Dog hiking? Avoid ticks with these tips

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by Nancy E. Hassel, ThisFurryLife.com

Last weekend I took my dog Cody on two different hikes in Montauk, NY and at the the first hiking location there were signs notifying hikers about ticks.  I absolutely loathe ticks – and if you want to hike any where here on Long Island or in the Northeast for that matter, you will more than likely see a tick on your dog or yourself.  Yuck!  But that should not stop you from enjoying the great beautiful outdoors – it doesn’t stop me.  

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Prepare ahead of time.

When I take Cody where I know there will be ticks, I use an all natural tick spray, which I keep in my car.  I recently used Pet Naturals Flea & Tick spray.  I sprayed it on his legs, paws, tail and belly thoroughly.  And I sprayed it on the bottom of my long pants.  I did not find 1 tick crawling on my pants, and only (3) dog ticks on Cody, 2 while we walked and 1 about an hour later.  I was impressed by that.  Why?  We were in an area that was loaded with ticks, and deer naturally roam through that area.  So no tiny deer ticks and only 3 dog ticks.  I will definitely be continuing to use this product when we hike.

Keep preventatives in your car.

This may sound crazy, but I have tape and a pet hair roller in my car all the time.   I also always have a tick key, tick spoon or tick tweezers in my car.  Why tape?  What do you do with a tick when you find it on your dog?  You can use the tick key to remove it, then what?  Tape, put that sucker, pun intended, inbetween a piece of tape, and it is done.  And, in case you are uber worried about the tick, you can then bring the tick to your vet for testing. 

Why a pet hair roller?  This is a great way to roll your own clothing before getting back into your car, it will pick up any crawling ticks that you may not be able to see.   It can also be used to roll your pet, but I think that could pull your pets hair out a bit too, might not be that pleasant!

Tick pet hair roller

Thoroughly check your dog BEFORE getting back into the car!

It’s time to thoroughly check your dog for ticks each time it comes in the house or before you get back into you car.  Lyme Disease is always a concern for dogs contracting this from ticks, but there are other tick borne illnesses that your dog could get.  In most cases the tick must feed on your dog for 24 hours to infect the dog, so that is why it is good practice and training for your dog to make it a routine to check him.

Be diligent about checking your dogs ears, paws (and I in between the toes), front and back of the neck.  Ticks go anywhere, but those areas seem to be prime real estate for them. The also like moist places, so make sure you look in your dogs ears.  And check yourself as well, they can crawl pretty quickly.  You can use a flea comb too to find them, and if you are so inclined there are topical monthly treatments to prevent ticks from staying on your dog.  I am not a fan of most of these treatments and prefer holistic alternatives, and and a thorough daily screening of my dog.  This also helps for spotting any abnormalities on your dog that you may have not noticed by just putting monthly drops of a preventative on your dog.

Ticks are everywhere on Long Island in the Northeast, don’t fool yourself to thinking your well manicured and landscaped property won’t have any.  Ticks are nasty little creatures, but they are a part of life when owning a dog.  For more information on ticks click here.

Happy tick hunting?  Yes, make it a rountine for your dog and reward him or her afterwards – Cody is now used to the routine of checking him before he gets back into the car.  

If you are a new dog owner and this is a big worry of yours, talk to your veterinarian, speak with other people who hike regularly with their dogs on this topic.  Ask them how they avoid ticks, what they do if the find one on their dog.  I think the more you talk with people about it, go for hikes and realize that you may not be able to fully avoid ticks, but be better at preventing them from really being a nussiance to you and your dog.

Happy Hiking with your pup!

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