Prevent Tick Fever in Dogs

November 23, 2018

Tick fever in dogs is both emotionally and financially draining for any dog owner. Preventing tick fever in dogs takes a multipronged approach as these ectoparasites can prove to be very resistant.

When we moved to Delhi, we quickly realised that, unlike the other Indian cities we have lived in, Delhi has a major tick and fleas infestation. We had never had a dog suffer from tick fever until we moved here.

prevent tick fever dogsIt took me a year to figure out how to deal with a tick infestation and prevent the dog from getting tick fever. It doesn't help that we have a huge garden that the dogs love to roll around in. The large number of pet and stray dogs in the vicinity has also largely attributed to a general tick infestation in the area.

The first requirement is to get your dog on a spot-on treatment starting from early summer right up to when winter sets in. I usually stop the spot-on treatment in winters.

Bravecto which is a consumable anti-tick and fleas treatment is also pretty well known. Finding it in India has been difficult. So, if you know anyone travelling in from places like Singapore or the US, you might want to ask them to get you some. The spot-on treatments like Advantix, Advocate, Vivaldis and Fiprofort, should be applied every 3 weeks. I've noticed an increase in the numbers of ticks in the 3rd week leading up to the 4th week.

There are also various other methods that can be applied to prevent tick fever in dogs. I find that the basic method of checking your dog daily for ticks is a great way to prevent an infestation. Besides that, I also give the dogs a bath every 3 weeks in between the spot on application. I apply a neem based oil prior to the dog's bath to help with any skin and ectoparasite issues. Neem oil is very helpful in dealing with skin related issues. I use Flemantic Pro Skin Oil for the dogs to help prevent tick fever. It has to be applied on the pet and left on 60 minutes prior to bathing. Erina Tick and Flea Shampoo by the Himalaya company is a great natural shampoo for ticks and fleas prevention. 

Another great way to prevent tick fever is to give your dog a tea tree and hot water rub down. I do this regularly. I find that it helps with various issues like skin problems, fungal infections and even bacterial infections. It also is a great way to repel fleas and ticks. In addition to the rub down, I sometimes spray the dog bedding with tea tree oil and water mixture. Always use good quality Tea Tree Essential Oil. As tea tree oil is known to cause issues to dogs who may be sensitive to tea tree oil, always use in moderation and avoid the eyes, nose and mouth when applying.  

Tea tree hot water rub down can be done like this:

Fill half a bucket with hot water, preferably a smaller sized bucket. Add 4 drops of good quality tea tree essential oil. Throw a small towel in. Wring the towel (without burning your hands) and rub down the dog against the growth of his hair. Avoid the snout, mouth and eyes.

Things to note are: if you are sensitive to tea tree oil, wear gloves. It does cause tingling in the hands. Also, some dogs are very sensitive to essential oils. Always do this is the day, in case your dog gets sick. And to start out, use a small dose of essential oil - 2 drops, to test how your dog reacts. If you have a smaller dog, reduce the tea tree dosage.

Lastly, which is to me the most important, ticks and fleas will invade your house. I've notice this more in Delhi than any other place. You'll find that the ticks gets into your wooden furnitures like beds and cupboards. They also will invade your carpets. Most dogs I've seen who get tick fever, do not get infected when they head outside. Instead, they are re-infected in the house itself. Dealing with this is essential to prevent tick fever. I generally get the house furniture and carpets sprayed every week with a common household insecticide. This has reduced the number of ticks we have seen on the dogs. If you keep a weekly schedule and spray your furniture on a weekly or biweekly rotation, you will drastically reduce the occurrence of your dog getting tick fever. 

You might want to note too, if you have a garden and have dogs that love to roll around in the grass, you might want to limit their access to it especially when tick season hits. As the humidity goes up, the number of ticks in the area also tend to increase.

It is always advisable to keep a thermometer at home. Early detection of tick fever will ensure you don't lose your dog. We keep a separate thermometer at home for the dogs. We always do a check if we find that the dog doesn't want to eat, if he is sluggish, sleeps all day or if his snout or ears or body feels generally warmer than usual. Temperature above 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit will give you an indication that the dog has a fever. The average temperature of a healthy dog will range around 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37.2 degrees Celsius) to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit (39.2 degrees Celsius).

Because every dog is different, I would suggest that you experiment to see what works for your dogs. We have two German shepherds at home and have found that the methods we have adopted above have helped us deal with issues related to ticks and fleas. We are now better prepared to prevent our dogs from getting tick fever again. I'm sharing my experience in the hope that it helps you to also figure a way to deal with these issues for your dogs. I hope this will help you in your journey with your fur babies.

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