I’ll put it out there. I don’t like ticks. At all. I’ve got thick fur, and those creepy crawlers can easily get onto my skin and go undetected. So, basically, I have no interest in making an acquaintance with them. Besides the fact that they’re blood suckers, they’re bugs that make a home of your body. And, yes, ticks literally suck your blood. I’m not exaggerating here: Ticks attach to their host’s skin, and then thrive on their host’s blood. In fact, if a tick is unable to latch and has no blood source, it will die.
Gross. I can’t hang with that.
Anyway, aside from the drink-my-blood issue, there’s another good reason why I don’t like ticks. They carry a lot of harmful bacteria that can make humans and animals sick. Has anyone ever told you about Lyme disease before? No, it isn’t a diseased green lime. It’s one of the most common tick-transmitted diseases in the world. One of my puppy friends was just diagnosed with Lyme disease, and boy did it slow him down. He couldn’t keep up with me when I wanted to play. At one point, he just collapsed on the floor and took a nap, and that was in the middle of our game!
The most obvious Lyme disease symptoms in dogs are inflammation and lethargy. Yes, we like to sleep a lot in general, but if your dog suddenly goes into zombie mode, you might want to check him for ticks or a rash related to a tick bite. Because the disease affects our joints, we might also appear to walk with a limp. Doctors call this a “lameness.” And, yes, I concur, doctors: Tick bites are lame!
Here are a few additional Lyme disease symptoms in dogs you should keep an eye out for:
- Is your dog walking funny? (Some dog parents say their dog walks with a very stiff or arched back when suffering from Lyme.)
- Is his breathing labored?
- Does he have a fever?
- When you pet your dog, does he seem extra sensitive to your touch?
- Has his appetite changed?
- Does your dog seem depressed or extremely lethargic?
Protecting Your Pet
Keeping your dogs out of tick-infested areas is one of the best ways to prevent them from getting Lyme disease, though we all know it isn’t easy. Even the grass outside of your own house can have ticks on it. Consider using a small amount of tea tree oil (be careful not to let us ingest it, and keep it far away from any fragile little cats) as a natural repellent on your dog’s collar and coat. Some preventative medicines your dog might already be taking can also help keep ticks away.
If your dog happens to get a tick on him, remove it immediately and check in with your veterinarian. Your dog might need medicine to help ease the Lyme disease symptoms he’s experiencing.
Has your dog ever had ticks on him? Did he get Lyme disease? Share your best ways to keep your dogs safe from ticks in the comments section below!
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