How to prevent tick bites in dogs
Ticks – those tiny parasitic creatures – are up and about and on the prowl for hosts. Treat your dog with tick repellent and check it over for ticks regularly. Ticks are best removed with pincers or tweezers.
The first ticks generally appear in the undergrowth as soon as the mercury climbs above zero. This is a good time to treat your dog with a tick repellent.
Apply the repellent carefully
“Apply the repellent to the skin at the back of the neck, where the dog can’t manage to lick it off. From there the repellent will spread via the oily layer of the skin to other parts of the body in a day or two,” says veterinarian Agata Makowiecka.
One dose of tick repellent will protect the dog for about four weeks. If your dog spends hours each day in the water, apply the repellent a little more often than once a month.
Check regularly for ticksAfter every walk, check that your dog’s coat has no ticks, even if the dog is protected against them.
“If there are a lot of ticks in the vicinity, even a protected dog can pick up a tick or two. It could be that they attached themselves before the treatment and are still hanging on,” says Makowiecka.
Ticks can also be found if the repellent has not spread evenly over the dog. This could be the case if the dog was washed just before application of the repellent, diminishing the skin’s oiliness, or if the dog’s skin is otherwise dry.
On some areas of skin, such as the snout, the paws and the underside, there is naturally a thinner oily layer.
“If there is a tick in any of these areas, it is generally a sign that the repellent should be reapplied.”
Remove ticks with pincers or tweezers
If you find a tick on your dog, it can best be removed with tick pincers/tweezers. Position the pincers between the tick and the skin, as close to the skin as possible. Different types of tick pincers and tweezers are available, so you should read the instructions carefully before use.
In practice, parts of the tick will always be left behind, and so the site may become infected. The tick bite can be cleaned using an antiseptic.
Dogs can catch Lyme disease
Ticks are today found almost everywhere in Finland, but there are local variations.
There are dozens of tick species in Finland that can spread diseases such as Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.
“Dogs are less prone to catching Lyme disease than humans are, but cases do occur in dogs,” explains Makowiecka.
Did you remember to worm your dog?
Worm your dog twice a year to get rid of internal parasites: in the spring, when the ground thaws out, and in autumn, when the ground freezes again. There are separate worming instructions for puppies and pregnant bitches. In general, worming should be done about two weeks prior to vaccination.
Text: Matti Välimäki