Dogs, Ticks, and Martha's Vineyard

It’s easy to forget that there are an abundance of ticks on our beautiful oasis. With the warmer season quickly approaching, we might start seeing more and more ticks as we spend time outdoors with our pups.



Are there really that many ticks on Martha's Vineyard?


Oh yes. Just like most of Massachusetts and greater New England, ticks are definitely here. The newest member of the tick family to appear on the island is the Lonestar Tick. Lonestars are most commonly found in more rural spots on the island, like Chilmark and Aquinnah, but they have also been seen in Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury.


Signs Of A Tick Bite In Dogs


Just like they do with humans, ticks attach and bite dogs. Dogs are just as susceptible to tick-spread diseases as we are, including lyme disease. When it comes to spotting the early signs, there are a few little things you can pin-point. If you suspect anything, head to your vet!

If your dog gets Lyme disease, the kidneys begin to slowly shut down. This causes digestion problems, because the body is no longer filtering toxins efficiently. Diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and lack of energy could be warning signs. You may also see your pup walking stiffly, or developing a fever. Other diseases (like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) cause similar symptoms. Lameness, stiff joints, and fevers are part of the calling card.


Preventing and Dealing With Tick Bites



Always keep your dog up-to-date on their flea/tick treatment and preventative care. There are many options to choose from, and being proactive will help your dog continue to be healthy.


Keep an eye on where your dog is playing. Ticks like long grass, and the moist leaves that cover the ground. If your pup likes rolling around in leaf piles, or frolicking through weeds and brush, you should give them a look over before you head home.


Know where you’re going. There are a lot of wonderful hiking trails on the Vineyard, but going deeper into the woods will increase the chances of tick-exposure.


If you find a tick on your pup, don’t panic. Gently grab a pair of tweezers and clasp the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible. You want to try to grab its head, and carefully pull the insect away. Once you have detached it, throw it in a jar of alcohol.


Watch your dog for odd behavior, and look for a rash under his fur. If you notice anything unusual, take your dog and the tick to your vet.

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