Our dogs are the apples to our eye; we can’t help but love them for what they are: loyal, compassionate, adorably cute companions. As pet parents, we want to be sure that we are doing everything in our ability to ensure that our dog’s quality of life is second to none. We would do anything for them – they are our fur babies! However, sometimes the monthly prevention responsibilities fall to the wayside as life throws us its perpetual curveballs.
Unfortunately, we cannot stress enough how important it is to keep up to date with these responsibilities; otherwise, you can risk the health of your dog.
We know how important it is to prevent heartworm in our dogs and cats, but there are other responsibilities as a pet parent that we need to make sure are occurring every month.
Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial illness transmitted to dogs by certain ticks. It is caused by the spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi carried inside a tick and gets into a dog’s bloodstream through a tick bite.
Unfortunately, signs do not show straight away, so it is vital to be thorough if you ever come into contact in an area where ticks run free.
Signs that can occur are:
- Joint pain & swelling
- Lameness (can be shifting, intermittent, and recurring)
- Loss of appetite
- Generalized stiffness, discomfort, or pain
Even so, it can be hard to see the signs no matter how vigilant we may be. There are tests to determine whether the dog has been infected by Lymes disease. However, they take up to nine weeks to show positive results.
It’s a sneaky infection. One that we feel is important for all canine parents to be informed.
Here are some of our tips to show you how you can prevent your pup from being infected with Lyme Disease.
When Is Tick Season?
Tick season varies in all parts of the country. According to the Florida Department of Health, ticks are most prevalent for those living in Florida over Spring and summer seasons.
Many dog owners believe that ticks only occur during the warmer weather, but they can strike at any time during the year. Regularly check your dog’s coat and body to see if they have a tick embedded- if so, you must remove it straight away!
Removal of a Tick
If you see a tick, make sure you remove it by using these steps:
- Use fine-tipped tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible; you want to make sure you have grasped all of it.
- Be sure when pulling upward that you are steady and keep even pressure on the tick. To prevent leaving remnants of the tick (that can still be harmful), do not try and twist the tick out.
- Once the tick has been removed, you should thoroughly clean the wounded area with rubbing alcohol, soap, and water. Don’t forget to wash your hands also!
- Whatever you do, refrain from squashing or crushing a tick with your bare fingers. The proper way to dispose of a live tick is to put it into the alcohol, placing it in a sealed container, and wrapping it up tightly with tape or flushing it down the toilet.
Ask your veterinarian if your dog would be a good candidate for the Lyme Disease vaccination. The typical protocol will involve an initial vaccination followed by a booster 2-4 weeks later and an annual booster after that.
Tick Preventative Products
There are plenty of products on the market used to prevent ticks, fleas, and worms that you can routinely administer to your dog.
Here is a list of our favorites:
Best Overall: NexGard Soft Chew for Dogs
“These flea prevention soft chews are delivered through your dog’s bloodstream to kill ticks and fleas before they can lay eggs.”
Best Shampoo: Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo
“Working to kill fleas and ticks and to prevent flea development for up to 28 days, this shampoo is gentle for sensitive skin.”
Best for Large Dogs: Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Treatments
“This waterproof topical treatment gives long-lasting protection for a full 30 days, killing fleas and ticks.”
Best for Puppies & Small Dogs: Bayer K9 Advantix ll Flea and Tick Prevention for Small Dogs
“Working for up to 30 days to kill fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes on contact, this treatment can be used safely on dogs as young as seven weeks.”
Best Natural: Vet’s Best Flea & Tick & Home Spray
“This plant-based spray is formulated with certified natural peppermint and clove essential oils to kills fleas and ticks on contact.”