Dog Articles - Protect Your Pets from Lyme Disease

Protect Your Pets from Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States, affecting an estimated 2 million people. Over 26,000 cases were confirmed in the US in 2014 alone!

Caused by bacteria that gets into the bloodstream through a tick bite, Lyme disease travels to different parts of the body and causes all sorts of health problems. But humans aren’t the only ones at risk of contracting Lyme disease; the four-legged members of your family need protection, too!

Here’s what you need to know about Lyme disease and what it takes to keep your dog safe.

Lyme is a Big Concern in the Northeast

Black-legged ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease, have spread to nearly half of all US counties. The CDC has recorded a 44.7% increase in recorded presence of black-legged ticks in the United States within the last twenty years.

Lyme disease is most prevalent in the Northeast, and over 85% of human cases occur in the eastern coastal states from Massachusetts to Virginia.

Ticks are present in every season but are most active from March through October. Unlike most other insects, adult ticks are not killed off by frost. They thrive in cooler temperatures, meaning you and your pets are at risk of contracting Lyme disease from early Spring to late Fall.

How Does a Dog Catch Lyme?

Lyme disease is spread by ticks that hide in the tall grasses, thick brush, marshes and woods that your dog loves to run and play in. Your pet could contract Lyme from a tick bite at the dog park, on a hiking trail, or even just enjoying your backyard.

Ticks can transmit the disease once they have been attached to your dog for 24 to 48 hours. It can be difficult, especially if your dog has a long, thick coat of fur, to spot a tick. Use a tick comb to carefully check your dogs after they’ve been outside in tall grass or heavily wooded areas. Ticks like warm, moist places - so if your dog wears a collar or harness, make sure you pay special attention to those places.

Lyme Affects Dogs Differently Than Humans

The symptoms of Lyme disease manifest much differently in dogs than in humans and they often occur much later after a tick bite.

A dog suffering from Lyme disease will usually experience severe illness 2 to 5 months after a bite from an infected tick. Other symptoms include a fever between 103°-105°, swollen joints, swollen lymph nodes, lethargy and sudden loss of appetite.

Dogs do not experience the notorious “bullseye” rash that accompanies Lyme disease in most humans, making it difficult to identify.

How Can You Protect Your Pet?

When it comes to protecting your dog from Lyme disease, the pest control experts at B.O.G. Pest Control recommend the following:

  • Make it harder for ticks to thrive in your yard by keeping bushes and shrubs neat, cleaning up leaves, and storing firewood in dry areas away from the side of your home.
  • Lyme disease is carried by ticks, but those ticks are carried into an area by rodents! Take preventative measures to keep rats and mice away from your home.
  • Work with a local pest control professional for preventative tick treatments, such as outdoor repellents around your house.
  • Remove a tick with tweezers as soon as possible. Grab a tick as close to the head as possible and pull slowly and gently to remove it - then dispose of it.
  • Consider using sprays, collars, or other topical products to kill and repel ticks.

Lyme disease is a serious condition for humans and for your pets and taking measures to prevent it can spare your dog from serious pain and suffering. If you have any questions or concerns on how best to protect your dog from Lyme disease, visit or call your veterinarian.

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