With the arrival of spring, chances are you’re outside with your dog more often. With that beautiful warm weather comes the emergence of pests like fleas and ticks. Not only are these insects annoying, but they also carry a variety of diseases that can potentially infect your dog. One of the most common ones, and most serious, is Lyme disease. Found in both humans and animals, it’s best to try and prevent your dog (and yourself) from contracting the disease in whatever way possible. In this post, we’ve included some helpful tips for how to prevent Lyme disease to keep you and your pet safe this spring and summer.
This is something we’ve all done after a day in the woods and while it’s not the most fun task, it’s definitely a necessary one. When checking your dog over for ticks, be sure to look in the most common areas these little pests like to hide. These areas include the inside of the thighs, the ears, the armpits, and the belly. If you find one, you’ll need to make sure that you’re removing it properly using a pair of fine-point tweezers and try to grasp the tick as close to the skin as you possibly can, then pull upwards using steady pressure. Do your best not to twist or jerk the tick when removing it as this can cause the head to break off and remain in the skin. Keep in mind that it takes about 24-48 hours for a tick to transmit Lyme disease to your dog, so take care of this chore as soon as you can.
Using preventative measures to protect your dog against fleas and ticks is the easiest and most effective way to prevent Lyme disease. When choosing a medication, make sure that your decision is based on veterinarian recommendations and is safe for all of the animals living in your household. You can also use some natural homemade tick repellents to be extra safe. Some of these homemade repellents include:
- Apple Cider Vinegar – you can add up to 2 tablespoons to your dog’s water.
- Citrus – Fresh lemons covered in boiling water and allowed to soak overnight. Spray behind the ears, at the base of the tail, and in the armpits.
- Diatomaceous Earth – This is a natural mineral compound that looks like dust or fine dirt, and is deadly to insects when they consume it. You can sprinkle it on your dog’s skin, taking care to avoid the mouth and eye areas. Ensure you are purchasing food-grade DE and not pool-grade, as this is heat treated and potentially toxic.
In some cases, there may be a Lyme disease vaccination available from your veterinarian. Some studies have shown that the vaccine works well to prevent infection in dogs, but it’s important to weigh the option with your vet and determine if it’s right for your dog. The vaccine is typically recommended for dogs living in one of the states that have a high concentration of ticks carrying the disease. These states include Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin. Your vet may also recommend the vaccine if you own a hunting dog or go on hikes in the woods with your dog on a regular basis.
The effects of Lyme disease in dogs can have devastating consequences, and taking preventative measures to protect your dog against it should be a high priority as a pet owner. If you’re concerned about tick prevention and want to know more about the best preventative medicines or want more info on vaccines, be sure to reach out to your veterinarian. They can provide you with the most detailed and reliable information to keep your dog healthy and safe.