4 Handy Tips to Protect Your Dog From Lyme Disease

Pet dogCooping up your dog indoors will protect it from the harsh weather, wild animals, and cars. But it will make your furry friend lethargic and obese. To stay happy and healthy, your dog needs to spend time outdoors. Walking and playing fetch outdoors will provide your Fido with sensory stimulation, help it maintain a healthy weight, and keep its joints active. 

However, spending time outdoors can increase your furry friend’s risk of acquiring nasty parasites such as ticks. Though small, these parasitic arachnids pose a significant threat to the well-being of dogs. Through their bite, they can transmit a repertoire of diseases. The most common tick-borne disease in the world is Lyme disease.

Should you limit your dog’s time outdoors and confine it within the four walls of the home? Definitely not. Having an action plan to prevent tick infestation will allow you to spend time outdoors with your Fido worry-free. 

In this article, we’ll share some handy tips to help you protect your canine from Lyme disease.

What is Lyme Disease?

lyme disease

Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacterium or spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. This disease is primarily transmitted into a dog’s bloodstream through the bite of a tick. 

Not all ticks carry Borrelia burgdorferi, and a tick bite doesn’t always cause Lyme borreliosis. A very tiny tick, known as the black-legged tick or the deer tick, transmits this disease. Both immature and adult deer ticks carry Lyme disease-causing bacterium

The signs of Lyme disease vary from dog to dog. Many canines may have this bacterial infection, but they remain asymptomatic. Nevertheless, common symptoms of Lyme borreliosis in dogs include:

  • Fever
  • Recurrent lameness due to the inflammation of the joints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Stiff walk with an arched back

If left untreated, this bacterial infection can lead to more serious complications. These include damage to the kidney and heart or nervous system disease. 

4 Helpful Tips to Protect Your Canine Companion From Lyme Disease

sick dogCanines are very susceptible to tick bites and tick-borne diseases. The best way to prevent Lyme disease in your furry companion is to take preventative measures well in advance. 

Here are a few simple things that you can do to minimize your Fido’s chances of developing Lyme borreliosis:

1. Check Your Dog for Ticks Every Day

pet careYou must make it a habit to check your canine for ticks every day, especially after it has been outdoors. 

Ticks transmit Lyme disease within 24 to 48 hours of attaching themselves to dogs. You can protect your furry companion from this bacterial infection by checking it daily for ticks. 

These parasitic arachnids can be found anywhere on a canine’s body. But they generally hide in the ears, neck, head, and feet. Some ticks attach themselves to the anus or web between the toes, so look everywhere on your dog properly. 

Run your fingers gently through your canine’s fur to look for rashes or bumps that could be a tick. If you feel a bump, part the coat of that area and look closer. Keep a tick removal tool handy to pull these parasites out. 

You can also use a fine-toothed comb, such as a flea comb, to check for ticks in your furry friend’s body. 

2. Use Tick Preventatives

dog pillsKeeping your Fido away from tick-infested environments is nearly impossible. But you can prevent tick infestations on your canine by using tick preventatives. 

Tick preventatives, such as oral medications and topical treatments, are pet parents’ best friends when it comes to repelling ticks. Some tick preventatives can be toxic to dogs and other household pets, though most are safe. Before you use any treatment, discuss with your pet to be on the safe side. 

In regard to tick preventatives, oral medications are the best. Inappropriate application of topical treatments can cause pyrethrin/pyrethroid poisoning in dogs. Pyrethrin and pyrethroid are insecticides that could be toxic to dogs if ingested. 

Tick preventatives in the isoxazoline class are considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Simparica trio for dogs, a monthly chewable tablet, is an FDA-approved drug in the isoxazoline class. This drug protects canines from ticks as well as prevents flea infestations, intestinal worms, and heartworm disease.

Simparica Trio Chewable tablets are safe for canines as young as eight weeks of age. This medicine kills ticks in infected dogs within four hours of ingestion. Where other medicines kill only four species of ticks, these chewable tablets kill five. These include black-legged ticks, brown dog ticks, Gulf Coast ticks, American dog ticks, and Lone Star ticks. 

The safety and efficacy of the use of Simparica Trio haven’t been evaluated in pregnant or lactating dogs. It’s best to consult your veterinarian to determine if it’s safe for them. 

PetCareRx advises pet parents to use this medicine cautiously in dogs with seizures. Simparica trio contains sarolaner, which is linked with neurologic adverse reactions, including tremors, ataxia, and seizures. 

3. Keep Your Yard in Order

dog care

Ticks survive in overgrown vegetation and tall grass. You might inadvertently expose your canine to ticks if you don’t trim leafy plants, keep grass short, or remove dead leaves. 

Make your lawn inhospitable for ticks by mowing it regularly. Keep leaves raked and place a three-foot-wide barrier of gravel or wood chips between your lawn and patio. This will restrict ticks from migrating into the areas frequented by your furry friend.  

Lock outdoor trash cans properly to keep rodents that carry deer ticks out of your lawn. Doing all this will prevent tick infestations and mitigate the risk of tick-borne diseases in your Fido. 

4. Buy a Tick Repellent Tag 

tick repellent tag

Most dogs love romping through meadows of tall grass and where nature abounds. But ticks are widespread in these areas. You cannot rob your canine of the joy it gets from exploring nature. Rather, you must proceed with caution. 

Investing in a tick repellent tag will be wise. Tick repellent tags are small devices that need to be attached to the collars of dogs with the grid facing away from their bodies. These devices emit invisible ultrasonic impulses, which keep ticks away from canines. The great thing about these tags is that they are completely safe for dogs. 

To conclude, Lyme disease poses a serious threat to the well-being of canines. But you can significantly reduce your Fido’s risk by taking preventative measures to protect your dogs from ticks. 

As ticks are becoming more widespread in the U.S., vaccinating your furry companion is an excellent way to protect them from Lyme disease. While vaccination helps protect dogs from the disease, it isn’t 100% effective. You must use oral tick medications and follow other preventative measures to keep ticks at bay. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

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