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Lyme disease is projected to be more prevalent this summer than it has been in summers past. Dogs are not immune to this tick-borne illness.
Some pet parents believe if they don’t take their dogs into wooded areas or areas in which deer (one of the biggest carriers of ticks) congregate their dogs will be safe from a tick bite and the potential for Lyme Disease – this is not true. Your dog can be bitten and infected right in your own backyard – right where he or she, probably, relieve themselves.
Ticks are small and not all tick bites leave the telltale bull’s eye rash associated with the disease.
If you have a long-haired or dark-haired dog it is more difficult to locate a tick. If the tick is undetected, it could bite your dog, infect him and you’d be hard-pressed to know your dog was sick until the symptoms present themselves.
The symptoms of Lyme disease include:
When you’re checking your dog for ticks, here are some places to check:
Brush your dog and run your hands over their entire body every time you take them outside – even if it’s only into your backyard or just for a few moments.
Only through diligent care can you assure your dog won’t suffer a tick bite. If you live in one of the areas where ticks thrive, you should have a tick comb and use it daily on your dog.
Lyme disease is preventable if you protect your pet and take precautions to assure she doesn’t get bitten.
You can do this by keeping your grass cut short and making it not critter-friendly. In addition to deer, chipmunks, mice and other woodland animals can carry deer ticks. Don’t put out bird seed in the summer as that will draw mice, squirrels, and chipmunks to your yard.
Plant foliage that doesn’t attract deer and remove any piles of standing or rotted wood. If you plant fruits or vegetables in your yard and want to keep deer away, you can use shavings of Irish Spring soap, scattered around the plants to keep them away. There are other pet-friendly ways to repel deer and other animals.
Don’t let your dog wander off into the woods.
When you walk your dog stay away from shrubs and other leafy areas and trees. Every time your dog goes out into the woods or your yard, check him or her for ticks. Use a tick comb and comb from tail to head so you can see their skin.
If you find a tick, it needs to be immediately removed.
To remove a tick from your dog you need to:
Let your veterinarian know your dog was bitten and ask for his or her advice. Monitor your dog closely for signs or symptoms of infection.
Don’t let the fear of ticks and tick bites keep you and your dog from enjoying the summer weather.
Exercise is important for your dog’s overall health and walking and being outdoors together is a great way to bond with your dog. Just make sure you’re diligently checking your pet’s skin for ticks after every outing.
Accidents and illness happen and are unexpected, so that’s where pet insurance comes in —let us give you a free quote today.
Robbi Hess is a full-time pet blogger and multi-published author. She shares her life with a diva Poodle, a goofy Goldendoodle, two Devon Rex, a senior ginger kitty, and three reptiles!