Tick protection in animals

How can I protect my dog from ticks?If you want to protect your dog from ticks, you can resort to various measures. The easiest method is to check your dog for ticks after every stay outdoors and to remove ticks crawling in the fur immediately. If a tick has already bitten, you can remove it with the help of tweezers, tick forceps or a tick card. Most of the pathogens that are dangerous for pets are only transmitted when the tick sucks for more than twelve hours. Contact antiparasitics, known as spot-on preparations, can protect dogs and other pets from tick bites. There is also a Lyme disease vaccination for dogs.

Dogs should be protected from ticks. The simplest method: check your dog for ticks every time you go outside. © Petra Ballhause – stock.adobe.com

Lyme disease vaccination for dogs

In contrast to humans, dogs can be vaccinated against Lyme disease. The principle of vaccination protection: The vaccinated dog forms antibodies. If a vaccinated dog is bitten by a tick infected with Borrelia, the bacteria are rendered harmless by the antibodies.

The Standing Commission on Vaccination for Animals (StIKo Vet.) recommends vaccination for all dogs at risk of infection. In addition to searching for ticks and the use of antiparasitics, it forms part of the protection against Lyme disease. Vaccination against Lyme disease is also recommended before a vacation in tick-infested regions.

In Germany there are different vaccines against Lyme disease available. The most important thing is an effective protection against the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, for which a disease-causing effect in dogs has already been proven. Individual case reports of diseased dogs suggest that two other widespread species (Borrelia garinii and Borrelia afzelii) also have a risk potential for the dog. With the Lyme disease vaccination, protection against all three relevant species is now available -. So that about 90 percent of the Borrelia in Germany – possible.

Already from the age of twelve weeks the dog can be vaccinated against Lyme disease. A second vaccination at intervals of three to five weeks completes the so-called basic immunization. If this is done in the spring, a first booster vaccination (fall vaccination) should be given four to six months later. Again four to six months later a second booster vaccination is given. Annual repeat vaccinations maintain immunization protection. This should be done before the start of the next tick season. So the dog is well protected.

Dogs like to romp in the tall grass. Since ticks can lurk here, precaution is important. © DoraZett – stock.adobe. An important measure for protection against ticks. Fleas offer so-called contact antiparasitics. These are chemical substances designed to prevent transmission of the pathogens by killing the bloodsuckers on the animals' skin. Ticks can still cling to the animal and crawl around in the fur for a while, but they die at the latest when they suck blood. The risk of pathogen transmission is thus significantly reduced. While humans try to keep ticks away with sprays and lotions, dogs and cats mainly use spot-on preparations and special collars with different active ingredients. Preparations with the active ingredient permethrin are suitable for dogs, but not for cats. For them, this agent is very toxic. Therefore, the advice of the veterinarian should always be sought before using such antiparasitics.

Spot-on preparations are dripped onto the skin of the animal's neck. This prevents them from being licked off by the animal itself. From there they spread via the sebaceous glands of the upper skin layers. The protective effect lasts for several weeks, but should be refreshed regularly according to the instructions for use of the respective preparation.

Special tick protection collars that contain poisons against the arachnids also work continuously for a long time. The dog can wear them in addition to the conventional collar. To ensure the lasting effectiveness of the preparations, it may be necessary to remove the respective collar before bathing.

Consult with your veterinarian about which preparation is best for your pet! Not every animal tolerates every agent equally.

Home remedies against ticks

Experts and consumer magazines usually advise against home remedies such as coconut oil, garlic, linseed oil, black cumin oil or citronella, because their effect is not proven. In addition, they could lead dog owners to a feeling of deceptive security – and thus to more careless behavior.

Behavioral tips

Check your pet for ticks after every walk in the countryside. Not every pathogen enters the animal's blood directly after the tick bite. For example, the transmission of Borrelia or Anaplasma usually takes twelve to 24 hours, as the pathogens are located in the midgut of the tick and must first migrate into the salivary glands during the sucking act of the tick, and from there enter the host organism.

But dog owners should not forget their own protection either. You should wear long clothing and sturdy shoes and then thoroughly check for ticks. In our latitudes, the tick-borne Lyme disease bacteria and TBE viruses are particularly dangerous for humans. The Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) recommends TBE vaccination for all people in TBE risk areas who may come into contact with ticks. However, since ticks can transmit the TBE virus throughout Germany, tick prevention is important nationwide.

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