens? You’re likely to see a red spot where a tick has bitten to feed on your dog’s blood. In many cases you may find the tick still attached to the spot where it’s been feeding or in a spot where it’s trying to burrow under your dog’s skin. Ticks are about 3mm long and you’ll know exactly what you’re looking at when you see them.
So what can you do? Get to a vet clinic and talk to the vet about treatment options. Fortunately, there are several available and your vet can help you pick the best one for your dog. There are many that are effective and FDA-approved, but talk to your vet about which ones you should use.
So what are some good tick and flea prevention methods for your dog? If you visit a veterinary clinic, your vet is likely to point you to one of the following treatment:
- Spot-on treatments: There are many different options for spot-on treatments and they can vary in effectiveness. The best move for finding the best treatment for your dog is to visit your local vet clinic, talk to your vet and go over options that will keep your dog healthy and safe. In many cases the spot-on treatments involve applying a liquid from the top of your dog’s back down to about the tail and letting it soak into their skin. These are typically given about once a month.
- Tick collars: These are sometimes recommended by your local vet clinic based on your dog’s lifestyle.
- Oral tablets: These are one of the most popular tick treatments available and they are safe for your family and your furry friend. Most tablets are only available from a vet’s office though, so you’ll have to make an appointment to get them.
Even if you already have your dog on tick preventative plan, your dog can still be affected. A trip to your nearest vet clinic for an annual checkup will keep your dog healthy and give you more insight on how to keep the pests away.