A Dog Owner’s Guide to Year-Round Brown Ticks in Florida

Veterinarian removing a tick from the Cocker Spaniel dog

When it comes to experiencing sheer horror, it’s hard to compete with discovering a tick firmly attached to a dog’s skin. Owners should remove ticks as soon as possible, but rushing this process can increase danger. 

Being prepared for ticks is simply part of responsible dog ownership in Florida. There’s a lot of prep to deter ticks, but it’s also necessary to conduct daily checks and recognize the signs of tick-borne disease for dogs.

An All Seasons Situation

Ticks are a year-round threat to pet health in the Sunshine State. That said, we do see a spike in tick-related issues in spring and summer due to newly hatched nymphs looking for their first blood meals. Nymphs can be much harder because they are so small.

There are numerous tick species seen in Florida, including:

  • American dog tick
  • Lone star tick
  • Gulf coast tick
  • Black-legged tick

The brown dog tick has the potential to infest areas rather quickly. If a dog visits places frequented by lots of other dogs (like dog parks, kennels, etc.), they may be at higher risk of picking up one or more ticks.

How to Checks a Dog For Ticks

Ticks stealthily latch onto a dog’s head, ears, neck, back, abdomen, and between the toes. . Your dog may pick one up while out walking or simply patrolling their own backyard. Consequently, owners should inspect their dogs every day. Without daily checks, dogs become susceptible to various tick-related health problems. Other household pets and family members may be at increased risk of ticks attaching to them and spreading disease. 

What Dog Owners Can Do

Quick removal of ticks is essential to preventing disease. Depending on the age of the tick, they may be able to secure a latch anywhere between 3-10 days. Transmission of disease can occur within the first full day. 

Strong tweezers are required to ensure that the tick’s head remains attached to their body instead of getting stuck inside their host. Freeze the tick in a sealed baggie before flushing it down the toilet. Apply first aid to the site of attachment, and contact us for help. 

Tick-borne Diseases for Dogs

Ticks infect their hosts with several pathogens that can lead to diseases like Ehrlichiosis, canine babesiosis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Similarly, the longer they stay attached, the more likely you’ll see rashes, other bacterial infections and chronic conditions.

In addition to inspecting dogs for any possible ticks, take precautions in these ways:

  • Keep long grass trimmed and remove any brush piles from your property to reduce habitat for known tick hosts, such as rodents. 
  • Install garden plants known to repel ticks, such as catnip, rosemary, lemongrass, mint, and lavender
  • Wash pet bedding and vacuum daily

Importance of Parasite Prevention

As part of our approach to overall pet wellness, we recommend year-round parasite prevention medication for our canine patients. This not only prevents the spread of tick-borne illness, but reduces health problems related to fleas and mosquitos, as well. 

If you have further questions about the ways to protect your dog from ticks and tick-borne illness, please give us a call at  (407) 831‑5205.Our staff is always here to help at South Seminole Animal Hospital.