DEAR SUN SPOTS: It would be of great value and perhaps lifesaving if you could poll your sources and find some recommendations for tick prevention for dogs. I called my veterinarian and there is nothing beyond the usual “stay out of deep grass, check for ticks after being outdoors and use a product such as Bravecto which is a three-month protection for most ticks, but only two for deer ticks.”

My dog takes Bravecto. Leeds is saturated with deer ticks and deer. They are all over our lawns and fields. I and many of my neighbors and their dogs have had Lyme and anaplasmosis. My dog is vaccinated for Lyme every year, but he has had anaplasmosis for which there is no vaccine.

My daughter and I walked our dogs today on the road and each picked up a deer tick and one of the dogs picked up three.

I have a large black dog. Try to find a deer tick on him! I sprayed him with 40 percent Deet, which I hated to do, but with the news article finding a new possibly fatal tick disease that can be established after one hour on the dog, which is the least harmful?

I have these questions:

1. Apparently Deet is not particularly effective with deterring ticks. Permethrin is better. Which is least toxic? I understand Permethrin is better on clothing which makes it kind of useless for dogs.


2. Is there a better regime for protecting humans and dogs?

3. Vets sometimes recommend two or three products such as Bravecto, sometimes boosting it up to every two months rather than three, a supplemental tick collar or adding another product. Is that safe?

4. Why isn’t there more government effort to study this epidemic and come up with current recommendations? As one who knows many people suffering from the aftereffects of Lyme, I can tell you this is debilitating and could have great effect on our economy as well as the health care system.

I would be most grateful if you can get some current information.

— Marilyn Burgess, Leeds

ANSWER: Let’s see, there are tick sprays, tick dips, tick collars, oral medications, special shampoos, spot treatments for your, and a wide range of products to treat lawns and gardens.


The best treatment is a combination of the above, based on the advice of your veterinarian.

Every dog is different, so not every product is going to work the same way. Some dogs have sensitive skin that requires extra care, and other dogs have such wild coats it’s like a safari to pick out ticks.

So, the oral Bravecto is a good start, and you might want to be careful about Permethrin. While shown to be effective on dogs, it’s toxic for cats.

And never, ever use Deet on your dog. The chemical is highly toxic in high doses, and your dog will likely turn and lick his coat — ingesting the poison.

It sounds like your vet has already given you the most up-to-date advice, so you’re already doing all you can. Researchers continue to discover more about these diseases, so never give up hope we’ll find better treatments.

In the meantime enjoy your walks, and look for ticks.

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