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Well, no, not that last part. No one likes having to deal with the possibility of ticks attacking their dog during the spring and summer. Ticks are horrid little parasites that you can find just about everywhere – in the woods, in the tall grass, and even in urban areas like dog parks. They carry Lyme disease and other diseases, and often, you will not even know that your dog has contracted a tick-borne ailment until you see obvious signs of suffering.
The first thing you have to do is be very vigilant. You should examine your dog daily for ticks, and if necessary, remove them with tweezers. Then destroy them, and get your dog to the vet.
Of course, as is the case with virtually everything that can harm your dog, prevention is better than a cure. So, how can you prevent ticks from taking hold in the first place? There are several options available to you.
These are pills that you use monthly to kill ticks and disrupt their breeding cycle. They are easy to give – just hide a pill in a cheese slice or other treat. They are not secreted through the skin, so you do not have to worry about children or other pets coming into contact with the dog following treatment.
These are chemical preparations that are dabbed onto your dog’s skin in order to kill ticks on contact. They can be effective, but you have to make sure that you cover all the areas that could be affected. These treatments can also be toxic to children and other animals, so you should use caution, or perhaps consider another treatment like oral medications.
A tick dip is a chemical that you dilute using water, and then apply to your dog’s hair by pouring it over the dog, or dabbing it on with a sponge. It is not intended to be rinsed off, and the chemicals can be extremely strong, so it is not advisable to use a dip if your dog will be in contact with children or other animals. Dips are highly effective, but should never be used on any dog under the age of four months, or on a pregnant or nursing dog.
If you bathe your dog regularly to begin with, you might consider a shampoo that is formulated to kill ticks upon contact. You will need to do it every couple of weeks though.
Tick collars work by transferring chemicals to the skin, but they will only protect your dog’s head and neck. If the dog loses the collar, he has no protection at all, and if he chews on the collar he could get sick. Some dogs also experience allergic reactions from tick collars. Don’t waste your money.
There are powders available that will repel and kill ticks. You will have to keep tick powder away from the dog’s face and eyes, because if it is inhaled, it can be toxic. During peak tick season, you will have to apply powder at least once a week, rubbing it gently into your dog’s skin.
If you hesitate to use strong chemicals on your dog, you might try Natural Pet Spray for Dogs & Cats by Honeydew. It works to repel not just ticks, but chiggers, fleas and mosquitos as well. It contains citronella, which is a natural insect repellent, and it is safe enough to use every day. Right now, it is available at Amazon at a deep discount – it ordinarily lists for $39.99, but you can buy it for just $10.99. And on orders over $49.00, you get free shipping, so I would suggest stocking up since treating your dog is only the first step – you should also treat your lawn, trees and bushes as well to reduce the tick population.
When I say keep your dog inside, I don’t mean that you should confine him permanently to the house during tick season. Obviously, he is going to want to go outside to do his business, and it would be very unfair to deprive him of daily exercise. As I have just mentioned, though, you should make sure to treat your yard as well as your dog. If your yard is fenced, then you can probably allow him out on his own, but make sure that he can’t run into wooded areas where ticks are lying in wait.
Even if you do treat your yard, you should still make it a point to give your dog a thorough examination when he comes inside. Even after you treat your yard, the occasional “rogue tick” could still make its way into your protected environment.
You do not want your dog to end up being a meal for ticks. Or for that matter, fleas, chiggers and any other nasty bugs that are just waiting out there to harm your dog and infest your home. There are any number of preparations available that can protect your dog from ticks. Tick collars are largely ineffective, and could even harm your dog, so avoid them. Instead, consider oral medications, dips, powders or sprays. And remember, it’s not just your dog that has to be treated – you are also going to have to take measures to rid your yard of ticks, and also to ensure that your dog does not venture into areas where ticks are prevalent. It is far better to take preventative measures than have to deal with tick-caused ailments later on.