Cooler weather may be settling in across much of the country, but that does not mean you should become lax about giving your dog their tick prevention medication. Ticks can still be active throughout the winter in warmer climates such as the Southeast or may only go dormant for a short time until temperatures rise. They may move to locations where there is more brush cover or places to hide and stay warm. They can even head indoors.
Ticks can carry potentially harmful diseases such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, tularemia, and more. One of the best ways to protect your dog from illness is by consistently using a tick prevention medication. There are also steps you can take to reduce risk of these pesky critters bothering your dog:
- Clean up any brush outside such as layers of leaves or other debris. Keep your dog away from leaf and wood piles, as well as low-hanging branches. Ticks can perch on the end and attach to your dog’s fur as they pass by.
- If you go on hikes or live in a wooded area, double-check your dog’s fur when you come instead. Pay close attention to their ears, armpits, groin, and underneath any folds of skin where it stays warm.
- Secure trash and food so as not to attract wild animals such as deer, raccoons, and mice that may be carrying ticks.
What to Do If You Find a Tick
Ticks can transmit diseases in just a few hours and may feed for several days. If you see a tick, you want to remove it as soon as possible to reduce risk of illness. You can buy special devices for removing ticks or use a pair of fine-point tweezers. You want to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible to help prevent detaching the mouth from the rest of the body. Gently pull straight up, being careful not to squeeze too hard. The tick should come out in one piece. Clean the area with rubbing alcohol or a pet-safe disinfectant.
Be Alert for Tick Bite Symptoms
Common symptoms that may indicate a tick-borne disease include:
- Swollen joints
If you know your dog was bitten by a tick – or suspect it may have been – contact your veterinarian immediately. They will let you know next steps, which may include bringing your pet in, or starting them on an antibiotic.
Be Safe This Winter
Conduct regular inspections of your pet’s fur and skin to check for any ticks or debris that may have gotten caught. Schedule a winter grooming to keep their coat healthy and at a proper length and thickness. If you’re heading out of town, give yourself peace of mind that your dog is safe and warm by boarding them at Lake Wylie Pet Resort. Please note that Lake Wylie Pet Resort requires all dogs to be flea- and tick-free and is happy to provide insight on treatment options. Book your pet’s next stay by contacting us today!