There are a number of ways to deal with ticks. The easiest solution is to use one of the tick killing products that keep them off and/or kill them if they attach. There are three very effective products that we use, fipronil (Frontline or Frontline Topspot, Rx), permethrin (ProTICall, Rx) and amitraz (Preventic collars, Rx).

Frontline kills fleas and ticks effectively. Tick control lasts for 2 weeks to a month. The product should only be applied on a monthly basis but can be used in conjunction with other products for tick control if necessary. It works very well for flea control, so if that is also a problem it may be a good first choice.

ProTICall is a concentrated permethrin topical for tick and flea control. It is a very effective tick control product but a less effective for flea control. It lasts 2 to 3 weeks but may be applied at 2 week intervals so it is possible to keep the problem under control continuously using this product.

Preventic collars are also pretty effective. They have the drawback of being toxic if ingested. This sounds like it wouldn't be a problem but dogs will eat these collars right off of another dog, for some reason. So we don't recommend them for multi-dog households, especially if one of the dogs is prone to playing with the other dog's collar or if one of the dogs chews things up frequently. They seem to last around 6 to 8 weeks in our practice area.

Ticks may be removed using one of the tick-pulling products or a forceps (tweezer). It is best not to touch the tick if possible due to the possibility of tick-borne diseases. If contact does occur, wash your hands thoroughly. There is a lot of fear of leaving part of the tick embedded in the dog when removing them but this rarely causes problems.

Ticks carry a number of diseases, some of which do have zoonotic potential (can be transmitted to people). It is best to use one of the products that kills the ticks continuously without much intervention on your part. The risk is not high but there is some risk for diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever when ticks are brought into the household by a family pet.