Caution sign for ticks with hikers and a dog walking through a forest.

How to Keep Your Dog Safe from Ticks Year-Round

March was the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s National Tick Awareness Month – a campaign aimed at reminding Canadians how important it is to be informed about ticks and the potential hazards they can present to both humans and pets.

While tick activity seems to increase during the month of March in most parts of Canada, it’s important to note that every season is tick season, and we should be prepared year-round.

Today we’re exploring some of the top questions pet owners might have about ticks, and what can be done to protect furry family members.

How Will Ticks Affect My Dog?

Ticks attach themselves to dogs by biting their skin and survive by feeding on blood. The place where ticks attach can become red and irritated. Just like in humans, ticks can cause Lyme disease and other illnesses in dogs.

Be aware of your dog’s behaviour – sudden onset of lethargy or reluctance to move, play, or eat can be a cause for alarm. Dogs with tick bites may also experience mild joint swelling or a low-grade fever.

Note that these signs usually appear two to five months following a tick bite.

How Can I Check my Dog for Ticks?

Pet owners should check their dogs for ticks frequently. Research shows that Lyme disease transmission typically takes 36 to 48 hours, so early intervention is critical! Checking your pet everyday will significantly decrease the risk of tick-borne illness.

Use the quality time spent with your pup to do a quick but thorough check. Feel their legs right down to their feet, check underneath collars, inspect paw pads, ears, and more.

How Can I Remove a Tick From my Dog?

The best way to remove a tick requires a pair of tweezers with a fine point. This is to avoid tearing the tick and spreading possible infections to the bite area.

Using the tweezers, grasp the tick as closely to your dog’s skin as possible, and pull up gently but firmly until the tick releases itself. Do not attempt to use chemicals or noxious substances to remove a tick.

After removal, wash your hands thoroughly and clean the bite site with rubbing alcohol.

What’s the Best Way to Protect my Dog from Ticks?

With regular walks and time spent playing outdoors, it can be difficult to limit your dog’s exposure to ticks, but the regular use of recommended tick control products can help.

Your veterinarian can advise you on the best products to use that are specific to both your pup and other situational factors, such as your location.

Veterinarians are an invaluable resource to help manage your dog’s tick exposure.

Explore More about Tick Protection and Education

If you’re looking for more reliable information about ticks and protecting your pets and other loved ones, visit Tick Talk Canada or American Veterinary Medical Association. You’ll find lots of resources including videos, maps, and even quizzes to test your tick knowledge.

Be sure to check with your veterinarian about trusted and recommended products to help protect your dog from ticks.

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