Ticks on Dogs: Checking Your Dog For Ticks
Ticks are a very common parasite that can cause serious problems. It’s important to know what they are and how to check your dog for ticks. Dog’s often pick up ticks on walks, the ticks are waiting in shrubbery and woodland to latch on to your dog’s fur as they brush past. Ticks can carry very harmful diseases such as Lyme disease and and pass them onto your dog. Humans can also get Lyme disease from tick bites, so it’s crucial that you take precautions. In order to detect ticks as early as possible you need to regularly check your dog. This will highlight any ticks which you can remove (only in the correct manner) or get your vet to remove. If you don’t check a tick could go unnoticed for days or even weeks. Here are some tips for checking your dog for ticks.
As we take our dog’s out for walks every day it is necessary to check your dogs on a daily basis, especially during tick season. Ticks are more common in the summer and autumn. Check your dog when you get back from a walk to make sure they haven’t picked up any ticks.
How to check your dog for ticks
It’s much easier to look out for ticks on some dogs. You can often easily see them on dogs with short hair, however that doesn’t mean you don’t need to check. They could have a tick in a hidden area. Dogs with very long or thick fur can be more difficult to check, you just have to be more thorough and it will take a bit more time. Run your hands over every area of your dog’s body to feel for lumps and bumps. Apply enough pressure so that you can feel anything unusual. Don’t forget to check places such as in between their paws, their ears and armpits as these are areas where a tick can easily be missed. If you find a tick pull their hair apart so that you can see it. Do not touch the tick without gloves on or you could put yourself at risk.
What do they look like?
Ticks can vary in size depending on how long they have been on your dog’s body. The longer they stay on the bigger they are because they have taken more blood. Some ticks can be as big as the size of a grape if they are left for long enough. Ticks will start off being a brown colour but as they drink more blood they turn grey. Many people mistake ticks for moles and skin tags as it is difficult to see the actual insect.
If possible keep your dog’s coat short during tick season
If possible keep your dog’s coat short during tick season. If you have a dog that has their hair cut or trimmed regularly you might want to consider having their hair cut shorter when ticks are about. This makes it easier for you to spot and check them for ticks.
How To Recognise And Remove Ticks
Ticks are a nasty parasite that can cause a lot of problems in dogs. They usually pick them up when they are out and about on dog walks, particularly in places with long grass or dense forest. Ticks are nasty parasites who look for a host to feed from, and can pass diseases from one host (animal) to another. Ticks latch onto your dog’s coat as they run by, and then embed themselves in their skin. They can cause Lyme disease, some common symptoms include lameness, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite, fever and swelling in the joints. If your dog starts showing any of these symptoms, take them to a vet immediately.
In order to prevent your dog getting Lyme disease or any infections as a result of ticks, they need to be identified and removed as soon as possible. If left, they feed off your dog’s blood and pass diseases. During tick season try not to walk your dog in areas with dense grass and stick to the paths. Tick season is usually around springtime, but dogs can get ticks at any time in the year. Dog owners need to learn how to recognise and remove ticks. One of the best things you can do is check your dog after every single dog walk. That way ticks won’t go unnoticed for days without being removed. When you get back from a dog walk feel every part of your dog’s body and look to see if you can spot any ticks. Check underneath their fur and in hard to reach areas such as their armpits and ears. You can also buy products that prevent ticks, click here to view all our flea and tick treatments for dogs.
Ticks are small, brown creatures that look a bit like tiny spiders, because they also have eight legs. If the tick has been on your dog’s skin for a while and feeding on its blood, it will look a bit like a mole or a small growth sticking out of their skin. Their body will be embedded in your dog’s skin. There are lots of websites that give lots of different techniques to remove ticks. However, a lot of them won’t work properly and could cause more problems for your dog. You have to remove ticks with a special tick remover, which you hook around the tick and twist. You need to make sure you get the whole body out, and don’t leave any part of the tick stuck in your dog’s skin. If you are unsure how to remove a tick properly, take your dog to the vet to get it removed as soon as possible. Here is a little information about ticks from the Kennel Club.
7 Things To Remember This Tick Season
The warm weather has not only encouraged you and little Fido to explore the great outdoors, it has also encouraged a nation of pesky ticks to invade your innocent walkies. Alas, tick season is upon us, these tiny critters are almighty villains but these tips can easily save the day:
No, we don’t mean going full tux for a summers evening walk (unless you want to) but the more clothes, the merrier. So, break out those long sleeves and knee-high socks for both you and Frodo, make a fashion statement and stay safe! Just be sure to give any ticks that attach to your clothes the finger, and flick them away – preferably directed away from Fido.
If you are in tick-infested area or you just want to be cautious to ensure your dog’s safety, there are medicines to prevent ticks. You can find a whole host of products to prevent ticks, such as special collars, tablets, and spot-on treatments, but it’s always best to talk to a vet about this and read the instructions. Please remember that the medicine may repel ticks but it is not a cure.
Be aware of your surroundings
Ticks, as overwhelming as they are, do not live in everywhere. Although leaving the house between Spring and Autumn will heighten the risk of being bitten by a tick, the level of risk will vary by area. Areas with a lot of grass or woodland tend to be hot spots and a firm favorite for the critters, the more wildlife there is, the greater the risk – simple maths!
Avoid the pretty foliage
As much as you may want to stop and sniff the flowers or pick a juicy berry, doing so in tick season be dangerous. Ticks are unable to leap or jump, rather they just like to chill on long blades of grass and in the bushes. So, be sure to check yourself and little Frodo if you do tumble in the weeds.
It is good practice to check your dog after each walk, run your fingers through their fur and give their paws a good checking over. If possible, brush your dog or go through their fur with a fine comb. Try and spot those disgusting critters before they properly latch on.
This is your time to be a superhero and defeat the enemy, acting fast can prevent disease and save you and Frodo from years of pain. Remember to stay calm and twist the tick with a, got that? do the trick (or tick!) every time. Although it is tempting, do not squeeze the tick or pull so hard that its legs get stuck in the skin, as this is how the disease is spread. The final rule is to give the area a good scrub and sanitize, cleanliness is key.
Know the signs
A rash, fatigue, muscle, and joint pain are all symptoms of Lyme disease which is extremely dangerous. If it has been two weeks since a tick nibbled Fido and he develops a swollen tummy, sensitive gums and is just not himself, this may be babesiosis and although rare, it can be fatal. If you or your dog start to feel ill after a tick bite, don’t hesitate, go and get checked. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t let the fear of the dreaded ticks ruin your fun this season.