Tricks agains ticks: Tips for optimal tick protection for dogs
When is tick season?
The tick season starts as soon as temperatures exceed 7 degrees Celsius on several consecutive days. Ticks can therefore even be active during a mild winter, as they leave their winter rigidity already at single-digit plus degrees. As a rule, the tick season in Germany can be limited from February to October.
Which dogs are particularly susceptible to ticks?
In principle, all dogs can be affected and should therefore be protected against ticks. Because as soon as a dog likes to romp around in the grass or walk along forest paths, there is a risk of being bitten by a tick. Some dogs are more or less affected, depending on the condition of their fur. With very smooth, soft fur ticks often lack the necessary hold. If the coat is wiry, thick or long, however, the ticks can cling to their host all the better and find a comfortable position for biting.
Where can you find ticks?
Contrary to widespread misconception, ticks do not fall from trees, but lurk in the grass, in the bushes, in shrubs or along the roadside. Even if you think that ticks only exist in rural areas, you are mistaken: in city parks and the shores of bathing lakes, there is unfortunately just as much of a variety of ticks. They nest on the body in protected areas. The area around the dog's ears is particularly popular with ticks.
Why ticks are so dangerous
If a tick is infected with pathogens, it passes them on directly to the blood host - in this case to the beloved quadruped - through the stinger. The most common diseases that can be transmitted from ticks to dogs include borreliosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and TBE. Borelliosis is transmitted within 48 hours of the tick bite, so the tick should be removed as soon as possible. It is therefore essential to examine the dog thoroughly after each walk in nature in order to be able to act quickly if necessary. If you are ever unsure whether you have removed the tick parasite correctly, please consult a vet immediately.
Identifying and removing ticks correctly
Ticks can hide particularly well in dogs with long coats. Be alert after every trip and look for ticks in unusual places such as between the paws, on the belly, in the ears and under the collar. If you discover a tick on your dog while examining him, it will go to the correct distance.
Different options for tick removal are:
- Tick tweezers: After you have put your dog's coat aside at the affected area, place the tick tweezers as close as possible to the skin and use them to carefully pull the tick out. The same principle is used for the so-called tick card.
- Tweezers: Ticks can also be removed in the same way with tweezers. Please always be careful when doing so.
- With your fingers: If you have neither tweezers nor tick tweezers at hand, ticks can also be removed with thumb and index finger. Please make sure to reach as close as possible to the dog's skin and not to crush the tick.
Even after you have removed the tick from your dog, you should still observe your quadruped. If your pet behaves in an unusual way, you should consult a doctor. Under no circumstances should ticks be removed with oil or alcohol. Otherwise the parasites can vomit and thus transport the pathogens into the dog's bloodstream even faster.
Preventing dogs from ticks
To prevent the parasites before the tick bite, there are many different tick repellents, from 100% vegetable to chemical methods. It is often necessary to test several different preparations first to find a suitable tick protection for your dog. To protect dogs permanently against ticks, there is a vaccination against borelliosis for dogs. However, this is only recommended to a limited extent, as it does not protect against all types of ticks present in Germany. Unfortunately, the tick vaccination is only helpful if there was no contact with Borellilia before, which happens unnoticed in most cases. If a dog is vaccinated despite previous contact with Borellia, this can lead to life-threatening kidney damage. If you decide to use a regular tick repellent, it should be used in all months when temperatures exceed 7 degrees Celsius. As a rule, the dog should therefore be treated with tick repellent from February to October. The different methods of tick control are presented in the following paragraph.
Different types of tick repellents for dogs: natural or chemical tick protection?
What is the best tick repellent for dogs, each dog owner must decide depending on the effectiveness of his own four-legged friend. Every dog is individual, as is his environment, so that extensive research into the appropriate tick repellent can be useful. It is important to consider, for example, how close to nature the four-legged friend should be treated or whether chemical products are also possible. If a dog has hardly any ticks anyway, vegetable methods can also be very helpful. An overview of the various tick remedies:
- Spot-on preparations as drops for the neck: Composition of insecticides; they should be applied approximately every 4 weeks.
- Tick collars: also made of insecticides, they cause paralysis and death of the tick as soon as there is skin contact with the dog; they should be replaced every 4 months.
- Natural Anti-Tick Spray: Ingredients such as Lemon Eucalyptus Extract (Citridiol), Margosa Extract, Citronella and Clove Flower Oil have been proven to keep ticks away; effective for up to 4 hours.
- Special vitamin B tablets for dogs: the composition gives the dog a skin scent that is unpopular with ticks, in addition to a groomed coat; use daily.
- Amber chain: Friction with the animal releases essential oils which have an unpleasant effect on ticks; to be worn every time you go for a walk.
- Coconut oil against ticks: The contained lauric acid has a repellent effect on ticks; for this purpose, rub the dog generously with coconut oil before every walk.
While natural alternatives usually do not have any unpleasant side effects, chemical tick protection can in rare cases cause hair loss, reddening of the skin, itching or even depression. At the same time the effect of natural tick repellents is very limited in time. If tick repellent is used, it must be applied regularly, consistently and sufficiently. Unfortunately, no tick repellent offers 100% protection, which is why regular searching of the dog after each walk remains essential.
Whether plant-based or chemical, effective tick protection is essential to protect the health of your pet. With this in mind, we wish you lots of fun on all your forthcoming walks with your four-legged friend and a protected, wonderfully beautiful summer in nature.