Though your dog’s chances of getting bitten by a tick may be higher in the summer and other warmer months (when people and pets tend to spend more time outdoors), ticks can actually be a nuisance all year long. And just like for you, a tick bite for your dog could equal a serious tick-transmitted disease. Many ticks are more active in warmer weather, meaning your chances of getting bitten by one is a lot higher, especially when hiking.
The longer a tick remains attached, the greater the chances they'll transmit a disease. It can be very difficult for people to see ticks and their bites, especially when the ticks are in their immature stages.
If you plan to hike with your dog, ensuring your dog is on a safe and effective tick-preventative medication will help reduce the chances of transmission of organisms that cause diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tick paralysis, and anaplasmosis.
How to avoid ticks while hiking
It’s important to pay attention and know what to look for when hiking outdoors with your dog, especially if you’re hiking in an area where ticks are common – think heavily wooded areas, swampy areas, or any place that is moist and shady.
When you’re on the trail with your dog, stay centered on the trail as much as possible to avoid taller grass and vegetation. Ticks tend to lay in wait on tall blades of grass waiting for a host to walk by that they can attach themselves to. That “host” is you and your dog!
After spending time outside or on the trail, be sure to check your dog for ticks. You’ll want to remove the ticks as quickly as possible to prevent irritation and spread of infection. Keep in mind that immature stages of ticks can be difficult to find on your dog due to their small size, but they are still capable of transmitting disease. Even if your dog is on a tick preventative medication, ticks may still attach themselves. Work with your veterinarian to choose a tick preventative that keeps your dog protected with no decrease in effectiveness toward the end of the month.
Where to find ticks on dogs
Ticks can be difficult to find in a dog’s fur. Be sure to check these common tick hiding spots on your dog:
- Under their collar
- Under their tail
- Between their toes
- Under their legs
Depending on where you hike, escaping ticks entirely could be difficult. However, you can take the steps above to protect your dog from ticks and the infectious diseases that can be spread by these bites.
Important Safety Information: Simparica is for use only in dogs, 6 months of age and older. Simparica may cause abnormal neurologic signs such as tremors, unsteadiness, and/or seizures. Simparica has not been evaluated in dogs that are pregnant, breeding or lactating. Simparica has been safely used in dogs treated with commonly prescribed vaccines, parasiticides and other medications. The most frequently reported adverse reactions were vomiting and diarrhea. See full Prescribing Information.
- Pantchev, N., Pluta, S., Huisinga, E., et al. (2015). Tick-borne Diseases (Borreliosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis) in German and Austrian Dogs: Status quo and Review of Distribution, Transmission, Clinical Findings, Diagnostics and Prophylaxis. Parasitology Research, 114(S1), 19-54. doi:10.1007/s00436-015-4513-0
- Tickborne Diseases in the United States. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/diseases/index.html. Accessed June 16, 2019.