Finally, we’re turning the corner on winter. I’m so ready to welcome spring with open arms and drinks around the campfire.

But. With spring temperatures come ticks. Tick activity will vary depending on where you live, the overall climate, and the current season. Your vet will have the best and most up-to-date information about tick activity in your area.

Ticks will bite your dog and attach using their mouth; they burrow into your dog’s skin. Ticks produce mucous that helps them remain attached. Once connected, the tick will feed on your dog’s blood. The bites can become red, irritated, and infected.

Some female ticks inject a toxin into the bloodstream while feeding, and this can cause paralysis. Ticks also transmit Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. There are other, less common diseases that ticks will transmit, too.

It’s tough to prevent tick exposure since those buggers can be anywhere. Your dog could pick one up during any outdoor activity. Regular use of tick control products is a must. You should also check your dog after outdoor activity in high-risk areas. It’s much easier to remove the tick before it’s securely attached.

If you’ve ended up with ticks in your backyard, you need to treat the whole yard. Nature’s Health Care, Vet’s Best, is an excellent plant-based treatment for your yard. It’s safe and effective and won’t harm your garden or grass. It comes in a concentrated formula with a hose sprayer attachment for application.

You can also eliminate anything that attracts wild animals to your backyard and build in a three-foot buffer between the woods and yards. Both of these tactics will help reduce the chance of your yard becoming a potential source of infection.

For your dog, K9 Advantix II is an excellent topical monthly treatment to prevent ticks. It’s meant for dogs 21-55 pounds but is available for other sizes. They’ll kill the ticks before they actually bite your dog. And as a bonus, it will kill fleas and many other pests too. Once applied, it’s effective within 12 hours and will keep working for 30 days.

Alone, ticks only cause minor skin irritations. It’s the diseases they carry that can be harmful to your dog. Ticks can cause fever, anemia, paralysis, lameness, and many other symptoms. Some of the disorders can be treated. However, some of the effects could be permanent and cause years of illness.

You or your family can’t catch these illnesses from your dog. But you can be infected by a tick if one bites you.

Trying to remove a tick can be tricky, and you might leave the head behind. This will put your dog at risk for infection and illness, so it’s best to consult your vet if you suspect a tick has bitten your dog.

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