How To Prevent Ticks On Dogs
The best tick prevention for dogs 🪳
Ticks are annoying — and if your dog isn’t on a tick preventative, you might spot one on your pup from time to time.
But by not using a tick preventative, you’re putting your pup at risk since ticks can carry diseases (plus, they can travel from your dog over to you). So it’s best to put your dog — and any other pets — on a good tick treatment to avoid having them latch onto your pup in the first place.
The Dodo spoke to Dr. Jose Arce, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, and Dr. John Sangiorgio, a veterinarian from CompleteCare Veterinary Center in New York City, to find out how to find the best tick prevention for dogs.
Why preventing ticks is important
Not only are ticks gross, but they can cause many other health issues.
“Ticks can spread serious infectious diseases to people and animals, such as Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis, so it’s important to keep ourselves tick-free,” Dr. Arce told The Dodo. “Preventive measures and prompt removal of ticks can greatly reduce the chances of disease transmission from ticks to you and your pets.”
Your dog can carry ticks into your house, where they can travel to you or other pets in your home, too.
How to prevent ticks on dogs
A quality tick preventative medication is the best way to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog and coming into your home. But there are some other ways to help limit exposure to ticks, too.
“If your pet picks up ticks in your backyard, trimming bushes and removing brush may reduce your pet’s exposure and risk of infestation,” Dr. Arce said.
Ticks can also hitch a ride on rodents, so if your dog has ticks and hasn’t spent a ton of time outside, you should make sure you don’t have a rodent problem.
“Ticks are more of a problem because they have an intermediate host,” Dr. Sangiorgio told The Dodo. “That means that if you have ticks around, you [might] also have rodents around you.”
Best tick prevention for dogs
“The products for flea and tick prevention or control come in two types — systemic [oral] and topical,” Dr. Sangiorgio said. Oral treatments come in the form of a pill or chewable tablet, while topical medications come as shampoos, sprays and topical medications that are applied to your dog’s body.
“I recommend systemic products for clients with young children,” Dr. Sangiorgio added. Oral medicines are probably better than topical ones if you have young kids in case they touch your dog and then touch their faces or put their hands in their mouths, since you don’t want them eating the medicine.
Here are some of the best tick preventatives you can buy.
Dr. Sangiorgio recommends Bravecto for tick prevention and uses it for his own dog. It’s highly recommended because it protects dogs for up to three months, while most tick preventatives only last for one month. The chews treat and control flea and tick infestations and kill Lone Star ticks for up to eight weeks.
NexGard chews are FDA-approved to prevent Lyme disease by killing black-legged ticks. The chews are also effective for killing adult fleas, and they last for one month. It comes in a yummy beef flavor that your dog will actually enjoy.
This tablet kills five types of ticks. It also prevents heartworm disease, treats and controls roundworms and hookworms, and controls flea infestations, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a combo pill. It comes as a chewable liver-flavored tablet, so your pup will think he’s getting a treat.
This shampoo kills and prevents fleas, lice and ticks, plus flea eggs and larvae, for up to 28 days. It contains aloe, coconut extract and oatmeal to soothe itchy skin and has a fresh coconut scent. The shampoo is safe to use on dogs who are 12 weeks and older.
This topical treatment repels and kills ticks, fleas and mosquitos on contact. It kills flea infestations at all life stages to prevent infestations, and it’s waterproof so you don’t have to worry about it washing off after a bath or a walk in the rain. The treatment’s effective for up to one month.
This spray can be applied directly on your dog, or you can spray it on surfaces like your dog’s bed or crate or outdoor and indoor furniture. It uses natural ingredients to kill and repel ticks, fleas and mosquitos, and you can use it for active infestations or as a preventative.
Most common time of the year for dogs to get ticks
Tick season is usually during the warmer months of spring and summer, but this can vary depending on where you live, especially if you live in an area that has warm winters. For example, in places like Florida, ticks can be active year-round.
Tick season is also getting longer due to climate change, which means temperatures stay warmer in the fall and winter in many places.
So if you’re out with your dog during the spring and summer, be sure to check him for ticks when you get home. And if you live in a warm climate, you should look out for ticks all year.
“After spending time outdoors in areas where ticks are present, pet owners should examine their dogs for the presence of ticks,” Dr. Arce said. “Ticks are most often found around your dog’s neck, in the ears, in the folds between the legs and the body, and between the toes, but they can be found anywhere on the body. And when checking your pets for ticks, don’t forget to check yourself for ticks, too.”
And keep in mind that even though ticks are most prevalent when it’s warm outside, your dog should still be on a tick preventative year-round to be safe.
Do dogs need tick prevention in the winter?
You should keep your dog on a tick preventative year-round, especially if you live in a warm climate or if your dog spends time outdoors during the winter. This is also particularly important if you like to take your pup hiking, camping or on walks in the woods.
Getting your dog on the right tick preventative is super important to prevent tick-borne illnesses and keep him (and you) healthy.
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