If you’ve lived a full year in Nova Scotia, you are likely aware that tick season never ends, and all vets and pet care professionals highly recommend having your dog on a preventative year-round. We’ve seen ticks on the trails and even in the cities. There is no escaping them, but there are plenty of ways to help keep your dog protected and ensure ticks aren’t hitching a ride!
A person hiking with their dog along Nova Scotia’s coast.
What are ticks?
Ticks are arachnids (gross!) attracted to warmth and motion and feed off the blood of humans and animals. There are over 40 different species of ticks in Canada, but most importantly, we must watch out for black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks, as these carry Lyme disease.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) is a bacterial illness (Borrelia burgdorferi) that humans, dogs and other animals can contract. It enters the bloodstream and can cause numerous issues to different organs, joints and overall health. Untreated, symptoms can become fatal.
A blacklegged (deer) tick.
Tips & Tricks
First and foremost, always have your dog on a vet-recommended tick preventative. Not only to protect against Lyme disease but other tick-borne illnesses. Talk to your vet to determine which tick preventative is suitable for your dog.
Be mindful of where you adventure with your dog. Ticks love moist and humid environments and are often in or near woods, long grass, leaf litter, and other shrubberies, as they can’t jump and will instead reach and crawl off of their environment onto a desired host.
Always do a tick check. Ticks are often found on or in the ears, eyelids, under clothing (like your dog’s collar), underbelly, between their toes, and on the tail. If your dog is licking or chewing a specific area or shaking their head, these could be potential indicators that a tick has attached. It’s essential to keep in mind that embedded ticks can often be confused for a cyst or a minor skin lump.
In addition to prescribed tick preventatives, use external tick repellents like a tick collar or a pet-friendly bug spray. You can spray the bug repellent onto your dog’s clothing for additional coverage, specifically clothing intended to hold onto moisture, like cooling bandanas.
Product recommendations: Bog Dog Cedar Tick Collar, Nature’s Pet Outdoor Spray, Halipup Bandana
An East Coast Dog about to put on their Bog Dog Tick Collar.
What do I do if I find a tick on my dog?
Remove it! Use tweezers or a pet-specific tick remover and, with even pressure, pull the tick upwards. Be cautious not to crush the tick! Ensure the head is removed and sanitize the area. If you are unsure, you can bring your dog to East Coast Dog, and our groomer can remove the tick and clean the bite for you.
If the tick has bitten your dog and has been attached for 24 hours, is enlarged (meaning it has been on the host for a while and has fed), keep it in a bag and have it checked at your vet for tick-borne illnesses. Unlike tick-bites on a person, dogs will not present with a characteristic bullseye rash, so it’s paramount to be extra vigilant on their behalf! Do not hesitate to visit a vet for any concerns or uncertainty regarding a tick bite.
If you’ve found a tick you are ready to discard, you can do so by flushing it down the toilet, drowning it in rubbing alcohol, freezing it in a plastic bag, and throwing it in the garbage.
To learn more about how you can defend against ticks, visit East Coast Dog in-store or shop our product recommendations online.