Preventing ticks on dogs can save your pet from contracting dangerous diseases. There are several methods of prevention, including applying antiparasitic substances on your dog, in the yard, or in the dog’s cage.
Ticks won’t ask for permission to feed on your dog’s blood, and your pet does not know how to protect itself. As their owners and guardians, we must consider their health a priority, and tick prevention is the first step.
Tick bites can be fatal to your dog. Sometimes the cellular dysfunctions are so severe that the hope of survival becomes zero.
These parasites are not only dangerous to dogs but also to humans. Ticks can migrate from your dog to you, exposing you to risks. Prevention is not only for our pets but also for us.
In this article, you will find out what ticks are, how to prevent ticks, what the best methods of prevention are, what to do if you have found a tick and more.
What Is a Tick?
A tick is an external parasite that feeds on the blood of dogs and other mammals. Ticks can transmit dangerous diseases to our pets through their saliva. There are many species of ticks but only a few can infect your dog.
A female tick can lay up to 5000 eggs at once. The eggs are translucent, brown and red, and easy to spot.
You can kill tick eggs by pouring salt on them.
From an egg, a larva hatches. The larva is about 0.5 mm in size, dark-colored, and feeds with blood. Given their small size, dog owners can have trouble spotting or differentiating them from dirt or other debris.
After feeding, the larvae molt into nymphs. These are as large as a poppy seed (about 1 mm), dark-colored, and feed on blood. They are easier to spot than the larvae.
After feeding, a nymph morphs and molts into adult females and males. Only the females feed on blood, while the males’ purpose is to reproduce.
Larvae, nymphs, and adult females can all transmit dangerous diseases to your pet.
How to Prevent Ticks on Dogs
Preventing ticks is not as hard as it sounds. There are plenty of methods of prevention. The most common ways of preventing ticks are using spot-on pipettes and antiparasitic collars.
Many antiparasitic products are effective against ticks. These can be found in many forms:
- Spot-on pipettes
The most commonly used and effective products are those with topical application (medical treatment that is applied directly on the skin), such as spot-on pipettes. They have an efficacy of four weeks, but the application should be done every three weeks in the rainier months.
Antiparasitic powders are most often recommended for puppies, but they are not as effective as other methods of prevention.
The antiparasitic tablets are suited for dogs who like water or those who get wet more often. Contact with water decreases the effectiveness of topical products, which is why tablets are better if your dog likes to swim.
Antiparasitic collars work for 4-8 months, depending on the brand.
Sprays are usually used in massive infestations because they can easily be applied all over the body. They are effective for up to 4 weeks.
Antiparasitic shampoos are not appreciated by many veterinarians. Although these products promise to keep external parasites away, they are not as effective.
Some spot-on pipettes or collars contain herbal ingredients instead of the classic antiparasitic substances. These are recommended for dogs that are allergic to common substances.
1. Apply Antiparasitic Substances to Your Dog
Topical antiparasitic products should not be applied to your dog 48 hours before or after bathing unless specified on the manufacturer’s label.
The weight and age of your dog must be taken into account when buying antiparasitic products. Each product is intended for a specific age or weight.
- Spot-on pipettes can be applied after the age of 7-8 weeks
- Antiparasitic sprays after the age of two days
- Powders after the age of four weeks
- Collars after 3 months of age
2. Use Antiparasitic Substances in the Garden and Your Home
To prevent ticks effectively, it is not enough to apply antiparasitic substances to your dog.
The prevention and control of external parasites are also done through a series of measures applied to the environment in which your pet lives.
Only 5% of the parasites are found on the dog itself. The rest come from the environment. For this reason, it is recommended to use antiparasitic substances in the garden and in the dog’s cage.
For dogs living in an apartment, it is recommended to regularly vacuum the places where they sleep and apply a non-toxic pesticide.
Related: Home Remedies for Ticks on Dogs
3. Check Your Dog for Ticks
If you see your dog itching and scratching and think it has ticks, perform a thorough check-up, from head to tail.
Look in the following areas:
- Face, especially around the eyes, ears, and chin
- Between the skinfolds
- Between the toes
- Base of the tail
- Between the shoulder blades
What Is the Best Way to Prevent Ticks on Dogs?
For effective prevention, especially in the warmer seasons, it is recommended to use several antiparasitic products at the same time. You should also use antiparasitic substances in your garden, dog’s cage, or in your home.
No products guarantee 100% protection. To ensure extra protection for your dog it is recommended to use several antiparasitic products at the same time, especially in the warm season, as follows:
- Spot-on pipette and antiparasitic collar
- Antiparasitic collar, shampoo, and spot-on pipette
- Antiparasitic powder and collar
What to Do if You Find a Tick on Your Dog?
If you find a tick on your dog, you should remove it and dispose of it. There are plenty of removal methods to choose from. Don’t forget to disinfect the bitten area after removal.
There are many ways to remove a tick, but the most common is to use tweezers.
If you find a tick on your dog you have to:
- Grab the tweezers.
- Grab the tick with the tweezers as close as possible to the skin.
- Pull up gently without twisting it – apply pressure and force.
- Make sure you didn’t leave the mouthpiece still attached.
- Remove the mouthpiece.
- Dispose of the tick – wrap it in an adhesive band or soak it in acetone or alcohol.
- Disinfect your pet’s bitten area.
Related: How to Remove a Tick From a Dog?
Are Ticks Dangerous to Dogs?
Ticks are dangerous to dogs as they can transmit a variety of diseases. Not all ticks can transmit infectious pathogens. Even if a tick transmits diseases or not, there is always a risk of infection of the bitten area.
Ticks can transmit various infectious pathogens to dogs. The transmission of diseases is done through their saliva, which they inject when feeding.
The most common infectious diseases ticks transmit to dogs are:
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
- Lyme disease
Some species of ticks from Australia can also cause dog paralysis, which in most cases is fatal.
Related: Can Ticks Kill Dogs?
The main concern should be preventing ticks, not treating the ticks, diseases, or bites. It is easier to prevent infestations and diseases transmitted by these external parasites than to treat them.
It is also less expensive to apply topical antiparasitic substances frequently than to treat a dog with a tick-borne disease. These illnesses need testing, hospitalization, and treatment, and many times, they can lead to the death of your pet.
There are many products that can prevent ticks. You can use a single product or a combination of products. The second is especially useful during warmer seasons.
Ask your vet for help, at least the first time you are purchasing antiparasitic products, as they are intended for different age groups. If they are too concentrated, they can poison your dog.