Oh my goodness ticks! Such a horrible little thing to find on your beloved pooch! Ticks are ectoparasites (live on the outside of the host), and unfortunately live on the blood of mammals. They latch themselves onto your skin and feed away until they are full……then drop off and repeat the process again on another unsuspecting victim.
The main thing to know about ticks is that they MUST be removed safely and appropriately. Do NOT just rub it off, or scrape it away, you will likely leave a bit of it embedded under the skin! This, in turn, can lead to infections and other complications. You must remove it safely, this is vital.
A tick will latch itself onto any area of exposed skin, with dogs common areas may be around the face and neck, inside of the legs, tummy, and feet! Of course they can be anywhere on the body. Ticks will climb or just drop onto your dogs coat, very easy for them when your dog is brushing past where they are sitting. Unlike the other common critter to dogs, fleas, they don’t ‘jump’ onto your dog.
The best way to safely remove a tick is using a little gadget called a ‘tick twister’. Most vets do sell them, they have two little ‘hooks’ which you ‘hook’ around the tick, you can then twist the tick and safely remove it. If you’re unsure how to do this, just ask your veterinary nurse to show you, it’s very easy I promise! I really do suggest investing in one NOW, not waiting until you find a tick and then frantically rushing to buy a tick remover. They’re only small, and not expensive. It’s quite important to remove the tick as soon as you find it, the quicker it is removed, the less likely any disease transmission will occur. Remember ticks will happily sit on your dog for a good couple of days prior to dropping off! So you’ll want to remove it asap.
Remember, ticks like humid or damp environments, so if your dog is running through long grass daily or exploring woods regularly, always give your dog a check over after walks. Run your hands all over your dogs body to check for any lumps and bumps.
Although ticks are not anything to panic about and can be quickly removed, they are capable of transmitting diseases such as Lyme disease, symptoms of this may include lethargy, lameness, and loss of appetite. Another disease they can transmit it Babesiosis, this is extremely rare but still worth remembering, symptoms of this may include depression, pale gums and a swollen abdomen. If you are in ANY doubt at all, talk to your vet immediately.
There are treatments available to help prevent ticks from hitching a ride on your 4 legged friend, including spot-on treatments and tablets, be very careful to read instructions on these carefully and always consult your vet for advice on how and when to administer treatment.
Also, if you are in any way worried about removing a tick yourself, call your vet and ask a veterinary nurse to do it for you. You can’t put a price on peace of mind! Vets are more than happy to help you, it’s a common problem and something they will see regularly throughout the summer months. Ticks are most prevalent between spring – autumn, but they are active throughout the year. So be extra vigilant with checking your dog throughout these lovely summer months!
If you would like any more information about anything I’ve discussed, just send me an email and I’d be happy to help!
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