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Ticks in dogs: prevent, protect, remove

Ticks on dogs are a serious threat to the health of your four-legged friend. Tick ​​protection is therefore relevant for every dog ​​owner. There are preventive measures that can help prevent ticks from attaching to your dog. You should also check your dog for ticks after every walk! If you have found ticks, you need to remove them as quickly as possible and dispose of them properly. We give you tips by hand.

What diseases are transmitted by ticks?

Ticks can also transmit dangerous diseases to dogs. Lyme disease is just one of them. Tick ​​diseases cause serious damage to the health of dogs. The course of the disease is often insidious and the first symptoms are often ambiguous. Even if there are good treatment options, it does not always turn out to be safe for the dog. These three diseases are most commonly transmitted by ticks:

  • Lyme disease: is the most common tick infection in dogs. Every fifth tick is dangerous! Just one day after the tick has attached itself, it can transmit the Lyme disease pathogen to the dog. The course of the disease is creeping. A mild illness, which is accompanied by a slight loss of appetite and a slight fever, is followed a few weeks to months later by painful inflammation of the joints, alternating symptoms of paralysis and kidney diseases. Lyme disease is diagnosed with the help of blood tests. Borreliosis is treated with antibiotics, pain therapy and, in the case of kidney disease, with appropriate medication and diets. There are vaccinations in Germany to prevent Lyme disease.
  • Anaplasmosis: According to a study on 6000 dogs, 22 percent of the animals have already had contact with the anaplasmosis pathogen, but many dogs remain symptom-free. When dogs become ill, symptoms include fever, weakness, loss of appetite, swelling of the spleen, musculoskeletal pain, and lameness. Anaplasmosis is diagnosed using a blood smear and other laboratory tests. Anaplasmosis is treated with antibiotics.
  • Babesiosis: is especially common in humid areas. The vet and the veterinary office provide information about the risk areas. The blood parasites called babesias destroy the red blood cells and lead to anemia. Symptoms of babesiosis are high fever, loss of appetite and apathy, red or brown colored urine to jaundice, movement disorders, lameness and seizures as a result of damage to the central nervous system. Babesiosis is treated with medication, infusions and blood transfusions. Not every dog ​​can be saved.
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If the tick is not removed, it can become dangerous. © stock.adobe.com/SmallScale Farming

Ticks are still active in autumn

Ticks are not only in season in spring and summer, but also in autumn. They feel particularly comfortable at temperatures between 10 to 25 ° C and like moisture. Ticks find ideal living conditions in fallen autumn leaves. That is why it is important to check the dog for ticks in autumn after going for a walk and to protect it properly.

The tick is still active in autumn. © stock.adobe.com/PLP

Correctly removing ticks from dogs

Turn out or pull? There are many myths about how to properly remove ticks from dogs. We will show you which methods and tools are available:

  • With your fingers: Use your thumb and forefinger to gently pull the tick out of the wound. Grasp the tick close to the dog’s skin to prevent the mouthpiece or head from being severed when it is pulled out. Should that happen despite all caution, this foreign body will gradually be repelled by itself. Be careful not to squeeze the tick too hard, otherwise pathogens can get into the dog’s open wound.
  • Tick ​​tweezers: Use tick tweezers that are curved and pointed at the front. With the end of the tick tweezers, grasp the tick by the mouthpiece and pull the tick out in a controlled manner.
  • Tick ​​card: Fix the tick in the V-shaped recess of the tick card and carefully push the tick out with a forward and upward movement.
  • Tick ​​lasso: Place the loop of the tick lasso around the tick close to the skin. Use the punch on the other end of the tick lasso to reduce the diameter of the loop. Then gently pull the tick out of the skin.
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Dispose of ticks:

After you have completely removed the tick from the dog using any of the methods above, it is time to properly dispose of the tick. The following methods have proven effective:

  • Crush the tick with a solid object.
  • Soak the tick in at least 40 percent alcohol or chlorine cleaner.
  • The tick must be completely removed. © stock.adobe.com/Jana Schönknecht

    Effective tick protection for dogs

    Even if many dog ​​owners are skeptical about chemical tick protection for dogs, you can only reliably protect your dog against ticks with chemical agents. This includes:

    • Spot on preparations
    • Chewable tablets
    • Tick ​​sprays
    • Tick ​​collars

    Dog owners who fear side effects, allergic reactions and damage to their health can use natural tick protection for dogs as an alternative. These are for example:

    • Coconut oil
    • Garlic granules
    • Brewer’s yeast

    These natural tick repellants and dietary supplements have not proven to be reliable tick repellants for dogs, although they can reduce tick infestation somewhat. Caution is particularly advisable with dietary supplements containing garlic. Overdosing can be dangerous for the dog. It is therefore advisable to strictly adhere to the manufacturers’ feeding recommendations.

    You can protect your dog with special sprays. © stock.adobe.com/magann

    Conclusion: this is how you protect your dog from ticks

    Ticks in dogs represent a health hazard that should not be underestimated. Tick diseases such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and babesiosis can cause serious damage. With effective tick protection for dogs, you can reduce the risk. Chemical tick repellants such as spot-ons, tick collars, tick spray and chewable tablets have proven particularly effective. Natural tick repellants do not provide reliable protection against ticks. If ticks have already attached themselves, it is important to remove them as quickly as possible: Tick tweezers, tick cards and tick lasso are helpful for this. Once the tick has been completely removed, you can dispose of it by crushing it or soaking it in 40 percent alcohol or chlorine cleaning agent.

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