Attack of the tick
Ticks are nasty eight-legged parasites that attach themselves to the skin of their host and than feed on its blood. Many ticks also produce a sticky, gluelike substance that helps them to remain attached. They can spread number of different diseases that affect both pets and people. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, tularemia, anaplasmosis and babesia, so it is crucial you take preventative measures to protect your dog (and also yourself).
Attack of the tick - Precautions
All of these tick borne diseases are dangerous and for some it takes months for first symptoms to show, so make sure that if you only suspect that your dog might be infected, thoroughly check your dog’s body. While examining your dog, pay special attention on place between its toes, inside the groin area, under the front legs, in and around ears, on the eyelids, under the collar – basically any warm, dark place where there is less fur and it is moist – those are the places ticks love. Also – never postpone taking your dog to the vet.
As for preventative measures, you can use tick collars, tick shampoos, tick sprays, oral medications... all these can help either repel dog ticks, or kill them if they attach themselves to your dog. But keep in mind that the effect of these products usually lasts for about 30 days so you need to treat your dog with these monthly, because even one missed dose of monthly tick control can put your dog at greater risk of contracting a tick borne disease.
Attack of the tick - symptoms
Some of the symptoms that your dog has been bitten by a tick are a mild or high-grade fever following by weakness, loss of appetite, shivering, panting. Also, if you catch your dog excessively licking or biting some part of its body and/or you find scabs on your dog’s body, examine it for ticks. If your dog starts shaking its head constantly, there may be a tick burrowed in its ear canal. If you feel a bump on your dog while petting him you should immediately take a closer look of that part of your dog’s body. If that bump is in fact a tick sucking on your dog’s blood, you should act quickly and immediately remove it. Rapid removal lessens the risk of diseases! For removal you should use tweezers (don't you ever try to remove a tick with your fingers). When removing a tick, you should place the tweezers as close to tick’s hooked head and pull upwards, adding pressure until the tick lets you pull it away from the skin. Don't squish a tick because when their body is pressed, they force infected bodily fluids through their mouth, which can increase the risk of infection for your dog. Also, don't try to kill the tick with substances like nail polish or vaseline because those can make the tick suffocate and then it will reflexively vomit into your dog, which also increases the risk of getting an infection.
After removing the tick, clean the bite area, clean your hands and make sure that you kill the tick before you let it go (it is best to flush it down the toilet).
Tips for ticks
TIP: If you are suspecting that your dog may have contracted tick disease, save the tick you removed in alcohol and take it for testing.
TIP: If you have a long-haired or double-coated dog, use a hair dryer to check for ticks. As you move the dryer over your dog, the hairs will part and you will be able to see the skin and see whether there are any ticks on your dog’s body.
World Dog Finder team