Tick season has become a year-round affair in many areas of the country, and summer is the peak. Couple that with spending more time outside—walks in the park, runs through an open field, hikes along wooded trails—and it’s the perfect condition for Fido to become host to these pesky parasites.
Engaging in outdoor activities during dog daycare or while lodging at Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center are an important part of the resort experience. Playtime, nature walks, and special events in the natural grasses in and around the fields and auxiliary pens provide wonderful opportunities for exercise and discovery. Ticks love the area too.
Prevention is the best method for keeping ticks off of your dog. Here are solutions for preventive treatment. Always consult with your veterinarian to discover which option is best for your pet, and never use a product labeled “for dogs only” on a cat.
Oral chews are a widely-used method of prevention, and many products also repel fleas. Popular brand names of tick prevention include Bravecto, Nexgard and Simparica. The active ingredient travels through the blood stream. When a tick bites the dog’s skin, it comes in contact with the treatment. Length of effectiveness, and type and number of parasites targeted can range based on brand. All of the oral tick prevention products are for dogs only.
Topical treatments are applied directly to the skin. The active ingredient is absorbed into the skin and spread by natural skin oils. The best placement is behind the neck or on the back in the area between the shoulder blades. Brand names include Bravecto, Frontline (products for dogs or cats) and K9 Advantix (dogs only). Because skin oils help spread the treatment over the body, bathing directly after application is not recommended.
Collars today are more effective than they used to be. Collars—like Seresto for dogs or cats–contain the active ingredients which rubs off on the skin and hair to create the barrier. The collar must fit snugly and be worn consistently to be most effective.
Natural Tick Prevention Options
Choices in this category include sprays, collars, powders, topicals and shampoos. Shampoos are best to kill existing parasites, but do not provide residual protection. Natural sprays typically contain herbs or essential oils, require application before going outside, and application must be repeated every day. Ticks are repelled by certain scents which essential oils can deliver.
Wondercide and Kin + Kind are two widely-available options. Animal EO Evict is a similar product, but instead of spraying on your pet, you put drops on your hands and then rub over your pet’s fur. You can also use this product on yourself! Buck Mountain Parasite Dust is a powder containing yarrow, neem and diatom flour. It kills existing parasites and repels new ones, and can last for a month or more unless you bathe your pet. When using natural products, sometimes layering two products provides more comprehensive protection. Cats are more sensitive to essential oils and plant-based products. These recommended products are cat friendly, but testing on a small area first is recommended.
How to Properly Remove a Tick
Despite best efforts, a tick could still latch on to your pup. Even using a preventive treatment, inspect your dog’s coat and skin daily—especially after outdoor adventures for ticks. Follow these steps to properly remove a tick that has latched onto the skin.
- Comb through the coat with a small-toothed comb
- Use tweezers or a Tick Twister to grab the tick as close to the skin as possible
- Steadily pull the tick—do not yank—until it’s free
- Clean the area with soap and water or rubbing alcohol
- Dispose of the live tick by flushing down the toilet, or placing it in rubbing alcohol or a sealed bag
If a red spot or bump appears, do not be alarmed. This is a common reaction and can last up to two weeks. If you suspect a Lyme tick bite, ask your veterinarian to retest your dog in approximately six weeks for tickborne disease.
Natural steps for reducing exposure to ticks:
- Create a mulch barrier or put up a fence two to three feet from the edge of wooded areas
- Keep your grass short
- Discard brush piles and vegetative debris
- Add strong-smelling plants like mint, rosemary, oregano, and marigolds to landscaping
Our pet care staff is experienced with the search and removal of ticks from your dog’s skin and coat, but a multi-step approach to tick prevention is essential. If your dog attends a daycare program or will be lodging with Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center this summer, preventive parasite treatment is highly recommended. Discuss the tick prevention options with your veterinarian. Choose the product for your pet that is labeled for a dog or a cat, and be sure treatment is followed according to the directions and timelines for maximum efficacy.