Protecting Your Dog from Ticks - Tips and Tricks for Pet Owners

1. Check Your Dog Daily

Ticks are blood-sucking parasites that can spread a variety of diseases to dogs. These diseases are dangerous and even life-threatening, so it’s important to protect your dog from them.

Tick prevention starts with vigilance and year-round protection. Regularly check your dog for ticks, especially after spending time outdoors in areas with a high tick population.

Ticks like to stick around warm, dark, and moist places on the body, so make sure you feel your dog all over, particularly between the ears, armpits, groin, tail, and belly. Ticks can also be found on your dog’s paws and in the webbing between their toes.

To protect themselves and their pets from ticks, individuals can take certain precautions such as avoiding leafy areas, checking their and their pet's bodies for ticks after spending time outside, taking a shower within two hours of being in a tick-prone area, removing attached ticks properly, and being watchful for any signs of tick-borne illness. Ticks are also more prevalent in areas where you are seeing warmer weather during colder months as ticks are active when the weather is above freezing. (1)

2. Use Tick Collars

Tick collars are a convenient way to protect your dog from ticks. They're easy to attach and release a pesticide that spreads throughout your pet's skin and hair, providing round-the-clock protection.

Collars also help reduce odor caused by fleas and ticks, making keeping your pet healthy while outdoors easier. Plus, some of them repel mosquitoes, too.

One popular product is the Seresto flea and tick control collar. It contains two pesticides - imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid, and flumethrin, a pyrethroid - that work together to kill fleas and ticks without biting the dog.

Unfortunately, the EPA has received more than 75,000 reports of Seresto-related harm since its introduction in 2012. In response, the agency is conducting a formal review of the product. It will evaluate whether there's a causal link between the collar and reported incidents and their severity and frequency. Until then, it's recommended to use other flea and tick treatments instead.

3. Keep Your Dog Out of Tick-Friendly Areas

Ticks are a major concern for dog owners and can be a serious health problem, particularly for dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors. They can carry several diseases, including Lyme disease, canine ehrlichiosis, canine anaplasmosis, and canine babesiosis.

Tick-borne illnesses are not immediately noticeable and can take seven to twenty-one or more days to develop, so it’s critical to catch them early on.

Regularly inspect your dog after spending time in tick-prone areas, especially on the neck, head, ears, feet, and between toes. Check your dog daily (especially in high-risk settings) or multiple times a day.

Ticks love to live in dense, wooded areas and tall grass or brush, so it’s important to keep your dog out of these tick-friendly environments. Often, these environments can be found in wooded areas or along hiking trails, parks, residential gardens, and even your backyard.

4. Treat Your Dog for Ticks

Ticks can carry a variety of disease-causing organisms. These include Lyme disease, babesiosis, and canine ehrlichiosis, to name a few.

It’s important to remove a tick as soon as possible after your dog has been bitten. Removing a tick can prevent it from spreading these diseases.

Use tweezers or a tick scoop to grasp the tick as close to your pet’s skin as you can. Steadily pull upward until the tick releases its grip.

After you’ve removed the tick, keep it for identification and dab your dog’s skin with a mild antiseptic to reduce the risk of infection.

If your dog does develop a tick-borne illness, it’s essential to take them to the veterinarian immediately. Symptoms can include arthritis or lameness lasting for three to four days, reluctance to move, swollen joints, fever, fever, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite, and neurological problems.