5 Critical Ways to Prevent Ticks on Dogs
by Jessi Larson
Now is the time of the year where ticks start to come out, and unfortunately, those bloodsucking parasites love to attach to our poor pups.
Once attached, those nasty little buggers bury their heads into your dog’s skin and gorge themselves on blood. This can transmit dangerous diseases, like Lyme Disease, or cause your furbaby severe discomfort and pain. No good!
We’ve pulled a few ticks off of Toby after going up to the lake. Luckily, we caught one early, but the second one was really in there deep. Poor Toby was in so much pain as we yanked the disgusting tick off his skin and dug in with tweezers to get what remained.
While it’s practically impossible to keep ticks at bay, you can take these 5 critical precautions to prevent ticks on dogs & decrease the chance of coming into contact with these blood-loving buggers.
1. Use a tick control product
Spot-on treatments are perhaps the most effective way to protect your pup against ticks. You can get this over-the-counter at your local pet shop, veterinarian or online. No prescription is needed, but it is good to consult with your vet beforehand.
Each box includes small containers of oily fluid that you apply directly to your dog’s skin in between their shoulder blades each month.
Amazingly, this stuff repels ticks for the entire month. Consistency is key, however. Skip a treatment and this leaves your dog susceptible to blood-sucking critters.
The most popular brands of spot-on treatments include Frontline, K9 Advantage and Pet Armor. We have been using Frontline ever since the tick attack on Toby and highly recommend it. Just make sure you get the appropriate dose for your dog’s size and breed.
2. Check your dog constantly
Another way to prevent tick attacks is by checking your dog constantly. In the warm months, make it a habit of combing through your dog’s fur, especially if they’ve been running around in the grass or in the woods.
Ask you dog to sit and gently look through their fur. Ticks are drawn to dark, moist parts of the body, so pay close attention to their ears, under the collar, between the toes, inside the groin area and under the front legs.
3. Treat the yard
Dogs spend a considerable amount of time in our very own yards, which is why it’s important to do everything you can so ticks don’t thrive in your own background.
Cutting the grass helps. A lot. Ticks are attracted to higher grass (more on that below), so keeping it at a reasonable level is a deterrent.
Keeping it clean is another thing you can do. This includes removing yard debris, tidying up the garden and picking up random items lying around.
As stated earlier, ticks are attracted to moist, dark areas, so if you have spots like that, do some pruning and let the light shine in.
And finally, cedar mulch repels fleas and ticks, so you could use it on the edges of your lawn as a barrier, especially in places where your dog likes to play.
4. Beware of the woods and high grass
Ticks like to inhabit dense, wooded areas. Think places with high grass, the woods, patches of overgrown shrubs, meadows with thick brush, etc.
It’s safer to keep your dog out of these areas, but understandably, dogs will be dogs. If your dog does venture into a place where ticks are likely to loom, always, ALWAYS, check them for ticks afterward. And the next day, too.
5. Good grooming helps prevent ticks on dogs
Regular grooming can also really help. For starters, during the summer months, you can use a shampoo that repels ticks when bathing your furbaby.
If you have a dog breed that doesn’t shed, getting regular hair cuts also helps so you there’s less of a chance that a tick gets hidden in the hair.
For dogs that do shed, regular brushings and using a deshedder can help cut down on the amount of fur for the exact same reason.
Plus, when you groom your dog regularly, it gives you a chance to scan their body for any nasty ticks and make sure they’re doing OK.