As summertime rolls around, you’re likely going to spending a lot more time outside. Whether you’re hanging out in the backyard or going for a nature walk or hike, there are plenty of reasons to get outside and take your dog with you.

Being outside this time of year gives your dog plenty of opportunity to stay active. But being outside also brings the threat of ticks. It’s possible to pick up fleas and ticks during most of the year, but it’s an even bigger problem during the spring and summer months. Every year you seem to hear more and more about how this summer’s going to be the worst summer for ticks in a long time.

So how does a dog get ticks? Ticks are parasites that can attach themselves to your dog. The bad part is a tick will stay there until it dies or you use some kind of product to kill it. A tick is most dangerous when it’s in its nymph and adult stages and can even produce eggs when feeding from your furry friend. One good tip to help prevent ticks is to visit a veterinary clinic and get some flea/tick preventative to use on your dog.

You may not realize it, but signs of tick-borne diseases may not appear for 1-3 weeks or even after your dog has been bitten. Left untreated, your dog can have a variety of health issues including:

  • Skin rashes
  • Skin irritation
  • Scabs
  • Psychological issues if they’re scratching a lot
  • Potential transmission of diseases from the dog to its owner

Since you and your dog share the same living space, it’s very possible to transfer tick-borne diseases. A veterinary clinic can help you come up with a plan to help prevent ticks, fleas and other pests like mosquitoes.

So how do you know if your dog has been affected by a tick? One of the first signs you’re likely to see is a red spot. This is because ticks feed on a dog’s blood and bites with sharp teeth to get inside a dog’s skin. Adult ticks are about 3mm long and can usually be identified, but smaller ones such as nymphs are harder to see. In addition to red spots, you might even find a tick still attached as it tries to burrow inside the skin.

If you’re not sure what to do, visiting a veterinary clinic as soon as possible can help you curb a potential tick problem. That said, there are many options for treatment available, but it’s important to identify which ones will work and which ones you should avoid.

There are a great number of over-the-counter treatment options available, but not all of them are FDA-approved and some could actually hurt your dog rather than help them. In older times, powders, sprays and shampoos were used, but now there are more effective methods of treatment.

So what are some good prevention methods for your dog? If you visit a veterinary clinic, they’re likely to point you to one of the following:

  • Tick collars: These are sometimes recommended by your local veterinary clinic based on your dog’s lifestyle.
  • Oral tablets: These are one of the most popular treatments and are safe your family and your beloved canine. Tablets for flea treatment and tick treatment are only available from a vet’s office.
  • Spot-on treatments: There are many different options for spot-on treatments which can vary in effectiveness. The best option for finding the best treatment for your dog is to visit your local veterinary clinic, talk to your vet and go over options that will keep your dog healthy and safe.

Even if you already have your dog on a treatment plan to prevents ticks and fleas, your dog can still be affected by ticks and fleas. To ensure your dog is at its healthiest, a routine trip for an annual checkup to the vet clinic can keep your pooch acting like their normal playful self.

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