Brown, eight-legged, egg-like little things crawl on your dog’s fur. No matter how hard your dog scratches, they’re still present. Upon removal, you notice some blood coming out of the tiny wound.
What are these creatures? How did they get to my dog?
The adjectives written above all refer to ticks – small parasites that live off our beloved dogs for their nutrition. Tiny as they can be, they’re dreaded because they carry along with them a myriad of deadly diseases.
Facts about ticks
One way for us to win against them is to learn about their characteristics. According to experts, these creatures:
- Love dark areas
- Can live practically almost anywhere – bushes, grassy areas, woodlands, even sandy beaches
- Most active during spring, summer, and fall – but are pretty much resilient as they can also survive the frosty winter.
- Gets nutrition by sucking blood from the host animal (dog, cat, even humans)
- Hosts a lot of deadly tick-borne diseases: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tick Paralysis, and Ehrlichiosis
Where to look for ticks
Check your dog regularly for any signs of tick infestation. As mentioned above, ticks like to live in dark and enclosed spots. The best places to check for ticks include:
- Inside portion of the ears
- In between toes and toe pads
- Under the tail
What to do when I spot a tick?
The best thing to do is to remove them immediately. However, there is a correct method for removing ticks.
Avoid quickly removing the tick as this leaves the head attached to the dog. Do not squeeze the tick’s body as well – this will eject blood back to the dog, increasing the chances of infection.
- Loosen the tick’s bite on your dog by dabbing an alcohol swab on it.
- Use tweezers to remove it, making sure there’s a firm grip on the head portion. Do not twist, give it a steady pull.
- Do not attempt to burn it while still attached to your dog. Do not even think about smearing petroleum jelly. It will do more harm than good.
- Kill the tick by drenching it in rubbing alcohol. Don’t attempt to squish it with your bare hands. Do not even try to flush a live tick in the toilet – this method does not guarantee its immediate death.
- Clean the wound bite with antiseptic. Smear some antibiotic ointment over the wound to prevent infection. You might notice some swelling, but it should go down after a short period.
- Wash your hands.
Now that you’ve removed the little pests, is there any way to prevent them from coming back? Do the following:
- Remove objects and clean areas where ticks love to hide.
- Cut the tall grass in your yard. Ticks love hiding among the tall grass. Limit your dog’s access to these areas to avoid giving the ticks the chance to latch on your dog.
- Make a quick visual inspection of your dog after a walk.
- Apply topical solution to your dog at least once a month for further prevention.
For further questions regarding tick infections, make it a habit to check with your veterinarian. He might recommend treatment and preventive measures like a vaccination against Lyme disease.