How to Protect Your Golden Retriever From Ticks

Due to factors like milder winters, an increase in white tailed deer, and fewer insecticides being used, 2013 was predicted as a record year for ticks.  Ticks are a problem for animals and humans alike.  Tick species vary by location, and different species carry different diseases like Lyme Disease,  Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Are ticks a problem in your area?  Do you have any ideas or suggestions to keep them away?  I have compiled a list of some of the things you can do to help avoid this very common problem.

 

  • Keep your lawn cut short.  Ticks and other critters love to lurk in long grass
  • Try to avoid long grass and wooded areas
  • Check your dog for ticks every time you bring him/her indoors.
  • Visit your veterinarian every spring to discuss flea/tick and heart worm prevention medications.
  • There are shampoos and collars on the market that deter fleas and ticks.
  • Try a holistic approach such as this homeade recipe from an article in Forbes  It’s Peak Tick Season: 7 Ways to avoid Tick-Borne Disease by Melanie Haiken.

“In a spray bottle, mix 1 cup water and 2 cups distilled white vinegar. (Ticks loathe the smell and taste of vinegar, supposedly.) Add 2 teaspoons vegetable or almond oil, both of which contain sulfur, which ticks also dislike.”

 

 

Tick Population to Explode in 2013 – Veterinary Practice News

Adult deer tick, Ixodes scapularis.

Adult deer tick, Ixodes scapularis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Joint pain and stiffness similar to the symptoms of arthritis
  • High fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neurological signs resulting in seizures and neck pain (infrequent)

– See more at: http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/canine-anaplasmosis#sthash.9KsY5RIW.dpuf

  • Joint pain and stiffness similar to the symptoms of arthritis
  • High fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neurological signs resulting in seizures and neck pain (infrequent)

– See more at: http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/canine-anaplasmosis#sthash.9KsY5RIW.dpuf

  • Joint pain and stiffness similar to the symptoms of arthritis
  • High fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Neurological signs resulting in seizures and neck pain (infrequent)

– See more at: http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/canine-anaplasmosis#sthash.9KsY5RIW.dpuf

Now that we know this, lets talk prevention.  Here are some things you can do to help protect your golden from these pests:

 

So you have found a tick on your dog.  First, you must remove it with tweezers or a Tick Twister.  It is not recommended that you burn it or suffocate it off with any type of substance, as this can cause the tick to inject more saliva into you or your pet.  Then clean the area with an antiseptic and put some antibiotic ointment on the site.

Here is a great video from Doctors Foster & Smith on removing a tick from your dog:

If your dog has been bitten by a tick, watch for signs of illness including stiffness, loss of appetite and lethargy.  Contact your veterinarian right away if you suspect your dog has a tick borne illness. Keep in mind these illnesses can lay dormant for several months before showing signs.

Removing matting on your Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are notorious for getting matts behind their ears, as well as under the arms and legs and around the “back end area”.  Those big felt-like clumps of hair can be tricky to get out.  Regular brushing and thinning of the hair behind the ears is a preventative measure.

Here are some pointers for removing mats at home:

First, NEVER try cutting the matted area off.  You can almost guarantee you will cut your golden, as the mats pull the skin, which is probably rather painful, if not annoying for your dog.

Make sure the dog is in a comfortable position.  Sit on the floor with the dogs head in your lap or any way you can maintain control of the head.

You can start by saturating the mat with a conditioning agent or using a slicker brush to brush out the smaller tangles around the matting.

As a precaution, if you can slide a wide tooth comb between the mat and the skin, this will help prevent cutting your dog.  Another truck is to hold your fingers like scissors, as if you are about to cut off the mat with your fingers, as close to the skin as possible. Hold your fingers there and using  some round nosed scissors,  cut strips into the mat, perpendicular to the comb or fingers.

Take a metal comb and, starting at the bottom, comb out the mats.  Combing downward, with the growth of the hair is much less painful on your furry friend.


Y0u can also purchase a mat splitter to remove the mats, which may take less time, but I find the comb and scissors works well enough.  There are several varieties available at your local pet supply store.

Mat Splitter

It can take quite some time to remove the matting, be patient, and give your dog a break if needed.

Here is a video on using the mat splitter

http://youtu.be/-rJVr9sQ1h8

Regular brushing and thinning the ears with thinning shears will help prevent matts from forming.

Here is a great article from Potomac Valley Golden Retriever Club about trimming and cleaning up the ears.  Grooming Your Golden