The Scoop On Dogs And Ticks

July 10, 2017

The Scoop On Dogs And Ticks

Dogs and ticks are a never-ending scenario for pet parents. It seems that all pet owners have questions about how to prevent their dog from getting ticks, how to remove ticks, and how to keep ticks away altogether. In addition to tick prevention, check out these other tips on caring for your dog during the summer months

Ticks are everywhere and can be a problem throughout the entire year despite the myth that there is no need to worry about them during the colder months. Although it is true that nymphs are inactive during the winter, the brown dog tick may lay its eggs indoors.
There are hundreds of species of ticks, and they are classified as either a soft or hard tick. The most common type of tick to prey on pets is the hard tick. Hard ticks derive their title from their hard outer covering called a scutum. Soft ticks do not have a scutum. For help with tick identification, click here. While our furry canines have plenty of other things to do like playing, pleasing us, eating, walking, and protecting their territories, the adult tick has only one job, and that is to reproduce.

How Do Dogs And Ticks Get Together?
Unfortunately, the tick needs blood to grow, develop, and lay eggs, which is why they need our furry friends as a host. Ticks cannot jump or drop onto their hosts, so they use a behavior known as questing to find food. Learn more about questing
A questing tick strategically positions itself on a blade of grass, leaf or other vegetation and patiently waits for a host to come near. The tick stretches its clawed limbs outward and simply grabs on to the host as it passes.
Dogs And Tick Bites
If you have been to an area where ticks are likely to live such as wooded areas, in tall grass, thick shrubbery and brush, and unmowed lawns, then you should do a thorough body check of your dog when you get home (and before going into the house). It is also a good idea to check yourself and your family members.
Moreover, simply be aware of any behaviors in your dog that seem unusual including excessive licking or biting at a particular site, lots of head shaking, or they have signs of a fever (signs of fever include loss of appetite, weakness, rare panting, and shivering).

Dogs And Tick Diseases
The life cycle of a tick has four stages. The stages are egg, larvae, nymph, and the adult. Some ticks stay on the same host while others require multiple hosts to complete the cycle. Ticks can carry more diseases than any other arthropod in the world!
Because ticks require multiple hosts to complete their lifecycle into adulthood so they can breed and reproduce, they can carry and transmit diseases when they take a meal from an infected host or animal and attach to a new host.
Some of the more common diseases linked to dogs and ticks are Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. Click here to see how ticks spread disease.
Ticks On Dogs And How To Keep Them Away
Although ticks can be anywhere, the good news is that you can take a few simple steps to help keep ticks away from your dog.
For the outdoors, it is a good idea to spray a pesticide for ticks to your yard and any trees, shrubs, and bushes that are taller. Mow the lawn frequently, and clear tall grasses and shrubs around your home and at the edge of your lawn. Remove any trash and pile wood neatly in a dry area.
There are several products you can purchase for your dogs such as flea and tick collars, chewable tablets and topicals. There are also flea and tick sprays, powders, and shampoos that you can use.
Keep in mind that even with these products like chewables, you may still see ticks. Remember, the ticks will need to bite your dog to get a dose of the prevention contained in the product.

Dogs And Ticks 101
As a dog owner, due diligence with tick prevention is the key to keeping the family safe, comfortable, and happy. Don’t panic if you see a tick. Do routine maintenance of your surroundings, and remember to check yourself and your dog after walks and after visiting areas prone to tick habitation.
Moreover, be especially attentive during the spring and summer months when ticks are highly active. Don’t let ticks ruin your dog’s fun! Take some precautions and get out there and enjoy the dog days of summer!