A useful article on Patch.com suggests that this year’s late, mild winter across much of the country means that dogs may come in contact with many more ticks than usual:
For the most part, ticks had been ignored,” said Dr. Benjamin Welbourne, of Oak Forest Animal Clinic. “This season, we’re already pulling a lot of ticks out of dogs.” Ticks are most prominent in spring and summer, and Welbourne said most years, ticks would drop out of sight by fall. But warmer temperatures kept them lingering and looking for a blood meal into December 2011. This April, after a few months off, the ticks are emerging in balmy weather—showing themselves earlier than their usual late-April debut.
The article also offers excellent, step-by-step instructions for removing a tick from a dog and protecting yourself during walks in the woods or tall grass.