Spending a lot of time outdoors with your beloved dog is one of the best parts of summer, but unfortunately doing so also increases your dog's risk of contact with ticks. Ticks are parasites that latch onto dogs, often on their feet or ears, and transmit diseases including Lyme disease. Luckily, there are specific things you can do to protect your dog from ticks, and they don't require you to stay inside all summer. Here are three ways to protect your dog from ticks.
1. Check for Ticks Every Day
Tick bites do not immediately lead to disease, so if you spot and remove ticks promptly your dog will most likely be safe. At the end of the day, spend some time looking over your pup and running your hands through their fur to look for ticks. If you do spot a tick, it is important to remove it right away, but it's just as important to remove it the right way so that no part of the tick breaks off and remains in your dog's skin.
The safest way to remove a tick is to grasp it carefully with tweezers and pull it slowly out of your dog's skin. Then, clean your dog's skin with rubbing alcohol, after disposing of the tick.
2. Steer Clear of Tick Havens
Ticks tend to congregate in tall weeds and grasses, thick brush, and wooded areas. Ideally, you will keep your dog on-leash when walking through wooded areas or meadows, and prevent them from going into the brush, weeds, or grasses. Keeping your lawn mowed and free of weeds will discourage ticks from taking up residence in your yard. If you live near the woods or in a region with a large tick population, it's a good idea to give your dog a topical tick repellant just to be safe.
3. Get the Lyme Disease Vaccine
While ticks can cause a variety of illnesses, the most serious is Lyme disease. Luckily, dogs can receive a vaccination against Lyme disease at your vet office when they get their routine shots. Be sure to ask your vet if this is appropriate, since the Lyme vaccine may not make sense for all dogs, and this can depend on your dog's age and health as well as your local climate.
Following these tips won't necessarily eliminate contact with ticks, but it will protect your dog from harmful infections and diseases.