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4 Ways to Protect Your Dog from Ticks

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Help keep your dog tick-free in four steps.
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Yellow Labrador standing in tall grass field

If your dog spends any time outdoors, they’re at risk for ticks. Even dogs who spend most of their time indoors can become a host for these parasites. And while ticks are annoying for your dog on their own, they can also transmit diseases that could lead to other issues for your pet. Protecting your dog from ticks starts with vigilance and ends with year-round protection. Learn how to protect your dog against ticks with these four steps.

1. Regularly Check Your Dog for Ticks

One of the best ways to stop a tick infestation in its tracks is by catching the problem early. If your dog has a tendency to roam through tall grass or heavy brush, periodically check them for ticks, focusing on the neck, head, ears, feet and between the toes. Check out our complete guide for identifying and finding ticks on your pet.

Keep in mind that tick bites are hard to detect once the tick has left your dog. These bites often don’t itch, so unless you see the tick, you probably won’t know your dog has been bitten. Checking for ticks once a day, or even multiple times a day in high-risk areas, will increase your chances of finding a tick while it’s still on your dog.

2. Know Where Ticks Like to Hide

Ticks can be found anywhere wildlife lives — particularly in wooded areas or along trails, but also in parks, residential gardens, and dog parks, kennels and day cares. Be aware of where your dog spends their time, and try to limit exploration in places heavily infested with ticks.

3. Treat Your Yard for Ticks

Look for places in your yard that may be harboring ticks. Overgrown bushes and patches of tall grass can be tick hot spots, so help remove the threat by mowing, weeding or trimming. Next, use an outdoor tick spray throughout your yard to remove ticks and reduce the number that could end up on your pet.

4. Choose a Tick Treatment Plan for Your Dog

The most important step in the fight against ticks is prevention. See if a collar, spot-on, spray, shampoo or tablet treatment is right for you and your pet.

Tick Collars

Pros of Tick Collars

  • Long lasting, with some working for up to eight months
  • Avoids the hassle of having to treat each month
  • Easy way to deliver ingredients that kill ticks
  • No prescription required and easy to find
  • Usually offers flea protection, too
  • Quick and easy to administer

Cons of Tick Collars

  • Higher upfront cost, though monthly cost can be lower than comparable treatment types

Spot-on Treatments

Pros of Spot-on Treatments

  • Some spot-on treatments don’t require fleas or ticks to bite to die
  • Quick and easy to administer
  • Many do not require a prescription
  • Readily available
  • Provide flea protection, with some also providing mosquito protection

Cons of Spot-on Treatments

  • Owners must remember to administer spot-on treatment every month
  • Some cannot be used on cats

Topical Sprays

Pros of Topical Sprays

  • Works on contact
  • Allows owners to target ticks found on their pet quickly
  • Can be sprayed on difficult-to-reach areas

Cons of Topical Sprays

  • Only kills ticks on the pet at time of application
  • Does not offer a prevention component

Tablets

Pros of Tablets

  • Quick and easy to administer
  • Some work up to three months

Cons of Tablets

  • Requires ticks to bite before they are affected
  • Owners must remember to administer tablets regularly
  • Requires a prescription

Shampoos

Pros of Shampoos

  • Kills ticks on contact, so they don’t have to bite to die
  • Allows owners to target ticks found on their pet quickly
  • Many also kill fleas

Cons of Shampoos

  • Only kills ticks on the pet at time of application
  • Does not offer a prevention component

Whichever tick treatment you choose, it’s important to use tick prevention regularly to help keep your dog protected long-term, no matter the season or where your dog may roam.

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