How to Prevent a Dog from Getting Ticks

Medium
5 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Ticks are fascinating creatures, believe it or not. But, that does not make them any more pleasant! There are about 80 species of ticks found in the United States. Fortunately, not all types of ticks affect dogs, but several do, and the brown dog tick lives out its entire life cycle on or around a dog. Because ticks survive better in warmer climates or microclimates during the winter, recent warmer winters have allowed ticks to thrive, which is bad news for you and your dog. 

Ticks can live for years, waiting for their opportunity to attach to a host. When your unsuspecting dog passes by on a walk through brush or thick grass, the tick crawls onto your dog, bites and attaches to your dog, and sucks your dog's blood. The tick may stay attached for a few hours or several days, and then drop off to lay their eggs. Most tick bites are acquired from walking in thickly wooded or brushy areas where ticks reside waiting for a host, however, ticks can infest kennels, and homes and transfer between animals. Because they present several health hazards, and can even bite and infect people, preventing tick bites in the first place is the best way to protect your pet.

Dog's Perspective

While a tick is affixed to your dog, it can be unpleasant and itchy. You may notice your dog scratching at or licking and chewing at the tick, but that is the least of the problems a tick bite can present. Ticks carry bacteria and viral diseases including Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which dogs and humans can acquire. These diseases are serious and can even be life-threatening in some cases.

The Grooming and Natural Precautions Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Flea Comb
Step
1
Mix deterrent shampoo
Weekly, mix Palo Santo with organic lavender shampoo. Shampoo your dog and let suds remain on for 20 minutes before rinsing off. The scent acts as a natural deterrent to ticks.
Step
2
Use deterrant oils
Mix 2 tablespoons of almond oil and rose geranium oil. Dab a few drops onto your dog's collar before going out for walks. These oils act as a deterrent.
Step
3
Apply lemon spray
Cut a lemon into several pieces and pour boiling water over it. Allow to steep for several hours. Put the cooled mixture in a spray bottle. Liberally spray your dog all over and apply with a cotton ball behind ears and around head and under legs before going out on walks. Ticks avoid citrus.
Step
4
Check with comb
Use a wide tooth comb every day to check for ticks, especially after walks in wooded areas and fields and during tick season in the spring.
Step
5
Remove ticks with tweezers
Part hair down to the skin and check all over the body, especially on the neck, behind ears, under legs, and on the belly. Remove unattached ticks immediately with a pair of tweezers. Attached ticks can also be removed with tweezers carefully, by squeezing the tick as close to the dog's skin as possible and pulling with steady pressure, check to ensure that tick parts do not remain on your dog.
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The Anti-Tick Medication Method

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Spray
Shampoo
Step
1
Use a collar
Use a commercially available tick collar to prevent ticks. Avoid the tick collar getting wet. This may not be a good option if you have a dog that swims frequently. Contains carbamates and pyrethroids.
Step
2
Use topical medication
Or, apply a topical anti tick ointment that lasts for approximately 1 month that contains permethrin, imidacloprid, or fipronil.
Step
3
Use spray
Or, spray dog with a anti-tick spray that contains pyrethrin or permethrin. You will need to cover all areas of the dog's body and apply to face with a cotton ball.
Step
4
Use powder
Or, apply a flea and tick powder to your dog, containing pyrethrin.
Step
5
Use shampoo
Or use a commercially available tick shampoo that has residual effect of preventing further tick infestations. These may be limited and should be used in conjunction with another tick prevention method. Do not use more than one method with the same medication. Consult a veterinarian on combining methods.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • When using tick medications, be sure not to double up on products with the same medication in them as this can cause an overdose.  
  • Do not use your fingers to remove ticks to avoid getting bitten yourself. Tweezers are appropriate.
  • Do not use a lighter or matches to burn ticks on your dog. Hair is flammable and skin can easily be burned.
  • Tick medication for dogs can be toxic to cats. Take precautions if you have a cat in the house, and do not share medications.
  • If your dog is bitten by a tick, watch for signs of illness and address immediately with a veterinarian
  • Avoiding heavily brushed wooded areas during tick season is advised.

Conclusion

Ticks are nasty little parasites that can affect both you and your dog. They are not only irritating and unsightly, but can result in serious illness and even death. Preventing tick bites with natural topical ingredients and commercially available medications applied to your dog's fur is the best way to prevent a tick bite and a severe reaction and illness. Take precautions to ensure you and other family members are not bitten by ticks that may have taken up residence on your dog, as humans can be affected as well.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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