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Read This Right Now if Your Dog Has Ticks

Uptown Staff

Read This Right Now if Your Dog Has Ticks

Although tiny, ticks can be a serious threat to your dog’s health. They can make your dog chew and itch until they start to bleed, and they also carry a variety of dangerous diseases.

The best way to deal with ticks is to check your dog regularly, especially if they’ve been rolling in the grass. Once you find a tick, remove it slowly and carefully with tweezers.

Here, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about ticks, including how to spot them, how to remove them, and when you should head to the vet.

What Exactly Are Ticks?

Ticks are small parasites that bite your dog’s skin and don’t let go. They suck on their blood, using it to grow. After they’ve fed, they drop off to lay eggs.

Since they need hosts to stay alive, ticks will hide in areas where they can easily latch onto other animals. They like to cling to tall grass or plants, waiting for your dog to run by.

Why Ticks Can Be Dangerous

Ticks can irritate your dog’s skin, causing them to itch and scratch until they bleed. But the danger doesn’t stop there.

Many ticks carry diseases that can be passed on to dogs, including Lyme disease and Babesiosis. Lyme disease can cause a fever, as well as changes of appetite and inflammation throughout the body.

If you notice any of the symptoms of Lyme disease, take your dog to the vet right away to get them checked out. The vet will usually prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria that are causing the disease.

Different Kinds Of Ticks

Not all ticks are the same, as species will vary depending on where you live. Different ticks carry different diseases, so you should know what types of ticks live in your area.

The most common type of ticks are deer ticks, which are usually found in forests and tall grass. These ticks are one of the main carriers of Lyme disease, and they can be found throughout much of the United States.

American Dog ticks are another common species. Unlike deer ticks, they usually make their home in fields and shorter grass. They can carry diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia, both of which can be fatal.

There are dozens of common tick species throughout the United States, many of which carry different diseases. Speak to your vet about the ticks in your area, as well as the diseases that they carry.

Spotting Ticks On Dogs

Ticks will grab on just about anywhere they can find. But they need warmth and moisture to survive, so they often choose areas on a dog’s body that give them the right conditions.

Ticks will often stick to a dog’s paws, especially if the dog is running through a field. They also like to grab on behind a dog’s ears, where they get plenty of moisture and warmth.

You should also check along your dog’s belly for ticks, as they latch on as your dog runs through grass. They often work their way beneath your dog’s legs, where they get plenty of shade, warmth, and moisture.

Ticks will be easier to spot and remove the earlier you see them. Over time, they lodge deeper into your dog’s skin, making them harder to see and pull off.

If you live in an area with a lot of ticks, check your dog regularly. Do it as soon as they get back inside, as you’ll be able to see the ticks easily and remove them without as much effort.

Can Ticks From Dogs Latch On To Humans?

Yes. Most common species of ticks will latch onto just about any large mammal they can find, humans included.

That’s why it’s important for your own health to check your dog. Ticks that latch onto your dog’s skin will feed for a while, and then drop off to lay eggs. Once these ticks hatch, they can find their way to you.

Many common tick diseases that affect dogs also infect humans, including Lyme disease.

How To Remove Ticks

Getting ticks off your dog’s skin can be difficult. The longer they latch on, the deeper they dig into the skin. They use their eight legs to borrow deep, and they hold on for dear life when you try to pull them off.

Once you’ve spotted a tick, don’t try to pull it off as quickly as possible. Tick removal can be tricky, and you can make things even worse if you get it wrong.

Before you remove the tick, clean off the area around the bite with a mild antiseptic, and rinse your tools with rubbing alcohol to make sure they’re clean.

You should also use tweezers that are right for the job. Flat, blunt tweezers can crush ticks before they’re completely removed from the skin, leading to infections.

Use tweezers with fine points, or invest in a tool that’s made specifically for removing ticks.

Remove Ticks Slowly

Once you’re ready to remove the tick, take your time. If you try to pull the tick off quickly, parts of the tick’s body could get stuck in your dog’s skin. This can cause irritation, and possibly cause an infection.

Instead of pulling directly back, twist slowly to remove the tick. This reduces the risk of the tick’s body breaking as you pull. This can take a few minutes, so be patient.

Once the tick has been removed, clean off the area with rubbing alcohol. Keep an eye on the area over the next few days and check for any skin irritation or infections.

Brush Their Fur

Once you’ve removed any ticks, brush the area carefully to clear out any debris or other body parts from the tick that may still be stuck to your dog’s skin.

Head To The Vet

In some cases, you may need to take your dog to the vet to have ticks removed. This is best if they have a large number of ticks, or if parts of the tick’s body get stuck in the skin as you try to remove it.

Preventing Ticks

Ticks are crafty little creatures, so it’s difficult to prevent them entirely. But there are a few steps you can take to keep ticks off your dog’s skin.

Anti-tick Shampoo

This is a great option if you live in an area with a lot of ticks. These shampoos have medication that kills ticks and fleas upon contact, preventing them from latching on to the skin.

There are a lot of anti-tick shampoos, so speak to the vet about which one is best for your dog.

Spot Treatments For Ticks

Spot treatments are one of the best ways to keep ticks away. Some of them are applied directly to your dog’s coat, whereas others are taken orally.

These medications are pretty strong, so you should speak to your vet to find the treatment that’s best suited for your dog.

Collars

Ticks like to burrow into the skin under the collar, since it’s warm, moist, and dark. Tick collars can help prevent this by releasing a tick killing chemical. This chemical keeps ticks from latching on to the skin, which can prevent disease transmission.

Although tick collars can be useful, some dogs have bad reactions to the chemicals. This can cause red, irritated skin, and it could make it painful for your dog to wear their collar.

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