What Lyme disease means for your dog

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne illnesses

Lyme disease is one of the most common tick-borne illnesses inflicted upon dogs. The disease is transmitted to humans and pets by the bite of an infected tick. Tick control should be a part of daily life, not only because the pests can be a nuisance, but because they can cause these debilitating illnesses in our pets. 

All it takes is a single deer tick for your pet to become infected with Lyme disease. Some of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease are plights usually associated with arthritis. Recurring lameness in the joints due to inflammation may lead to your pet walking stiffly, which should be closely monitored if you suspect your animal is exposed to tick-friendly areas often. The first thing a vet will do when dealing with a suspected transmission of Lyme disease is try to differentiate commonplace arthritis from Lyme disease-related inflammation. That's why it's important to look for other, sometimes more serious, symptoms alongside stiffness.

Other symptoms vary from loss of appetite, fever and depression to sensitivity to touch, difficulty breathing and heart abnormalities. 

Infection usually occurs after the Lyme disease-carrying tick has been attached to the pet for at least 18 hours. With this in mind, checking your dog for ticks often should no longer feel like a burden, but a necessity.

Tick prevention methods
The easiest way to prevent Lyme disease is obvious: don't get a tick bite. But that's easier said than done. The fight to avoid ticks outdoors can sometimes feel like a losing battle. The first step is to avoid areas that are likely to host ticks. When possible, brushing against overgrown plant life or tall grass should be avoided. If you do come in contact with overgrown brush, check yourself for pests as soon as possible.

In terms of checking your pet, running a fine-toothed comb through your pet's fur is the best method to find a tick on your dog's skin or fur. If you do find a tick on your pet, use tweezers to remove it. With the tweezers, grip the tick as close to the pet's skin as possible and pull it straight up slowly and firmly. 

If you don't like the idea of ever coming in contact with a tick, there are products designed to repel the pests. The Hartz® UltraGuard Plus® Flea & Tick Collar for Puppies kills and repels ticks for up to seven months. 

This content is provided by the flea treatment experts at Hartz. We offer flea sprays, shampoos and drops to keep your pets safe inside and outside your home.