What to do when I find a tick on my dog?
There’s nothing like taking your pup for a long, well-deserved walk in the woods, only to discover later that your dog has picked up a few unwelcome “friends” along the way. Ticks can transmit diseases, and unfortunately, both humans and canines are at risk.
The good news are that ticks are highly visible and easy to remove once you know how. Prevention is also available, so there are plenty of products that will stop them in their tracks before you even step outside.
What are ticks?
Ticks are arachnids, similar to scorpions, spiders and mites. They are commonly thought of as insects, but they are actually arachnids. All ticks have four pairs of legs as adults. Adult insects, by comparison, have three pairs of legs and one pair of antennae. Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of their host, which can be an animal or a human.
Ticks are efficient carriers of disease because they attach firmly when sucking blood, feed slowly and may go unnoticed for a considerable time while feeding. Ticks take several days to complete feeding.
How can we prevent ticks?
There are many different types of tick preventatives available in the market. Some require less effort on the part of the owner than others. Some products are available over the counter, while others are only available through your veterinarian. There are effective monthly preventatives that are typically applied to the skin at the back of the neck and represent a convenient method of control for these external parasites. You can also find medicated collars that help prevent it. Your veterinarian will make specific recommendations to keep your pet parasite free. Contact Clondalkin Animal Clinic if you have any questions and if you need assistance.
How to remove a tick if I find one in my dog?
I found a tick on my dog. What now? What do I do when I find a tick on my dog? Try to remove it. Here is how. Use blunt tweezers or disposable gloves to handle the tick. If you must use your fingers, shield them with a tissue or paper towel. Infectious agents may be contracted through mucous membranes or breaks in the skin simply by handling infected ticks. This is especially important for people who “de-tick” pets because ticks infesting dogs and other domestic animals can carry Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis or other diseases capable of infecting humans.
Grasp the tick as close to the skin surface as possible. This reduces the possibility of the head detaching from the body upon removal.
Pull the tick straight out with a steady, even pressure. Do not twist or jerk the tick as this may cause the mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin, increasing the chances of infection. Continue applying steady pressure even if the tick does not release immediately. It may take a minute or two of constant, slow pulling to cause the tick to release.
After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite area and wash your hands with soap and water. Home remedies such as applying petroleum jelly or grease, or touching the rear of the tick with a hot match do not work effectively and are not recommended. These techniques cause the tick to salivate and can actually increase the chance of getting a disease.