The warmer weather can bring so many things – days spent out in the sun, long walks with your pup, and, oh wait … those nasty ticks!
What’s up with ticks this year you ask? Unfortunately, it looks like with each passing year, the widespread of ticks is becoming more severe. Toronto is now considered a risk area of Lyme disease.
Map of active tick Surveillance*. Toronto, 2013 – July 2017 – Toronto Public Health
That’s right – just one more thing to be worried about with your pup! Ticks are not only out in the spring and summer months now either. Their activity is temperature based – so any day, even in winter, that is 4 degrees or above, ticks can come out and feast on your pup. I was at the vet in February and my vet informed me that a woman brought her tiny Chihuahua (who barely goes outside in winter) in for a check up, and they found 2 ticks on him.
This means it’s time to brush up on the tick removal process! After each walk, I recommend doing a thorough “tick check” on your dog. This can be very time consuming, especially for those of us with very hairy dogs. The time is worth it though to prevent a very sick dog, and also to prevent the “ick” factor that goes along with giving your dog some love/rubs in bed in the morning, only to come across a weird skin tag on your dog that turns out to be a tick. This happened to me twice last year – trust me, you want to prevent that feeling!
The main spots that ticks particularly like on dogs are:
The groin area
In or around ears
Around the anal area
Check out this video from the Ontario SPCA on how to safely remove a tick from a dog.
There is an online Pet Tick Tracker that has been designed to track the presence and spread of ticks on animals. If you find a tick, report it here. The University of Guelph will be using this information to track the spread of ticks and what types of ticks we are seeing. This will help us know what preventive measures need to be taken and hopefully help us protective ourselves and our pets!