Living in a humid and warm country, our dogs (and us!) are always at risk in picking up a tick somewhere.
What are ticks?
The tick is a small arachnid. They are in the same family as spiders, scorpions and mites. They are disease-carrying, bloodsucking, ectoparasites (external parasites) and live by burying their heads beneath the skin, and sucking the blood of their host, most commonly mammals and birds.
Ticks may be found anywhere on your dog. They
especially favor the neck, in the armpits, in and
around the ears and between the toes.
How to check for ticks
Ticks may be found anywhere on your dog. They especially favor the neck, in the armpits, in and around the ears and between the toes. If you don’t find them early enough, what you will find is a blood engorged, leathery looking body, resembling a tan-grey lima bean.
The irony is, these parasites, carry their own minute parasites, that transmits through their bite and saliva, countless microscopic organisms. When they enter the bloodstream, those microscopic organisms are what make their hosts, including dogs and people, ill.
How to remove ticks
- Wear disposable latex gloves! Do not touch a tick if possible.
- Use a tweezers or hemostat (available at many pharmacies or online)
- Have ready, alcohol, or flea spray, cotton balls or swaps
- Carefully, feel around your dog for a “pimple”
- Clear the hair away
- When you see the tick, pinch its body near its head, as close to the mouthpart as possible, with the tweezers
- Pull ticks STRAIGHT out, slowly and firmly, in the opposite direction from the mouth
- Swab the area of the bite with alcohol, antiseptic soap, or 3% hydrogen peroxide
You may see a small pimple sized bump. If it doesn’t go away in a couple of days, let your vet look at it – you don’t want to have to deal with a secondary infection! If it’s inflamed, rub or spray an antibiotic ointment on it
- Dispose of the tick in a jar of alcohol or flea spray. Then, flush it down the toilet.
Don’t use the sink…they have been seen crawling back out!
NEVER attempt to remove a tick by swabbing it with alcohol or petroleum jelly, or touching it with a burnt match or nail. This will only “tick off the tick!” It could cause it to release more bacteria into the dog’s bloodstream.
Puppies, weak, and older dogs are most susceptible to serious health issues from ticks. If you are diligent about checking your dog and yourself, after excursions in the great outdoors during those lazy, hazy, days; you should be fine. If you live in a high-risk area, be extra vigilant.
What will we see in Tick Guide for Dogs (PART 2)?
Next week we will look at tick-borne diseases which can be caused by these little annoying parasites. There are many and they can be fast. So it can never harm to check your dog very regularly on ticks!
- Protect your dog from ticks; by Karen A. Soukiasian (in Dog’s Best Life online magazine)