Could your dog have Lyme disease?
If your dog spends time in wooded areas or tall grass, they could be vulnerable to ticks and Lyme disease, which is spread by tick bites.
People can get Lyme disease from being bitten by the same ticks that transmit it to dogs, so preventing exposure to ticks is important for both you and your dog.
While humans get a bull’s-eye rash at the site of a tick bite, signs in dogs include:
- Swollen joints (which will look like puffiness in the ankles and wrists)
- Poor appetite
- Increased drinking and urination
Other diseases may also cause some of these same symptoms, so blood tests are often needed to confirm a diagnosis of Lyme disease.
There are preventive steps you can take to protect your dog from Lyme disease and its potential complications:
- Keep your dog away from tick-infested environments. The highest risk areas are deciduous (hardwood) forests that have moist, sandy or loamy soil and thick vegetation. This includes forested woodlands in the country as well as wooded areas in city parks.
- After your dog spends time outdoors, carefully examine their skin and coat for ticks. Ticks must be attached to your dog for at least 48 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease, so timely removal is key for prevention. Check your dog even if they haven’t spent time in wooded areas, since ticks can be found in backyards, too. Be sure to look at the neck area and under the chin, the groin and armpits, inside the ears and ear folds, and between the toes. (It’s a good idea to check yourself as well.)
- Use a tick preventive recommended by your veterinarian on a regular basis. This will ensure that no tick is attached to your dog long enough to transmit the disease. Oral and topical medications are both a convenient method of control. The newer medications are highly effective and easy to administer.
- Vaccinate your pet against Lyme disease. If your dog is at high risk for contracting Lyme disease because they spend a lot of time outdoors in parts of the country where it is common, vaccination can provide some extra protection in addition to a tick preventive.
Protect your pet from Lyme disease and shop today for veterinarian-approved flea and tick preventives, some of which do not require a prescription >>