If you're like most dog owners, you truly enjoy spending time outdoors with your furry friend — and now that spring is finally in full swing, you're probably getting outdoors as often as you can. However, the natural world isn't without its dangers, and one of the major ones where dogs are concerned is ticks. Even though ticks can be active during the winter in areas where temperatures remain mild, they really come to life during spring. Because they can transmit diseases, it's essential for everyone who shares their lives with a furry friend to do everything they can to ensure that their dog is tick-free.
Your veterinarian can recommend or prescribe medication designed to kills the insects if they get on your pet. Although these are generally highly effective, it's nonetheless a good idea to take further methods as an extra layer of protection. For instance, topical flea and tick medications are administered on a monthly basis, and if it's toward the end of the cycle, your pet may be more vulnerable than during the beginning.
Here are three strategies designed to keep your canine companion tick-free.
Perform a Thorough Tick-Check After Being Outdoors
Checking your dog for ticks should be a normal part of your routine if your dog spends time outdoors. Run your fingers slowly over every part of your dog's body to check for any protuberances — ticks are very small, hard, and round. Don't forget to look in your dog's ears, and keep in mind that longhaired breeds are more vulnerable to ticks than their shorthaired counterparts simply because their extra fur provides the insects with more coverage in which to hide.
Learn How to Remove Ticks
It's also important to understand how to remove ticks if you should find one. Using a pair of tweezers with a flat point, grasp the tick firmly, and pull the tweezers straight up. You may have to have someone hold the dog's head for you so it doesn't move when you'll pulling out the tick.
Treat Your Yard and Garden Area
Ticks aren't only found in wilderness areas — they can also set up shop right outside your home. If you live in an area where ticks are prevalent, talk to your local exterminator about potential chemical controls to keep them off your property. Ticks are also less likely to be in well-maintained environments, so keep hedges and shrubs trimmed and don't allow weeds to take over.
For more information about protecting your dog from ticks, talk to a veterinarian specialist.