By at least one estimate, the tick population has increased 15 percent since last year. These arachnids are capable of transmitting many diseases to your dog such as Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis, which can lead to anemia, lameness, blindness, and other severe problems.
Why are we talking about ticks in December? Because while the warmer months are generally considered tick season, these insects can easily do their dirty work on a dog if temperatures reach in the vicinity of 40 degrees. And they don’t die if the temperature falls to the freezing mark or even well below it, unless the sub-zero weather persists for several days. They just remain dormant, waiting for a warmer winter day to become active again.
Make sure your dog is on tick prevention medicine all year long — a collar, a pill, or a topical, depending on what you work out with your vet. And check your dog for ticks frequently, especially if you walk in the woods rather than on sidewalks. If you see one, immediately remove it, either with a special tick “rake” that you can buy at any pet goods store or with tweezers. Just be sure to grasp the tick right at the point of contact with your dog and, says Tufts veterinary dermatologist Ramon Almela, DVM, turn counterclockwise and then lift it up. That way you will be certain to remove the entire insect rather than leaving some embedded in your pet’s skin, which can cause an inflammatory wound.