Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of being outdoors with your dog. However, just as you enjoy the warmer weather, so too do a host of disease-carrying bugs, including ticks. At Chico, we’ve prepared this article to help you and your pet safely enjoy the outdoors.
Ticks in Quebec
Tick populations have been steadily increasing in Quebec over the past few years. These tiny insects pose a significant threat to both humans and dogs as certain species can transmit harmful bacteria that may cause serious diseases.
Signs your dog may have been bitten by a tick
Many tick-borne diseases such as anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis and Lyme disease can cause the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Joint problems
Some of these signs may occur weeks or even months after your dog is bitten. Fortunately, removing a tick as soon as possible can significantly reduce the chances of contracting a potentially life-threatening disease.
How dogs get ticks
Unlike many other insects, ticks don’t fly or jump. They simply drop onto their victims by patiently waiting on the tips of stems or branches.
Therefore, it’s easy for a tick to cling to your dog’s fur as it brushes past tall grass or shrubs. The insect then moves around until it finds the perfect place to bite, such as around your dog’s neck, head or back. The trickiest part is that it’s easy for ticks to go unnoticed and your dog likely won’t even realize it’s been bitten.
How to prevent your dog from being bitten by a tick
There are several ways to reduce the risk of your dog coming into contact with an infected tick. First, it’s a good idea to do a bit of research to ensure you aren’t visiting an area with a high infestation rate. You should also choose well-maintained trails and keep your dog on a leash at all times.
Preventive treatments for ticks
There are a variety of topical and oral preventive products that are effective against ticks. Your veterinarian may also recommend a Lyme disease vaccine. However, even if your pet appears to be perfectly healthy, it’s a good idea to get an annual screening.
How to tell if your dog has been bitten by a tick
You should always carefully inspect your dog’s fur after taking it for a walk. The sooner a tick is removed, the less time it has to bite your pet and potentially transmit a disease.
However, even if caught early, it’s still possible the tick may have bitten your dog. You’ll know if your dog has been infected if you notice a sudden change in your pet’s behaviour. You can have your veterinarian confirm your suspicions by running a few tests. If your dog is indeed infected, your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics.
How to remove a tick
You must be very careful when removing ticks. If you accidentally leave the head of the tick under the skin, it could abscess and cause infection. In addition, coming into contact with the tick’s blood could potentially transmit a disease to your dog.
If you find a tick on your dog, it’s important to remove it immediately. Put on protective gloves and use tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Then, gently pull upward using steady, even pressure. Once the insect is out, check to see if it’s still intact and wash the wound thoroughly.
If you’re unable to remove the entire tick, call your veterinarian for further instructions. If you’re still having trouble removing the tick or don’t have the necessary equipment on hand, you may need to bring your dog into the veterinarian’s office to have the arachnid removed.
You can pick up a handy tick first aid kit at your local Chico pet store. This kit is suitable for both humans and dogs and includes 11 essential items, including tweezers and disinfectant. It’s a must-have for when you’re out and about this summer.
Chico: committed to keeping pets happy and healthy
If you plan on bringing your pooch along with you on your summer vacation, stop by Chico first to stock up on quality food and accessories including leashes, harnesses, collapsible bowls, cooling scarves and more.