As a dog owner, you care for your pup a lot, maybe more than you care for yourself. You want to keep them healthy, happy, and loving life like the little bundles of joy they are. Because of this, you are likely to do everything you can to make sure nothing bad happens to them, but what if the bad thing is hard to see and great at hiding?
During the summer, ticks are bad news for dogs (and cats who enjoy the outdoors) and can easily sneak by your watchful eye. Ticks are parasites that carry and can transfer diseases to your pet and even yourself. Knowing how to handle ticks, how to find them, and how to remove them can help you keep your dog safe and healthy!
At Hillsdale Animal Hospital, we take tick prevention very seriously. While we offer parasite control to help you protect your dog or cat from ticks and their sometimes deadly disease, but this does not mean you shouldn’t check your pup for ticks. Ticks are sneaky little devils that can hide on your dog’s body without you even knowing. While you may not know a lot about ticks, you should know that any and every dog can get them and because of this, you need to know how to rid your pup of them!
In this blog, we are going to give you tick hunting tips! Be sure to check your furry baby regularly and yourself while you are at it. Read on to learn more.
Places to Check
Ticks love attaching to the warmest spot they can find on your dog’s body. They can often be found in the ears, between toes, on the belly, on legs, and on the head, but really, they can be anywhere. This means that checking your dog all over, regularly is important. As unpleasant as it may be, ticks may even find their new home on your dog’s bottom and tail.
While checking the back, belly, head, and legs seems like a quick sweep and a job well done, there are many other places you must check and not forget about!
While this may be a more difficult spot for ticks to attach, they can make their way in between the toes where they will attach and start sucking blood. Check your dog’s feet regularly and search in between the toes. They can even attach themselves to the bottom of your dog’s feet, near the pad. If you notice your dog constantly licking and chewing on their foot, it means that something is bothering them, which could, in fact, be a tick.
Your dog’s ears are full of crevices and fur, making them the perfect hiding place for a bloodthirsty pest. Like the toes, your dog is likely to show signs that something is in their ears or on their face. If you notice them shaking their head or scratching their ear more than usual, it is likely that something is up. Be sure to check deep inside their ears, you never know how deep a tick will go in order to stay hidden.
Yes, ticks will even be hiding in plain sight, like around the eyelids. An article from American Kennel Club mentions that ticks in this area can often go unnoticed because owners mistake them for skin tags or eye goop. Share a beautiful moment with your dog and stare into their eyes as you check to make sure those skin tags and eye goops are not actually ticks in disguise.
Many dogs wear their collar 24/7. This makes it easy to forget to check under the collar thoroughly. Take your dogs collar off and search for any ticks carefully. Checking the collar itself could also prevent a tick from attaching to your pup.
While this may not be the first place you want to look or think to look, it is important that you do check your dog’s groin area and the bottom as well. Ticks like dark and moist areas, which your dog’s groin and bottom are, making these important areas to check. You will also want to check at the base of the tail. Using a fine tooth comb to brush around the base can help remove any ticks that have not yet attached to your pooch. Not checking these regions could allow ticks to hang out for a long time before finally being found.
These are some of the main areas on your dog that you will want to be sure to check. Some people simply check the belly and legs and call it good to go, but there are many other areas on your dog that are a tick’s favorite hiding spots. Be sure to check your dog thoroughly for ticks, and do it regularly, not just one a summer. But what are you supposed to do when you find a tick? Leave it there and simply feel relieved that you are now aware of this tick? No! Now, we are going to go over ways to remove ticks when you do find them.
How to Remove Ticks
You will want to remove ticks as soon as possible, which is why it is important to check your dog for ticks regularly. If you find a tick and can remove it within 24 to 36 hours, you may help save your dog from diseases transferred by the tick. Read on for some tips for removing ticks from your precious pup.
What Not to Do
First, let’s start with what to avoid when removing ticks. While there are many methods that you have probably heard about, they are not the best options. One popular method of removing tick involves holding a recently lit and still hot match to the butt of the tick. While this method may work from time to time, it can actually be worse than other methods. Burning a tick can cause it to vomit, which may release more infection into your dog. Other methods that you should not try include using your fingers, use Vaseline, nail polish, or other repellents. These methods may also cause the tick to vomit, which could do more harm than good. You also should never squish or crush the tick, since this may send their infected body fluids into your dog. Now that you know what not to do, let’s take a look at one of the best ways to remove a tick from your pup.
An article from Dogs Naturally does a great job of outlining the step by step instructions on removing a tick. Once you locate a tick, get tweezers and follow the next steps to remove it.
- Part your dog’s fur around the tick
- Place the tweezers around the tick as close to the skin as possible
- Gently pull upwards on the tick and continue added pressure until the tick let’s go and allows you to pull it off
- Be sure not to jerk or twist the tick
After the tick is removed be sure to clean the area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water. Wash your hands thoroughly and clean your tweezers. To get rid of the tick, flush it down the toilet or kill it with alcohol. This article also mentions that you can save the tick in alcohol for testing if you think that your dog may be infected with a disease.
Another good way to remove ticks is to use a tick removal gadget. There are many different gadgets on the market that make removing ticks easy and quick. Some of them will even make sure to remove the head as well as the body. Be sure to clean the area where the tick was removed, the tool you used, and your hand thoroughly after removing the tick.
If the head is left in your dog, leave it. Don’t start digging around to try and pick it out, this may result in a skin infection. Leaving the head in your dog is not a bad thing. This article explains that it is like a splinter. Your dog’s body will naturally push it out eventually.
Finding ticks on your dog can be scary when you do not know what to do. But now you are hopefully better informed and ready to take on these little monsters! Remember, ticks may attach to your dog even if you use preventative methods. If you often walk your dog through woodland areas or tall grass, you will want to check them for tasks regularly and remove them promptly.
At Hillsdale Animal Hospital, we know that you will do just about anything for your pup. We can help you with tick prevention methods but you will still need to check your dog yourself. Feel free to ask us to check your dog during your next wellness visit! We will be happy to show you how it is done, how to find ticks, and how to remove them. Contact us today to schedule your furry friend’s next appointment or to learn more about our vet clinic.