If you’re looking for tick removal for dogs, this means you’re already aware of the dangers your pet faces because of exposure to these dog ticks. Some ticks are carriers of diseases, such as lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or dangerous bacteria or paralyzing neurotoxins or just simple blood sucking parasites that could cause anemia.
If you care about your canine friend, then you should be sure to get rid of ticks as soon as possible. This article should help you to know if you’re pets have ticks, know the signs of tick attachment, know how to find them and how they can be removed the safest possible way. There’s also a brief section on how to prevent future tick problems.
Exposure to Ticks
The first step to knowing if you need tick removal for your dog is to know where ticks are usually found. This is so that you can understand the level of exposure your pet has to where these parasites lurk awaiting their next host.
Ticks can usually be found in warm areas with high humidity, this can be outdoors in areas with grass or foliage or forested areas. Similarly, some ticks can be found inside dog kennels and dog houses where they are sheltered from direct sunlight but are still kept warm. This means that if your dog likes to run outdoors or lives outside your house, it would be prudent to regularly check for ticks. Also, ticks and other parasites can also be found inside the house, in the darker areas where the sun doesn’t shine too often.
Now just because you’ve kept a clean household and prevented your dog from running outdoors, it doesn’t necessarily mean your dog won’t get ticks, other animals they come in contact with can carry ticks which could fall off and eventually attach themselves to your pet so choose their companions wisely.
Symptoms of Your Pet Having Ticks
Knowing the signs that your pet has tick could help you immediately remedy the situation so be sure to keep an eye out for them. Some disease carrying ticks can cause fever, lethargy, lameness and anemia as well as the loss of appetite for your pet.
The more serious tick issues involve paralysis, if you notice your dog limping due to difficulty moving his or her hind legs in the morning and you notice increased difficulty of movement for the other parts in the afternoon, then it may have a paralysis tick attached to them.
Finding Ticks on Your Pet
To find the ticks on a dog, it is best to use your hands and if you do, I’d suggest putting on latex gloves because of the bacteria which some ticks can carry plus, you really don’t know where these ticks have been.
Slowly and carefully run your hands over the body of your dog to feel for bumps, lumps or unusual protrusions. Tick sizes can differ greatly from tiny as a pencil tip to about half the size of a dime when engorged or fully fed.
When doing this hands-on check, be sure to check the top of the head, the back of the neck, inside the ears, below the mouth or chin area, and between the toes and the folds of the skin. These are the places the ticks prefer to attach themselves to because your pet cannot reach them easily by biting or scratching.
Try to do regular check on your pets just to be safe, ticks have been known to take 12-24 to transfer bacteria to your pets and the sooner you find them the sooner you can get them out. Plus, I’m sure your pet would certain enjoy the touch time you give them.
Things Not to Do When Removing Ticks
Let us start with the don’ts before we go to the do’s in tick removal. First and foremost, don’t try to burn the offending parasite off with a cigarette, lighter, match or any hot object. This will not work and would most likely force the tick to bite down harder or regurgitate its contents faster.
Similarly, the application of petroleum jelly, oil, and alcohol or alcohol based liquids on the tick will not really remove the tick but may rather irritate that area of your dog’s skin. Alcohol may be effective after the tick has been removed.
One effective way to remove a tick from your dog is with the use of tweezers wherein you place the griping edges of the tools as close to the head of the tick as possible. Lightly grip the head then ever so slowly, and I mean SLOWLY and CAREFULLY, pull the tick out.
When using tweezers, be sure not to squeeze the body or your risk popping it and forcing the fluids inside the tick to be released into your pet. There are times where the head may remain embedded in the skin, when this happens be sure to pull it out gently and not leave any traces of the head if possible to avoid infection.
Another method is to use specialized tick removal tools which can easily grasp, twist and remove the parasite without much fuss or hassle. There are a number of these available in the market or at local pet shops and veterinarian clinics. Some examples include: Tick Off, Tick key, Tick Nipper, Tick Lasso.
Once the tick has been removed, be sure to disinfect the area with alcohol or another disinfectant. Chances are there will be bleeding because of the tick’s mouthparts are barbed, to ensure they get a firm grip on their host. Also, once detached don’t just flush it down the toilet, this won’t kill it and I don’t think you’d want to squash the little bugger with your finger or any household tool either. Instead find a small container, place just enough alcohol to fill half of it with alcohol and drop the tick inside and seal it. This not only kills the tick but it also leaves it available to be shown to the vet in case your pet begins to manifest symptoms of sickness.
Remember that if your dog starts showing symptoms of paralysis or fever you should head to the vet straight away for the appropriate treatment.
Prevention Over Cure
Remember that prevention is better than cure in most cases and especially when it comes to these parasites. Be sure to check where your dogs run or walk. Especially outdoors, and keep your home and their sleeping areas clean. You may also wish to consider using commercially available tick collars and Frontline anti tick drops.
Remember that ticks are a menace to your pet’s health and some types can also just as easily transfer to humans so these tips aren’t just for caring for your pet but for taking care of yourself and your family as well.