Effective Tick Prevention for DogsThe list of tick-transmitted diseases continues to grow: Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Cytauxzoonosis and Babesiosis. We can vaccinate for Lyme, but with the rest, we need to find other methods to prevent. The obvious solution for all these diseases is to control the ticks - but how?
With nine different tick species, all of which have different and shared wildlife hosts, trying to control ticks on your dog can seem impossible. The only common denominator all tick species share is that they will try to get on your dog if they are given the chance.
Tick Numbers Keep IncreasingThe increase in tick populations has been spurred by numerous factors. One of the factors contributing to this is the increase in white-tailed deer populations. Both species of "deer ticks," the Lone Star tick and the black legged tick, prefer to utilize the deer for its host. As the white-tailed deer numbers increased, both tick species increased, which also increased the spread of Lyme disease. Other common wildlife hosts for ticks include wild turkeys, field mice, and most warm-blooded animals.
Warmer winters are another factor that is increasing the number of tick populations. With a lack in continuous cold days during the winter months, the tick populations are not dying off. They are able to survive and become a major issue for people and their pets during the spring and summer months.
Many tick species have been discovered in areas where they typically do not live. Migratory birds have been a big reason for the increase and spreading of tick populations to new areas.
An adult female tick can lay 1,000 to 6,000 eggs at a time in the environment, which hatch and become larvae. Larvae immediately search for their first blood meal – whether it's you, your pet or another wildlife host. Larvae will then drop off, molt, and become nymphs. Nymphs can already transmit disease, and they will begin to search for another host, feed and molt into adults 100 times their original size. These adults then fall off and lay eggs, starting the life cycle again.
With all of these factors contributing to the increase and spreading of ticks, it is very important to take the steps to prevent them on your pet.
How to Protect Your PetSince there are nine species of ticks in the US, and each one has a different host and life cycle, it's obvious we need to repel and kill the ticks before they find a new home on your dog. K9 Advantix® II, Frontline® Plus and Fiproguard Plus are monthly topicals that kill ticks. All of these products are safe and effective. Collars for fleas and ticks have also been used successfully in some areas, including the Preventic® 3-month collar.
One of the issues with monthly meds has been overwhelming the insecticide. Too many ticks will get on the dog at one time for the topical to handle, and some may get past the topical insecticide. Revival recommends spraying your pet before exposing them to a high flea or tick area. If you jog with your dogs or take them hiking, camping, or just to the park, you should have a protective spray placed on their legs and tummy. By repelling the majority of pests, your topical treatment or collars will be more successful at preventing your dogs from bringing ticks and fleas home. Pyrethrin is a great choice and safe to use, and is found in products such as Mycodex All-in-One® Spray and Adams® Plus Pyrethrin Dip.
If you need to spray for ticks daily, then a tick collar can help repel ticks for you. Preventic® 3-month collar is designed just for ticks and can be safely added to a monthly topical protection regimen. The plastic technology slowly releases the active ingredient to the hair, causing the repellent effect. Doubling up on protection is safe, effective, and necessary in high tick areas. Seresto™ is another flea and tick collar and is unique in that it offers eight months of flea and tick control. It offers uninterrupted protection and with the convenience of not having to remember monthly applications.
Because every species of tick is intent on finding a home on your dog, control should involve more than one approach. By anticipating where the ticks may be and taking the necessary precautions, you're one step closer to keeping your pet, and your home, tick-free.
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.
Don Bramlage, DVM, Former Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.