IMPORTANT TIPS TO KEEP YOUR DOG SAFE FROM TICKS – Earth Heart, Inc.
Any time the temperature rises above 4-degrees celsius, ticks are actively looking for a host. Whether your outdoor adventure is playing fetch in the yard, walking in a tall grass or wooded natural area, perhaps traveling to other parts of Canada and beyond, your dog is likely to be exposed to ticks.
According to Alberta Health “most tick bites don’t cause serious health problems.” This is good news, yet with tick-borne disease on the rise across Canada it’s important to know which ticks your dog may be exposed to, the diseases they can transmit, common symptoms, how to protect your pets, and what to do if you find a tick on your pet.
Tips to recognize some common tick-borne disease symptoms:
- Lyme disease can be transmitted to your dog by an infected black-legged (deer) tick or western black-legged tick in less than 6 hours. Symptoms include lethargy, depression, appetite loss, arthritis, lameness or fever, and may not be apparent for several months.
- Ehrlichiosis is carried by an infected brown dog tick and can be transmitted in 24-48 hours. Symptoms may not be obvious, so watch for depression, lethargy, appetite loss, lameness, bruising on the gums and belly, nose bleeds and discharge from the eyes or nose.
- Anaplasmosis has two One form is carried by the black-legged tick, and symptoms include loss of appetite, lethargy, lameness, neck or neurological pain. The other form is transmitted by the brown dog tick and can cause bleeding disorders.
- Babesiosis is transmitted by the brown dog tick, as well as blood transfer from dog bites or transfusions. Anemia, general weakness, lethargy, vomiting, loss of appetite, fever, skin or urine discoloration, and weight loss can occur.
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be transmitted by an infected American dog tick or lone star tick in just 2-5 hours. In dogs, symptoms include fever, depression, lethargy, appetite loss, edema, bleeding or eye disorders, fever, stiffness and neurological problems.
Tips to prevent transmission of tick-borne diseases to your dog:
- Acaricides are pesticides that kill ticks. There are topical and oral products that can provide up to 3 months of protection. Topicals used on dogs include dusts, collars, sprays, shampoos or pour-on solutions. Consult your veterinarian before using, especially with puppies, cats, seniors or pregnant animals.
- A tick repellent prevents ticks from landing and feeding by masking the scent of the animal. Commercial repellents containing 20% or more DEET can protect for several hours. There are also a number of natural topical tick repellents containing pure essential oils and/or neem seed oil as the main ingredient. [such as http://earthheartinc.com/Buzz_Guard.html ]
- Walk your dog on cleared trails in tall grass or wooded areas.
- Check your dog immediately after an outdoor activity, and again every few hours because ticks get larger the longer they are attached to their host.
- If you find a tick, remove it immediately, and consider asking your veterinarian for a blood test to screen for tick-borne disease.
Tips to safely remove a tick and participate in a tick surveillance program:
- Using round-tip tweezers, grasp the tick firmly at the base of its head as close to the dog’s skin as possible. Gently and steadily pull straight back without twisting or squishing the tick.
- Wash the area with soap and water, apply an antiseptic, and also wash your hands.
- Place the tick(s) in a clean empty container or zip-bag without ventilation.
- Deliver to a participating veterinary clinic for submission to the Alberta Tick Surveillance Program.
Tips to create a tick-free zone at home:
- Keep lawns short and trim tree branches.
- Remove fallen leaves, brush and trash.
- Maintain a wood-chip or gravel border 1-meter wide between the lawn and wooded areas or stone walls.
- Keep recreational areas away from wooded areas.
- Place stacked wood and bird feeders away from the house or play areas.
- Apply an acaricide to the yard. For a more natural approach, food grade diatomaceous earth (D.E) is a powder that can be sprinkled in the yard, and a concentrated garlic spray can be used around the yard as a repellent.
Prevention is the best solution to minimize your dog’s exposure to tick-borne disease. If you’ve been in an area that is known to have ticks, and the temperature is above 4-degrees Celsius, check your dog as soon as possible, and then check every couple of hours because tick bites can be hard to find on a dog. Symptoms of a tick-borne disease may not appear for several days or weeks after a tick bite, so watch for changes in your dog’s behavior, physical appearance and appetite. Your veterinarian can help remove a tick, recommend preventive solutions, and give your dog a blood test to check for tick-borne disease.
Travel and enjoy your outdoor adventures…just be prepared to look for ticks and get them off your dog…and you…as soon as possible!
Sources: Alberta Health, Dogs and Ticks, PetMd, LDA of Alberta, US CDC, US EPA
©2016 Vicki Rae Thorne, herbalist, aromatherapist, founder, owner of Earth Heart, Inc. | Facebook page
Vicki Rae Thorne has been formulating essential oil remedies since 1992 and follows guidelines learned in her certification programs that are also endorsed by professional organizations including the Alliance for International Aromatherapy (AIA) and the National Holistic Aromatherapy Association (NAHA). Her company, Earth Heart Inc., has built a reputation for designing safe, affordable and effective natural wellness remedies using plant-based ingredients to help create happier, healthier lives. Products are made in the USA, packaged in BPA free recyclable containers, and are easy to use in your home or business, and while traveling.