How To Keep Ticks Off Dogs While Hiking: 10 Simple Methods
Dogs can be the perfect hiking buddies. They will follow you anywhere without objecting to anything. Whenever you turn to them, you are bound to get a happy, friendly reaction, perhaps even a tail wagging. That is more than you would get from some human hiking buddies in any case.
However, there is a downside to taking your furry friend on hikes in grassy or bushy areas. Your dog might get a tick or two. These ticks can be quite dangerous. They can cause dogs discomfort while also putting them at risk of getting one of the many diseases ticks might transmit.
Because of this, you will need to protect your dog from ticks before you take them hiking. We have compiled a list of the quickest and most effective tick-repellent methods: How to keep ticks off dogs while hiking.
1. Tick-Repellent Cream
If you suspect that there might be ticks lurking from the shadows on your next hike, you should take some preventative measures before you set off on that hike. Ask your vet if it’s okay to take your pet on a hike at that particular time. Then, ask the vet about a tick-repellent cream that they would advise.
Most creams created for this purpose are entirely safe for your dog. With most of them, you will get an applicator that you can use to apply the cream on the dog’s skin easily. If you have difficulties with the application process or anything else, contact your vet for some advice.
2. Tick-Repellent Shampoo
The tick-repellent shampoo is another excellent alternative you can use before hiking with your dog. These shampoos are a quick and inexpensive way to protect your dog from these nasty little insects.
It would be best to bathe your dog with this shampoo the day before the hike or a few days before. You should get the shampoo all over the dog’s fur but avoid putting any on their head. That way, you can protect them from getting the shampoo in their eyes or mouth.
Remember that the tick-repellent shampoo is not the most long-lasting anti-tick treatment. This means that you will have to repeat the process before each hike. It can be somewhat time-consuming, but it is still better than having you and your dog deal with ticks after the hike.
3. Oral Medication
There are particular oral medications that you can give to your dog during tick season to protect them from the ticks. We would not suggest buying any medication and giving it to your dog without consulting a vet first. The vet can advise you on the best type of medicine and when exactly to use it.
With the oral medication, you will most likely need to give it to your dog monthly. When tick season is over, you can stop providing the medicine to your dog. There is no reason to give the medication all year round – use it only when necessary.
4. Tick-Repellent Sprays
Tick-repellent sprays are another great option, especially for people who have forgotten to give any tick-repellent medication to their pet before the actual hike. With these sprays, you can put some on your dog’s fur immediately before the trip. That should be enough to keep the dog protected during the journey.
Again, make sure that you do not put any spray on the dog’s face or directly in their eyes. If there are other pets around yours, keep them at least a few feet away while applying the spray.
5. Tick-Repellent Powders
The tick-repellent powders are somewhat similar to the previously mentioned sprays. You can use them immediately before the trip. When applying it to the dog’s skin, you should rub it nicely and ensure no excess powder is on them. If some loose powder gets into the dog’s face, it might cause discomfort.
As with the sprays, you need to check the label for any harsh chemicals or other ingredients that may cause an allergic reaction. If you suspect your dog might not react well to the spray or powder, check in with your vet and get their approval before using it.
6. Tick-Repellent Collars
Finally, there are some tick-repellent collars you can use. These come in all sizes, so make sure you find one that will be comfortable enough for your dog. You do not want it to be too tight around their neck.
The collars are reportedly the least effective at repelling ticks, so you might want to pair them with another tick-repelling method. While the collar will protect the head and neck, you will need some powder or cream to protect the dog’s body.
Bonus: How to Protect Your Dog from Getting Ticks
We know that the idea of having your furry friend infected with ticks may be daunting. Ticks are no joke – they can cause substantial health problems for you or your pet if you fail to remove them quickly.
The best thing to do is protect your dog from getting the ticks in the first place. That way, you won’t have to deal with them after they latch onto your dog. So, even if you use some of the tick-repelling methods mentioned above, here is what you can do in addition to protect the dog from ticks.
1. Keep Track of Tick Season
Always be aware of when tick season starts and ends. That should be somewhere from March to May and then from August to November. You might want to avoid hiking with your pet during these periods altogether.
Nevertheless, if you want to hike during these periods, you should always give some kind of medication to prevent ticks from latching on. Whatever you do, never let your dog hike without protection during these periods. Otherwise, you will have a rather significant problem to deal with.
2. Keep Your Dog on a Leash and Away from Grassy Areas
When you hike with your dog, try to keep them on a leash – at least in those areas where you walk through high grass or bushes. This will prevent them from going further into those grassy areas and getting more ticks attached to their fur or skin.
Also, if there is an actual hiking trail, take this trail instead of the grassy areas surrounding it. That should also prove helpful in avoiding ticks.
3. Use Treatment before You Go on a Hike
The information shared thus far should be enough to show that you must use tick protection on your pet before taking them on a hike. Either go for the oral medication given once per month or some other methods you can apply whenever needed. Any protection is better than no protection at all.
4. Check for Ticks Immediately after each Hike
Some tick-repelling methods are not as effective as others, so you might find that ticks latch onto your dog even if you’ve done your best to protect them. We advise you to check your pet for ticks immediately after you finish a hike. That way, you might also prevent the ticks from getting into your car or house.
If you find any ticks on your dog, you must remove them immediately. Part their fur nicely, get as close to the skin as possible and remove the tick using tweezers. Ensure that you pull the entire tick and don’t leave some of the tick stuck on the dog’s skin.
If you think you won’t be able to remove the tick, get your vet to help you as soon as possible. That way, you can protect your pet and yourself from getting infections or diseases from the tick.
Conclusion: How to Keep Ticks off Dogs While Hiking
Tick season is not the best time to hike with your dog, but there are still some things that you can do to protect your dog from the ticks. Use any tick-repellent cream, powder, spray, or medication your vet suggests, and you will be good to go. Your furry friend is bound to be very thankful for the extra effort you put in to protect them.
Further reading: How to avoid ticks while hiking