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Protect your dog against Lyme disease
Most dogs love to go for long romps in the woods on or off leash. However, being in the woods can put pups at a greater risk of being exposed to a variety of ticks. The most common tick-borne disease is Lyme disease and this condition can result in debilitating lameness and painful arthritis. In some instances, dogs may also develop neurological issues, heart problems or kidney disease. Although this is a very serious problem, with the right precautions, you should be able to keep your pup safe.
The best way to prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease is to keep it on flea and tick preventative medication like Frontline Plus or Comfortis all year long. You may think it's OK to stop the treatment during the winter months, but some ticks still thrive in the winter so your dog could be at risk. Plus, if you stop the treatment in the winter, you may forget to start it back up once the warm weather rolls in. If you do not want to put pet drugs directly onto your dog's coat, you may want to invest in pet products like the Preventic Amitraz flea collar which can be worn like any other collar and works to keep a dog tick free for up to 90 days. The only problem with this product
is that it cannot get wet, so you need to remember to take it off before you bathe your dog with pet shampoo or before it gets near any bodies of water.
Even if you have your pet on a set monthly preventative application schedule, it doesn't mean your dog is completely protected. Some ticks can still hitch a ride on your dog's leg or other body parts and since it only takes one tick to pass on the disease, you will want to take other precautions as well. Every time your dog goes outside, you should check it over before it comes in, especially in the warmer months. Ticks tend to burrow into areas that are a bit more hidden, including in between a dog's toes, in its armpits or in the scruff near its neck. It may be helpful to use a product like the Resco Pro-Series Flea Comb to help remove loose hair and be able to search thoroughly through your dog's coat.
If your pup does develop Lyme disease, the vet will most likely start it on a 3-4 week course of Doxycycline which should clear up the issue if caught early enough. However, if the dog has developed joint pain due to the disease, the vet may start it on joint enhancing supplements like Dasuquin to ease the discomfort.