The grass is green. The sun is warm. The wind is a gentle breeze. Ah, yes, spring is here and in full swing.
Bees are getting busy about their business of pollinating flowers. Ants are hustling to and fro. Spiders are building their webs preparing for a harvest. And the tiny tick is starting its hunt for fresh blood.
Two weeks ago at the shelter, I started seeing fully engorged ticks crawling on the floor. My suspicion is that either a stray brought them in or our adoptable dogs brought them in after one of their daily walks.
Dogs are easy prey for ticks. Because dogs are low to the ground and often brush past tall grasses and other plants, ticks that wait patiently have no trouble dropping onto your pooch. They find a good spot and sink their teeth into your dog’s flesh.
Ticks have a reputation of carrying diseases such as Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain-Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis to name a few. To prevent your dog from getting these diseases, it is important to be proactive.
First, the best defense is a good offense. Veterinarians often recommend using a topical pesticide like Frontline Plus. You need only apply Frontline Plus once per month. It is effective for use against fleas and ticks. In essence, when you apply Frontline to your dog, you are transforming your dog into a walking flea and tick bomb.
For a natural alternative, you can give your dog garlic in small amounts. Garlic is effective at repelling topical parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.
Second, you must check your dog frequently for ticks. If you find a tick on your dog, remove it immediately. Do not try to burn the tick, poke it with a needle, or apply nail polish to it. Any of these could cause the tick to vomit inside the wound. It is best to use tweezers. Place the tweezers as close to the flesh as possible. Grasp the tick’s head in the tweezers. Pull firmly and gently. The tick should release its hold on the animal without vomiting into the bite.
Photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com