How to protect your dog against ticks
Protect with tick repellents
You can protect your dog against ticks with the help of various products. Some are over-the-counter while others require a prescription from the vet. Tick prevention (tick prophylaxis) can come in the form of collars, spot-on drops or tablets. The agents are repellent or killing, or both. You should not use your dog's tick repellent on a cat - they need a specific cat product.
Spot-on tick prevention
Spot-on is applied directly to the dog's skin on the neck and in some cases also at the root of the tail if you have a large dog. The effect lasts about 4 weeks depending on the product. There are spot-on solutions that are over-the-counter and can be bought at pet stores, others are prescribed.
Keep in mind that some spot-on preparations are only for dogs, some are toxic for cats. Therefore, ensure that the cat does not lick the spot-on solution and isolate the cat from recently treated dogs while waiting for the application site to dry.
Tick collars are put around the dog's neck and give full effect after about a week. The collar must be removed when bathing in order not to harm aquatic organisms in lakes, seas and other watercourses. Keep in mind that some tick collars are only for dogs and can be toxic to cats. The collars have an effect between five and eight months, depending on the variety. Tick collars for dogs are over-the-counter and can be bought at pet stores.
Tick collars are not an option to recommend if there are other animals in the household who might play with the dog and bite the collar, likewise if there are small children who can grab the collar, put the collar in their mouth or lick it. Dogs wearing the collar should also not sleep in the same bed as their owner, especially not in the same bed as children.
Tick prevention tablets
The tablets are given directly into the dog's mouth. How long the effect lasts depends on the tablet and usually varies between 4-12 weeks. There are both over-the-counter and prescription tablets. The prescriptions are written by a veterinarian.
Tick agent for puppies
There are some preparations that are considered safe to use on puppies from a certain age (rarely before 8 weeks). For many of these products, the puppy must have reached a certain body weight. It very important to read the package leaflet.
Different tick repellents suit different dogs
Remember to choose your tick product according to your and your dog's circumstances. Discuss with the vet about factors such as:
- Side effects/environmental aspects
- Children in the household
- Other pets (cat, puppies, etc.)
- Presence of ticks and the infectious diseases they spread in the area where the dog will be staying
How to remove a tick
The tick is most easily removed with a tick picker. Pharmacies and pet stores often have a large assortment of hooks, lassos and tweezers. Tweezers are easy to use, but be careful, they can crush the tick. The lasso automatically pinches the loop around the tick's head, but for smaller ticks that are difficult to remove, a hook usually works best.
Choose the appropriate size of the tick picker to get the entire tick. Then insert the picker under the tick, as close to the skin as possible, to remove it. If the entire tick is not removed, the head may remain, which may cause a local reaction that disappears within a few days when the rest of the tick is detached. Contact your vet if the wound doesn't heal within a week or two.
When do the ticks wake up where I live?
Exactly when our animals are affected by ticks depends on the weather. Ticks become active when it is warmer than 5 °C.
Where do the ticks settle on the dog?
Detecting ticks can be difficult, especially if your dog has long, thick fur. It's important to regularly go through your dogs fur, especially after forest walks or if you have walked in tall grass.
Tick-borne diseases and symptoms
The majority of ticks are not carriers, but the risk of your dog becoming infected is greater the longer the tick remains. There are more dogs infected without getting symptoms than those who actually get sick. The most common tick-borne infection that causes symptoms in dogs is Anaplasmosis.
A bacterial infection that mainly affects dogs. The symptoms are fatigue, poor appetite, soreness and fever.
A bacterial disease that can infect dogs but rarely causes any symptoms. Approximately 5% of infected dogs become ill.
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE)
TBE is caused by a tick carrying the TBE virus. Dogs can be infected with the TBE virus but rarely show symptoms. TBE occurs in some areas and people are recommended to be vaccinated there, but there is no vaccine for animals.
Related guides and advice
Keeping your pets cool and safe: Essential tips for hot weather care