Tick Season Underway; How to Keep Your Dog Safe

Wild winter weather has led to an early emergence of ticks and with tick season now officially underway, we’re laying out the tips to make sure your dog stays safe.

Photo by: André Karwath aka Aka (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Ticks are found virtually everywhere in California and if you visit woodsy areas with tall grasses, like the Marin Headlands, you will want to check your dog for ticks once you leave.

“Comb your dog or look him over thoroughly after outings to find ticks before they attach,” Dr. Brandy Vickers of Avenues Pet Hospital says.

It’s important to check your dog as soon as possible after leaving wooded areas. The faster you find a tick and have it removed, the lower the risk of transmission of tick-borne diseases.

Some of the signs your dog may have a tick are scratching, sudden hair loss, red skin, and biting at their rear. Dogs will also shake their head since ticks will often hide in or behind their ears or will chew their feet when ticks hide in the webbing of their paws.

If you do find an attached tick, do not to touch it with your bare hands.

“Getting blood from a tick on even a tiny tear in your skin can expose you to a variety of tick-borne diseases,” Dr. Vickers says.

The best thing to do is take your dog to the vet for tick removal since they have instruments specifically designed for it. Not only does your doctor have the tools, but sometimes people who think they’ve found a tick are mistaken.

“I have had many people come in for a presumed tick that just won’t let go no matter how much they twist, pull or burn it,” Dr. Vickers says. “And it turns out it isn’t a tick, it’s a skin tag or a nipple.”

If you can’t make it to the vet, or want to try to remove it yourself, follow the tips from the Centers for Disease Control, which are the same for humans and dogs.

If your have ever found a tick on your pet, you should use tick preventatives to avoid any tick-related diseases. You should also make sure your dog is vaccinated for Lyme disease.

Be on the lookout and keep those doggies safe from ticks this season, which usually lasts through September.

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