The weather has been great for dog walking. But with walks comes the risk of ticks. And all predictions are that this summer will be a busy summer for those pesky and dangerous little creatures. Our warmer than normal winter means lots of bugs this summer.
Luckily, my dog has a short tight coat which makes it harder for ticks to attach. But after every walk in the woods, I still make sure to go over her and myself carefully. The ticks that cause Lyme disease, black ticks and deer ticks are migrating and are becoming more prevalent in Northern Michigan.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan is home to many species of ticks. Not all species of ticks that live in Michigan harbor dangerous bacteria, viruses, and parasites, but several species do and they can live in a variety of habitats, including people’s own backyards. According to the MDHHS, ticks generally prefer wooded and grassy locations.
What should you do if you find a tick on your dog? There are a lot of wives tales that say put dish soap or put a hot match on the tick so they will release. DO NOT DO THAT. They will release but when they do, they will also regurgitate. And it’s the regurgitation that contains all the bacteria. Remove the tick with tweezers or a Tick Twister. I have a handy Tick Twister tool that I got at the pet store and it makes it much easier to pull them out by the head. It only a couple of dollars and was well worth it.
Flea and tick meds are also really important in helping repel unwanted parasites. Talk to your vet to make sure you’re getting the right meds for your dog.
So enjoy your summer walks but be careful. Lyme disease is nothing to take lightly for you or your fur buddy.