How Dogs Get Lyme
Typically, tick season begins in late March as the weather turns from cold to cool. During the warm seasons, spring and summer, people and pets spend the most time outdoors playing and exercising either at home or in wooded or grassy areas. This is when we see an uptick in tick disease cases.
Like cats, dogs can get Lyme Disease and other tick-borne infections. But, how does it happen? Tick diseases spread from animal to animal and person to animal (and vice versa). When wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, walk onto landscapes in search of food, they naturally drop ticks on the yard. The grass is where ticks are usually hiding in search of their next blood meal. When dogs roll around in grassy areas, they are at risk of tick bites.
White-tailed deer are the main carriers of ticks with Lyme Disease in North America; however the white-footed mouse; birds and other wild animals are also known carriers. To protect pets from the risk of tick bites and infections, pet owners will need to fence out wildlife with at least a 6 foot high fence. Fencing is the most recommended strategy for wildlife management and tick disease prevention.
Since April is Lyme Disease Prevention In Dogs Month, dog owners will need to be proactive in keeping wildlife away from their companion pets to reduce the spread of ticks with diseases in spring and summer.
Your Dog Has Lyme
We don't mean to freak out dog owners; but the truth is that we are in the heart of tick season; and dogs are prone to tick diseases this time of year.
Ticks hide in grassy areas in the warm months of the year; and when dogs are outside playing in the yard, ticks have the opportunity to bury into their fur. If dog owners do not regularly groom dogs for ticks, they may be surprised to learn that their pet has Lyme.
After being outside, how is your dog feeling? These are the symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs:
- Fast heart beat
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of muscle movement
- Lack of appetite
- High blood pressure
Lyme Disease can be transmitted in just 24 hours. Remove the tick as soon as possible; and take the dog to the vet for Lyme testing. #LymeDiseaseAwarenessMonth
Lyme Disease Month
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month because this month is the heart of tick season. Now that spring is here, pet owners are out taking their dogs for walks or to the dog park to play with other animals. And, the grassy areas are where ticks hide out most in search of their next blood meal.
Not all ticks carry Lyme Disease, or diseases at all - but when a tick is embedded in your skin [or your pet's skin], there really isn't time to flip a coin to see how lucky you might be. Lyme Disease affects over 300,000 individuals each year including over 100000 dogs in the United States. This year alone, there have already been close to 74000 dogs that have positively tested for Lyme out of 1 million tested!
Lyme Disease leaves individuals feeling weak, sick and bed-ridden. Dogs with Lyme will feel lethargic, weak and unable to eat. They will have an increase in blood pressure and will experience excessive drooling.
Pet owners should groom dogs regularly in search of ticks. Ticks like to hide in the fur in the following regions:
- Between toes
- In the groin area
- Underneath dog collars/clothes
- Under the tail
- In and around the ears
Removing a tick is easy; but don't give in to common myths such as burning the tick with a match; applying nail polish remover; and picking the tick off with your fingers.