Ectoparasites are organisms that live on the outside of an animal. Ticks are relatively common ectoparasites of dogs (and cats). How often you see ticks on your dog and how severe a tick assault will depend on the country in which you live, the time of year (tick activity varies in warm and cool weather), the habits of your dog, and how and when you use tick control products. Some ticks can infest dogs that spend most of their time indoors, and even dogs that only spend brief periods outside can have ticks.
How will ticks affect my dog?
Ticks attach to your dog by inserting their mouthparts into your dog’s skin. Many ticks also produce a sticky, gluelike substance that helps them remain attached. After attaching to your dog, ticks begin feeding on your dog’s blood. The places where ticks attach can become red and irritated.
Although rare, ticks can consume enough of your dog’s blood to cause a deficiency called anaemia. Certain female ticks can also cause a rare paralysis in dogs due to a toxin they produce while feeding. More importantly, ticks are capable of causing many diseases in your pet. The disease with which most people are familiar is called Lyme disease. Another is Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Lyme disease can cause arthritis and swelling of your dog’s joints, resulting in painful lameness. Rocky Mountain spotted fever can cause fever, lameness, and other signs.
How do I prevent my dog from getting ticks?
It is challenging to prevent your dog’s exposure to ticks. Ticks can attach to your dog when they go with you on walks, hikes, or during any outdoor activities.
The best way to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog is by regular tick control products such as NexGard and Frontline. Your veterinarian can advise you about the best product for your dog and your situation.
Can ticks harm humans?
Ticks can attach to and feed on humans. The skin where ticks attach to humans can become red and irritated. Ticks that transmit diseases to your dog can also transmit many of the same diseases to people. It is essential to realise that people do not get these diseases from their dogs. Both people and dogs get the diseases from ticks they come into contact with outdoors. Diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever can also be severe in humans.