Our canine friends look forward to their daily walk, run, hike, or outdoor frolic. Outside, there are always bugs. Ticks are leading. Bloodsucking arachnids feed on dogs and people year-round.
CDC: "Dogs are very susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases," with symptoms appearing 21 days after a bite. The American Kennel Club says ticks can also infect dogs with Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Bartonellosis, and Hepatozoonosis (AKC).
It might sound simple, but an easy way to avoid tick bites is to avoid areas where there are a lot of ticks—mainly grassy, shrubby, and wooded areas. If you're hiking, stay in the center of the trail and not close to the fauna. And keep in mind that even places like beaches can be harboring ticks.
Even without trees and tall shrubs, your yard can attract ticks. Keep the grass mowed and remove weeds and brush to deter them. The CDC recommends removing leaf and wood piles, old furniture, and play equipment. They also recommend erecting a 3-foot-wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas to prevent tick migration into recreational areas.
Topical liquids or gels should be applied between your dog's shoulder blades, but "pets who like to rub against you or furniture, groom themselves and others, and who have sensitive skin should be monitored if this is used to prevent them from ingesting it, as it is toxic," warns Mahan.
"Check your dog daily, especially after a grassy or wooded walk," says Corinne Wigfall, a registered veterinarian and SpiritDog Training spokesperson. "Most ticks are found in thin hair. Look around your dog's ears, eyes, armpits, groyne, and toes."
If you see a tick on Fido, remove it right away to reduce the risk of tick-borne disease. "A tick can be mistaken for a small growth or wart on your dog's skin," says Wigfall. You risk leaving the mouthpart in your dog's skin, which can transmit infectious diseases.