To keep your dog fit and healthy, you need to prevent ticks almost all year round. The insidious, blood-sucking arachnids can also withstand cooler weather and only become rigid when the temperature falls below 7 degrees. With the following tips, you can protect your dog from the beasts.
The risk of tick bites is particularly high from spring to late autumn. A walk through the forest can be fatal for the dog because the parasites transmit dangerous diseases, including Lyme disease or tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Therefore, all dog owners should regularly prevent disease transmission. Read about the options here.
Prevent ticks: What you can do
Since the little beasts are mainly in the high, damp grass in forests and meadows, you can try to avoid these areas. However, this is not an excellent solution, as your four-legged friend will certainly like to go for a walk there.
You should at least check the animal for ticks after every walk. This method is helpful but still does not offer reliable protection against ticks. With the small size of the parasites, some are easily overlooked. Therefore, the most effective protection against ticks is provided by prophylactic preparations that you can get from the veterinarian.
Safe prevention: spot-on preparations and tick collars
To protect your dog, you should treat it regularly with anti-tick practices. Here you can choose between collars and spot-on preparations. The latter are dripped into the animal’s fur and keep bloodsuckers away by paralyzing them or irritating their sense of smell. Such so-called repellents offer the advantage that they prevent the parasite from biting.
In contrast to most parasiticides, which only kill the bloodsucker once it has bitten, the risk of disease transmission is significantly lower. If you have any questions about the right preparation, ask your veterinarian for advice.
Preventing ticks in dogs: side effects of the agents
If you are concerned that tick repellents may have side effects, speak to your veterinarian. The following symptoms and complaints are occasionally observed as possible side effects of spot-on preparations and tick collars:
● hair loss
● Pustule or blister formation
● Skin redness
● tremors (rare)
● lethargy and depression (rare)
In addition, most products should not be used on puppies. Despite possible side effects of the medication, you should not resort to dubious home remedies without consulting your veterinarian – these sometimes do more harm than good. Your veterinarian will discuss the potential dangers with you and expertly weigh up whether the positive effect of the medication outweighs the risk. They can also give you specific tips on how to get rid of ticks in puppies.
Can you prevent tick bite infections?
The greatest risk of infection from a tick bite is Borrelia, a bacteria that causes Lyme disease. The Lyme disease symptoms are very unspecific and are similar to those of the flu. You can read more about this in the guide “Lyme disease symptoms in dogs: recognizing the disease”. Not every dog bitten by a tick becomes infected with Lyme disease. Still, the risk in Germany is higher than with TBE or babesiosis (canine malaria), which are also transmitted by ticks.
There is a vaccine for dogs against Lyme disease, but the vaccination is not without controversy. For example, it only protects against some of the Borrelia strains so that your dog can become infected with Lyme disease on vacation despite being vaccinated. In addition, the Lyme disease vaccination is said to lead to kidney inflammation if the dog was previously infected. However, the veterinarian can check this with a quick test. The same applies here: Talk to your veterinarian, and he will explain the pros and cons of a Lyme disease vaccination for your dog.
The other infectious diseases transmitted by ticks cannot be avoided by vaccination. The only thing that helps here is to protect your dog from tick infestation and to check it for the parasites after every walk. The faster you remove them, the lower the risk of infection. In addition, healthy dogs with a strong immune system can often fight the pathogens before they can cause an illness.