Question submitted by Charles:
I like to take my dog hiking with me, but I heard ticks are terrible this year. Besides giving him medication, is there anything else you recommend to protect him? I've seen a tick on him before, but he's a corgi, so it's darn near impossible to check him for ticks. Any advice you have is greatly appreciated.
Excellent question! And you are correct in that the best protection from ticks is a high quality flea/tick product applied consistently and appropriately. These days, there are a wide range of highly effective products available from traditional topical treatments to oral chew tablets. Please check with your veterinarian for their specific product recommendations. Keeping the ticks off and/or killing them in their tracks is the first step. Checking for ticks and removing any found immediately are also good ideas if you're walking your pet through tick-dense areas, just in case you have a rogue tick that gets through the first line of defense. To remove a tick, it is easiest to use tweezers to grasp the tick at its head against the skin firmly and gently twist/pull the tick off. Finally, the other important consideration with ticks is the diseases they can spread, most notably Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease in dogs most commonly presents with signs of lethargy, not eating, limping, and fever at least a couple months after exposure. Here's the good news: there is a Lyme vaccine available at your veterinarian that can help in protecting your dog from the disease if he would get bit by an infected tick. Typically this vaccine requires a booster in a few weeks, then yearly. Hopefully, these tips help in keeping your pup from safe from ticks this summer and their pesky friend Lyme Disease!