Everyone who has ever had a dog will know that ticks are not something you want them to pick up. After taking your canine friend for a walk it is always a good idea to check them over thoroughly for ticks. These tiny creatures are very good at hiding on your pet and there are certain areas that they particularly like to cling to. Knowing what to do when you find one on your beloved pet is part of responsible dog ownership and forewarned is forearmed.
For those who don’t know, ticks are very small parasites that need a host to feed from. Dogs are particularly at risk of an infected tick hitching a ride and once a dog is infected, they can easily spread infectious disease to other pets and yourself.
Before being fed, ticks are often flat, small and oval, but can swell to the size of a coffee bean when they have latched onto a host and been feeding off their blood.
They are often found frequenting meadows, fields and on moorland so it is particularly important to examine your dog after visiting these likely places. When walking in a known tick area, shorts should be avoided and the use of insect repellents encouraged.
Once you have finished walking your dog it is always best to check that they haven’t picked up a hitchhiker along the way.
Firstly a simple check is to move your hands all over their body to investigate any abnormal small lumps and bumps. There are several areas which they like to cling to more often, such as ears, head, neck, groin, armpits and feet.
The most important thing to do is NOT to panic and don't try to pull the tick out immediately. Ticks have to be removed very slowly, otherwise mouth parts embedded in the skin can be left behind and it is very painful for the dog, leading to inflammation and infection. They should also be removed within 24 to 36 hours ideally.
Ticks can regurgitate their meal back into their host if they are stressed so carefully using tweezers can help this to be avoided.
The best way to remove a tick is to part the dog’s hair using only your fingers. Getting as close as possible to the skin and without twisting or jerking, gently pull upwards with a small amount of pressure to encourage the tick to part from the skin. Once the tick has been removed safely, it is important to clean the area with soap and water or rubbing alcohol and dispose of the tick down the toilet or kill it using alcohol.
So remember that when walking your dog it is better to take precautions in advance and don't forget to do some tick checking when you get back. This will help to ensure that you and your dog remain safe and healthy, especially during the most active tick seasons which are late March until October, remembering that woodland is also the ideal habitat for ticks to thrive.
Visit our website for a full range of tick deterrents and treatments that can help you to eliminate the pest easily and safely.