Ticks are parasitic insects that can attach themselves to the skin in order to feed from the animal’s blood. Besides their unpleasant presence, ticks can also transmit serious diseases like anaplasma, ehrlichia, as well as Lyme disease. Being able to recognize a tick and to remove it are very important, and protecting your dog against these parasites should be a routine part of your pet’s care. Follow these tips to keep ticks away from your dog.
Where do dog ticks come from?
Ticks emerge as soon temperatures climb above 4°C and prefer cool, humid climates. They can be found in areas with tall grasses, overgrown brush, and hedges. Horses and dogs are particularly attractive targets. Ticks are not transmitted directly from pet to pet, but since they do fall to the ground after 2 or 3 days on the skin, ticks can then move on to the next victim.
What does a tick look like?
Ticks look like small spiders, and their body changes as they feed: they get bigger as their body fills with a blood-meal. Their overall size can therefore vary greatly. Generally speaking, ticks like to attach themselves near or inside the pet’s ears, along the dog’s neck, and between the toes, but they may be found anywhere on the body.
How to get rid of ticks?
It is preferable to treat your pet from head to tail if ticks are common in your area. A few different products are available: vials of liquid that are applied directly to the skin, or oral chews, both safe and effective ways to protect your dog. If these products are not enough, or if you wish to remove the tick even faster, a tick-removal hook is a quick and easy-to-use tool. These hooks are ideal to remove the entire body of the tick, including its head. When attempting to remove a tick using only your fingers, the tick’s head will likely remain attached to the skin, leading to infection. A tick-removal hook would be a better choice.
What else can you do to protect your dog from ticks?
If you have a garden, keep the lawn mowed in order to prevent the installation of ticks onto the property. Keep hedges trimmed and remove any debris or leftover construction material that could make attractive habitats for ticks.
After walks or hikes in areas with tall grasses, inspect your dog’s skin for the presence of ticks, especially when the weather is crisp and humid. Check your dog’s fur that first night, and repeat again the next day, paying particular attention to those areas preferred by ticks (ears, neck, and between toes). Administer a tick-prevention product to your dog once each month.
Don’t let ticks bother your pet. If you have any concerns regarding your dog after having found a tick, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.