A tick is of the arachnid (spider) family, and it’s an insect that feeds off of blood. Their diet is both varied and complex; they feed on everything from plants to animals. Ticks not only carry Lyme disease, which can be debilitating and sometimes fatal to both humans and dogs, but they can also carry other diseases as well. Below is a guide on what you should do if your dog has ticks.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ticks?
It can be difficult sometimes to tell if your dog has ticks. Only 25 percent of Lyme disease cases show any symptom at all, so a lack of symptoms doesn’t mean your dog won’t have a tick-borne illness. There are many other diseases in addition to Lyme disease that may be passed along by a tick bite, so it’s important to keep an eye out for these symptoms: fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea or vomiting, fever, swollen lymph nodes and sores, muscle and joint aches.
Ticks also typically manifest in the following way: they may appear to be a bump with no real shape at all, or they may have the appearance of a blister with legs. Most ticks feed during the night when their pets are less active. However, there is one type of tick that feeds on humans during the day. It’s important to know what kind of tick you’re dealing with because depending on its behaviour and location on your pet, certain treatments will work better than others.
How To Remove The Ticks
It’s important not to try to pull the tick out with your bare hands because you risk squeezing its body, causing it to inject more saliva into the wound. Ticks are quite small, but there are several ways that can be used to remove them:
You can use tweezers if the tick isn’t too deep in your pet’s skin. Simply take hold of the tick as close to the head as possible and slowly pull it straight out. Another popular method is using a tick spoon, which looks like a pair of tweezers with teeth on one end designed specifically for this purpose. Once again, lift up close to where the tick’s head is located and pull straight away from the body. After you remove the tick, put some antiseptic on the wound to prevent any irritation or infection.
There are several types of tick medicine that can be purchased over-the-counter, which you apply directly to the tick before removing it with tweezers or a tick spoon. Tick medicine will typically numb the area around the tick so that its grip becomes loose enough for it to slide off your pet’s skin more easily. However, if this doesn’t work then there are other options available.
Flushing Ticks With A Water Solution
This method may not always be effective because ticks have tiny barbs on their feet which makes it almost impossible to remove them in this way. However, if you’re persistent and manage to get the tick out it will prevent the spread of disease by killing it first.
First mix a mild dishwashing soap with water then add some table salt. Next, fill up a glass with about two inches of this solution. Then place the glass over the tick and leave for at least ten minutes so that it becomes saturated in fluid or pops out on its own accord because its feet have become slippery. Once removed, put antiseptic on the wound to prevent any irritation or infection from setting in.
Using Petroleum Jelly To Remove Ticks
Take a small piece of cotton wool and soak it with petroleum jelly then apply directly onto where your dog is bitten. This will suffocate the tick and make it incapable of sucking your pet’s blood, causing it to fall off or release its grip of its own accord after a few hours. It isn’t advisable to use pure petroleum jelly because this may be too thick to absorb into the tick’s skin, but if you’re using your dog’s regular brand then it won’t do any harm.
Once the tick has been removed then put some antiseptic on the wound to prevent any irritation or infection from taking hold. If you do notice that your dog is infected with parasites through contracting Lyme disease, there are many different treatment options available so don’t hesitate to ask your vet for advice.
Use Natural Tick Repellent
If you want a more permanent solution for your dog’s protection against ticks, then there are several natural tick repellents that can be purchased from pet stores. Buying natural spray for ticks is a great solution. Often, these contain essential oils such as lemongrass or citronella, which have been proved to be very effective with other insects like mosquitoes too. Just make sure you follow the instructions on how to use them properly because if they aren’t applied correctly they won’t work as well as intended.
As well as protecting your dog with natural spray or medicine, make sure they always wear some kind of collar during their daily walk which will prevent any of these pests from getting close enough to latch onto their skin successfully. Your vet should also advise you of any alternative precautions that can be taken by using different forms of tick protection for dogs. Prevention tips include:
- Checking your outdoor shoes and clothes for any ticks before taking them indoors.
- Not allowing your dog to urinate in long grass, which can attract ticks easily.
- Regularly checking them over when they are playing outside on walks or in the garden for signs of ticks after being in areas where mosquitoes are present e.g. woodlands, fields with tall grass etc.
- Keep an eye out if you’re walking near bushes or shrubs because this is another common location where ticks tend to congregate close to the ground during warmer weather conditions when they seek new hosts that they can attach themselves to.
- Not allowing your dog to play outside in public parks where other people are walking their dogs too because this will increase the chances of them coming into contact with ticks during games of fetch.
- If you live near or inside woodlands with dense undergrowth, then be sure to avoid walking your dog there after 6 pm because ticks tend to favour this time during dusk and dawn when they can find new hosts easier with less disturbance from humans or pets.
As you can see, there are several natural and practical tips that you can follow to ensure the protection of your dog against pesky ticks which will prevent them from getting ill in the future. Remember that prevention is better than cure so it’s advisable to protect your dog adequately during warmer weather conditions when this kind of parasite tends to thrive most.