IT'S TICK SEASON
You quickly run your hands along your dog’s head, back, and belly, and, finding no ticks, you think your job is done.
Actually, finding ticks on your dog is not so simple. These tiny bloodsuckers are good at playing hide-and-seek, particularly when their host is covered in thick, dark hair. Ticks can latch on to your furry friend and live in hiding, feasting on blood for several days at a time. Even dogs with flea and tick collars and other forms of protection can be targeted by these parasites.
Checking your dog carefully for ticks is extremely important since these parasites can make pets and humans seriously ill. Anaplasmosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick paralysis are just a few of the potential diseases caused by tick bites.
How Ticks Find Their Victims
Using heat sensors, ticks find a victim and typically latch onto the warmest places on the dog’s body. The head, neck and ears are prime places, but ticks can occur anywhere. Look and look again. You have to look everywhere. You can easily miss ticks.
You might be surprised by some of the places ticks have been found on dogs.
In the Groin Area
The groin probably isn’t the first place you would look for ticks on your pet. However, they can get attached in and around your dog’s bottom. You should check the perianal area. Ticks are drawn to dark, moist areas on the body. Also make sure to check your dog’s tail
Between the Toes
Ticks have nothing against your dog’s paws. Though it takes extra effort to latch on, a tick can become attached between the toes.
If you find one there, use hemostats or tweezers to remove it. Grasp the tick without crushing it and pull it straight out.
In and Around the Ears
At a veterinary hospital there was a very sick dog about to be euthanized. An extern who was working alongside a veterinarian reached out to comfort him and, as she scratched behind his ears, found a tick engorged with blood. The quantity of fecal material suggested the tick had been attached to the dog for some time, the hospital said.
The tick was removed. Thinking the dog could have tick paralysis, the veterinarian discussed the possibility with the dog’s owner and sent the dog home. Within hours, the dog was back on his feet, fully recovered and eager to go outside.
Unlike other tick-transmitted diseases, tick paralysis will go away without lasting health effects once the tick is removed. Check inside your dog’s ears, including the ear canal.
Under Clothes and Collars
If your dog wears a collar 24/7, it’s easy to forget to remove it during the tick inspection. Ticks can hide under your pet’s collar, harness or any article of clothing she’s wearing, .
Is it a skin tag or a tick on your dog’s eyelid? Sometimes, it’s hard to determine. Dogs can develop skin tags anywhere on their bodies, but they frequently appear near the eyelids, she says. You don’t want to rip off a skin tag. Make sure that black mass on the eyelid is actually not a tick.
Protecting Your Dog from Ticks
The AVMA recommends year-round tick control and regular screenings for dogs.
However, tick control is not simple or straightforward. What’s important to note about the above referenced case is the dog got seriously ill even though he wore a flea and tick collar around his neck. Not all collars are equally effective or capable of protecting your pet from any and all parasites.
You need to talk to you veterinarian and find a tick collar or treatment that’s good for ticks in your area. Your veterinarian sees hundreds of dogs every week. They know which medicines are working in your area. Before you go on a trip, find out about ticks native to the area you’re planning to visit with your dog.
Of course, your best friend can get bitten on her own turf. That’s why it is important to make the backyard inhospitable to parasites. Keep your yard mowed and the bushes trimmed back so they don’t encroach on your dog’s area. If you are out hiking with your dog be sure to do a thorough examination every time you return.
Checking and Double Checking Your Dog for Ticks
There’s no getting around it. Even if your dog is on flea and tick prevention you still need to check for ticks. Start with the tummy and, while rubbing it, check your pet’s paws and go up each leg. Check the head, look down the back, and inspect the head a second time.
Pet your dog all over. Have a good cuddle session.