How Do I Know If My Dog Has Ticks?
what are dog ticks?
Ticks are a common parasite of dogs. In the United States, the main species of ticks that attack dogs are: the American Dog Tick, the Brown Dog Tick, the Deer Tick, and the Lonestar Tick. Ticks live in woodland and dense vegetation waiting for their host animal to get close enough. All tick species bury their heads though a dogs skin and feed on blood.
They are very small when they transfer to a dog. They really increase in size when they engorge themselves with blood and it is usually at this stage that you notice them.
Tick- borne diseases.
Ticks carry diseases which can affect your dog and, in some cases, you too. These diseases include: Lyme Disease, Anaplasmosis. Powassan Virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis and Ehrlichiosis.
Check the Center For Disease Control and Prevention for a more comprehensive list of tick-borne diseases.
Symptoms of Tick Infection in Dog
The symptoms of the tick bite itself are quite minor and can just be irritation and scratching.
Symptoms of tick-borne disease usually start mildly and gradually get worse. They can include fever, reduced energy, swollen lymph nodes and reduced appetite. It you find and remove a tick, you should keep a close eye on your dog for any unusual symptoms.
Checking Your Dog For Ticks
If you exercise you dog in an area of heavy vegetation or woodland, you should regularly check him for ticks. Although ticks are visible to the naked eye, they will be under the fur which makes them difficult to find. The best way is to carefully run your hand over your dog’s body. Ticks are often found under a dog’s collar, between the toes, in the armpits or inside the ears. If you feel any small bumps, gently part the hair and check the area thoroughly.
A common way of removing ticks is to grasp it with tweezers as closely as possible to the dog’s skin and pulling it out. Clean the affected area with disinfectant or rubbing alcohol.
Over the next few weeks check the area regularly. If you notice anything more than mild redness, take your dog to a vet.
Preventing Ticks on Dogs.
Keep your dog away from tick-infested areas.
Clean up tick-friendly areas in your yard. Ticks live in thick vegetation. They also use an intermediate host in their breeding cycle. This intermediate host is often a rodent. Clean up any areas that could attract rodents.
When you return from exercising your dog, check your dog for ticks. They may not have had time to bury their heads in to the skin and could still be on the fur. A fine tooth comb is an ideal way to find and remove them.
Give your dog a tick collar. Follow the directions on the pack for optimum effect.
Regularly wash your dog with anti-tick shampoo. You can use a branded product, but there are plenty of recipes for homemade shampoo.
Related Article: Homemade Dog Shampoo Recipes