The Best Ways to Safely Handle Ticks When Hiking with Your Pet
Summer is in full swing, which means one thing for pet owners…taking their pets on hikes! Hiking with your dog can be a great way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. However, it’s important to take a few precautions to ensure both you and your pet stay safe. One of the biggest dangers when hiking with dogs is ticks. Ticks can carry dangerous diseases, so it’s important to take steps to protect yourself and your pup. In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to avoid ticks when hiking with your pet and what to do if you find one on your dog. Stay safe out there!
#1: Administer year-round tick prevention to your pet
Nothing is more effective at keeping hungry ticks at bay than tick prevention. Whether you administer a topical solution to your pet’s skin or give them a flavored chew, you’re creating a shield against ticks and the diseases they carry.
#2: Keep your pet out of prime tick habitat when hiking
Contrary to popular belief, ticks do not fall from trees or jump great distances to latch onto you or your pet. Instead, they “quest” for their prey, meaning they climb up the stalks of tall grasses, weeds, and shrubs and stick their front legs out, waiting for a warm body to wander by and become a host. So, although your pooch would love to sniff around in the tall brush, keep them to closely trimmed trails or paved paths.
#3: Know how to remove ticks properly from your pet
If a tick latches onto your pet, know how to properly remove it to minimize infection transmission. Squeezing the tick’s body can cause it to “inject” disease pathogens into your pet, so use a pair of tweezers to gently grasp the tick’s head as close to your pet’s skin as possible, then pull straight back with steady pressure. Avoid twisting when pulling since this can cause the head to detach and remain in your pet’s skin. Monitor the area for inflammation and infection. If you feel you will be unable to completely remove the tick from your pet, you can also bring them in and have your veterinarian remove it.
#4: Protect your pet from Lyme disease with appropriate vaccination
In addition to protecting your pet from ticks with tick prevention, you also can safeguard them with a Lyme disease vaccine. By vaccinating your pet—dogs only—against Lyme disease, you can greatly decrease their chances of contracting this tick-borne illness and reduce the severity of signs if infection occurs.