Preventing Tick Bites on Dogs

Tick bites are a serious threat to your dog. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, tick fever or canine ehrlichiosis, and a number of other deadly diseases. Follow these tips to keep ticks off your dog and prevent tick bites on your dog.

Keep Your Dog Out of Forested Areas and Tall Grass

Ticks thrive in forested areas and in areas where the grass grows long and tall. Protect your dog from ticks by keeping him out of these areas. When walking your dog, stick to public parks and thoroughfares where ticks are less likely to congregate.

Keep Ticks Away from Your Home and Lawn

Protect your dog from tick bites by keeping your home and lawn as free of ticks as possible. While you can't really keep every tick out of your home and lawn, you can significantly reduce the number of ticks in your immediate area by making it hard for ticks to thrive in your lawn and garden. Mow your lawn regularly so sunlight can penetrate through the grass to the soil to keep ticks (and fleas) away. Remove any brush piles, dead leaves or branches from your lawn right away. If you heat your home with wood, keep your woodpile covered, since ticks can crawl out of the wood pile and infest your dog.

Groom Your Dog Daily

In most cases, a tick has to feed on your dog for about 48 consecutive hours before there's any risk of your dog contracting a blood borne illness from that tick. Groom your dog daily; search carefully for ticks and remove any ticks you find right away. By removing any ticks your dog might pick up on a daily basis, you're greatly reducing your dog's chances of contracting tick borne illnesses like canine ehrlichiosis or Lyme disease.

Remove ticks safely by dousing them in a few drops of mineral or vegetable oil, then pulling them off. Ticks bury their heads under your dog's skin; if you pull on an embedded tick, the head could break off and remain under your dog's skin, causing infection. Embedded ticks breathe through holes in their skin, so dousing the tick in oil suffocates it, causing it to pull its head out of your dog's flesh. Once the tick has pulled its head out, you can remove it safely without risk to your dog.

When searching for ticks, check your dog's entire body. Pay special attention to the areas between the toes and pads of the feet, as well as under the ears, in the armpits and under the tail.

Consider Using a Tick Repellent

Your dog will have a greater or lesser chance of contracting a tick borne illness depending where in the United States you live. Some tick diseases are very common in some regions, and less common in others. Consider using a flea and tick collar, or a spot on flea and tick repellent like Advantage or Frontline, especially if you live in an area where tick borne illnesses are common.