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Keeping Ticks Off Your Dog: An Owner's Guide

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If you've just moved to an area where ticks are common, you may be wondering how to keep these pests off your dog. After all, ticks can spread a number of serious illnesses, including Lyme disease and babesiosis. Here are a few strategies to help protect your dog.

Apply a flea and tick repellent regularly.

There are a number of spot-on treatments that you apply to the base of your dog's neck once a month or so. They slowly spread over your dog's skin and help keep fleas and ticks away. They are not 100% effective, so you still need to follow the other measures mentioned in this article. Read the instructions carefully to make sure you apply the treatment in the right spot and with the correct frequency. In most cases, you'll be able to rinse your dog but not wash him with shampoo while the repellent is on.

Have your dog groomed regularly.

Especially if your dog has long hair, having him properly groomed on a regular basis will ensure there are no hair mats or large clumps of hair that make it difficult to find ticks. Consider having long-haired dogs' hair trimmed short in the summer when ticks are out and about. Your dog may not look his best, but he'll be a lot safer since you'll be more likely to find ticks easily. It will also be easier to apply the flea treatment properly with shorter hair.

Check your dog each time he comes inside.

Each time your dog comes in from the outdoors, give him a quick brush and a rub down so that if there are any ticks, you find and remove them promptly. Remove ticks by grasping them firmly with a pair of tweezers and then pulling straight away from the skin.

Keep your yard well trimmed.

You can't eradicate ticks from the woods or your entire community, but you can cut down on the number that take up residence in your yard where your dog spends most of his time. Keep the grass cut short, and get rid of any brush. Do not pile wood outside, and keep trees trimmed to minimize shade (ticks prefer shaded areas).

Ticks are unfortunately common in many areas, and there's nothing you can do to be certain one won't bite your dog. However, you can greatly reduce your chances of your dog contracting a tick-borne illness by following the above tips.

For more information about how to protect your dog from ticks, talk to a veterinarian like those at All-Pets Hospital.