Don't let ticks take a bite out of your holiday adventures with your dog. Though they're found almost everywhere - in forest, fields and hiking trails - you can keep your dog safe with these home treatment and prevention tips.
How To Identify A Tick
Ticks before and after a blood feeding.Ticks are large enough for you to see, even before they swell up with blood. At its smallest, a tick is black and looks like a tiny spider. After it latches onto your dog and fills with blood, it may be yellowish, brownish or greyish.When you go for a walk in a wooded area, field, or area near other animals, particularly deer or sheep, you should check your dog for ticks before you go home. They tend to land on a dog's head, tail, base of the tail, neck and paws. You can use a flea comb to part long fur to check for ticks crawling around within the dog's coat.
When To See Your VetEvery time you see a tick on your dog, or suspect they have been bitten by one, you should visit your veterinarian. Even if you are able to completely remove the tick, it may have already transferred bacteria, viruses or parasites like Lyme disease and babesiosis. If you can, bring the tick's body to your veterinarian so they can test it for diseases if your dog does get sick.Some symptoms of tick-borne illnesses include, but are not limited to:
- Loss of appetite
- Lameness or paralysis
How To Remove A Tick
[caption id="attachment_2335" align="alignnone" width="500"]
Use a tick tweezer to remove the entire tick, including the head and mouthparts.Never burn a tick, squeeze it, drown it or dab it. Many common removal methods cause the tick to vomit up the blood they have sucked from the dog back into the dog's skin, which can increase their chances of transferring bacteria.It's best to use specialty tick tweezers to carefully remove the entire tick. Leaving in the head or mouthparts can lead to infection. Once the tick is removed, use a dog-safe antiseptic to clean the bite site. If you don't have antiseptic or if you're not sure if what you have is safe for your dog, call your veterinarian for advice.Once it is removed, kill the tick with rubbing alcohol and save it in a jar in case your veterinarian needs to test or identify it.