Frannie Says “Time for Tick Talk”
Ticks are not just a nuisance. They can transmit dangerous diseases to dogs and their humans. Even when there’s medication on board to help control these pests, you should inspect your dog regularly for ticks. Early detection and removal decreases risk of disease.
Minnesota is home to over twelve species of ticks, including three that carry disease — the Blacklegged Tick (aka Deer Tick), American Dog Tick (aka Wood Tick), and the Lone Star Tick.
The distribution of ticks and their environment is constantly changing due to deforestation and climate change, and tick habitats can vary every year or even every season. Because of this, it is important to always monitor for ticks even if you don’t think you live in a tick-prone area.
According to the American Kennel Club, the transmission time of common tick-borne illness varies. Diseases like Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are transmitted by bacteria within as little as three to six hours of tick attachment, while dangerous Lyme Disease-causing bacterial transmission can require 24-48 hours of feeding before a host is infected.
Because transmission times vary, checking dogs for ticks immediately after being outdoors can greatly reduce the risk of tick-borne disease. Also note that dogs may contract more than one disease from a single tick bite.
To perform a tick check on your pup, scan all areas of their skin, moving their fur as needed. Pay extra close attention to upper legs, ears, shoulders, and their head and face. To prepare for tick season, talk to your vet about the best tick preventative measures for your dog. Remember to never use human tick repellant on your pup.
If you find and remove a tick from your dog’s fur, it’s important to save the tick in a sealed ziplock bag or jar and retain it for several weeks in case your dog develops symptoms, and the insect needs to be tested.
For a few weeks after the tick is removed, monitor the wound for redness, swelling, a rash or a ring. For a few months, be aware if your dog shows signs of malaise or lethargy, exhibits a loss of appetite, difficulty moving, or any behaviors not typical for your pup. Contact your vet immediately if any of these symptoms occur or you have questions.
Remember that tick bites can transmit disease to humans as well. Never remove a tick using your bare hands! Use tweezers and grasp the tick close to the skin to remove it gently and thoroughly. Better yet, stop by Dog’s Day Out to pick up a complimentary tick removal tool. Our handy spoon-shaped instrument is easier to use than tweezers—a must-have tool to keep in your home or car, with your camping gear or at the cabin. While you’re at Dog’s Day Out, give your pup a DIY bath, or contact them ahead of time to make a full-service bathing or grooming appointment. Dog’s Day Out is open Thursday-Sunday from 10 a.m.- 6 p.m.
The advice provided is based on many years of experience as dog parents and operators of one of the largest and longest established dog daycare and boarding facilities in the Twin Cities. Always consult your veterinarian. When not sharing advice, our dog bloggers — Frannie, Lyle, and Helen — share a space with their people, Downtown Dogs owner Ralph Bernstein and his wife, Abbe.”