Keeping Your Dog Safe from Ticks this Summer
Flea and tick prevention for dogs, though always essential, may take on higher importance this summer. Experts from the Weather Channel are predicting tick populations will rise to an all-time high this year. Since ticks don’t discriminate against age, whether your dog is a puppy, an adult or a senior dog, it’s a good idea to educate yourself and stay prepared so you and your dog can have a carefree summer, and making sure you’re up to date on flea and tick medication is a great first step.
How do I Remove a Tick from My Dog
Dog tick removal should happen the moment you spot a tick on your dog. Even if they are on veterinary prescribed tick prevention, it can take some time for the medication to start working to remove them. Ticks usually don’t transmit disease until about 24 to 48 hours after attachment, so one way to provide the best tick prevention for dogs is checking for ticks once they come inside. If you find any, remove them immediately. This way you’ll be going a long way to help protect your dog from disease.
The Center for Disease Control recommends these steps to remove a dog tick safely:
- Clean the affected area with rubbing alcohol.
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the tick’s mouth parts to break off and remain in the skin. Avoid any contact with the tick’s blood, which can transmit infection to your dog or you.
- If the tick’s mouth parts do break off in your dog’s skin, remove the mouth parts with tweezers. If you aren’t able to successfully remove them, leave them be and let the skin heal.
- After removing the tick, clean the bite area and your hands thoroughly with rubbing alcohol.
- Give a call to your veterinarian for good measure. He or she may want to examine your dog, especially if certain tick-borne illnesses are rampant in your area.
What are the Symptoms of Tick-Borne Illnesses in Dogs?
Even if you spotted and removed a tick from your dog, it’s essential to keep an eye on their health and behavior to monitor any symptoms of tick-borne illnesses. Common tick-borne diseases include Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but there are several others. If your dog has any of the following symptoms, bring him to the veterinarian immediately for an examination.
- Swollen or “hot” joints
- Fatigue or Lethargy
- Lack of Appetite
- Stiff joints
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Runny eyes and nose
- Vision problems
- Pale gums
- Bloody diarrhea
When Should I Look Out for Dog Fleas?
Ticks aren’t the only summertime foe from which you need to protect your dog. Fleas start to become an issue when the temperature reaches between 65 to 80 degrees and humidity rises to 75 to 85 percent. Fleas usually spread from contact with another animal, as they are unable to fly, so they tend to jump from host to host.
Dog Flea Symptoms
The most common sign that your dog has fleas is excessive itching, caused by flea bites, which in some cases can become severe for dogs with sensitive skin. Before you see fleas, you may first notice “flea dirt,” (little dark specs on the skin) which is, in fact, flea feces consisting primarily of dog blood.
Fleas tend to avoid light. If you think your dog has a flea infestation, it’s good to look for them in areas that are more heavily covered in fur or on the inner thighs. Fleas are visible, as they are about the size of the head of a pin and have a dark copper color.
How Do I Get Rid of Fleas on a Dog?
For proper dog flea treatment, it’s best to consult your veterinarian, who may recommend oral or topical solutions to quickly curtail the problem. While some may be over-the-counter, it may be necessary to use a prescription flea prevention treatment for your dog. These treatments typically work one of two ways: killing the fleas themselves or killing flea eggs and breaking the lifecycle. Flea removal can be a difficult process, and it’s important to work with your veterinarian to discuss a treatment plan for your pet as well as the environment to break the flea lifecycle.
Looking for more flea and dog tick prevention tips? Consult your veterinarian – they’ll have the best insight into the flea and tick trends in your area.
Keeping fleas and ticks away from your dog is a great step towards keeping them healthy, and so is having the perfect dog food. Personalize a blend just for them with Just Right.