Ticks! The horrible little suckers that some people have nightmares over. They can be very dangerous to dogs, other animals and even humans, which is why tick prevention for our dogs is a must. I’ve been on many walks in fields, and long grass and have panicked swiping away insects off my legs. The thought of a tick climbing up my leg looking for a bite to eat gives me the shivers.
These small bloodsuckers are something to avoid as they latch onto our furry friends, dive deep underneath the fur and start their bloody feast. I’ll be sharing with you the knowledge you need to prevent and get rid of these unwanted irritants.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are arachnids, a classification that includes spiders. They have been around for millions of years and are very much here to stay. Ticks are external parasites they live by feeding on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes amphibians.
Ticks are commonly found in fields/grassland and woodland. Typically, more active in summer and autumn but are a risk all year round. Most tick bites do not transmit harmful microbes. Ticks can pick up diseases from one animal then pass it to the next, making them potentially very dangerous to us and our dogs.
They can transmit very dangerous diseases like Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Some of these diseases can be
transmitted to your dog within hours of their bite. To keep your dog safe check them regularly and apply prevention methods.
What Do They Look Like?
Typically, they are 3 – 5mm in length and have pear-shaped bodies. The bodies expand with blood as they feed. They have eight legs and do vary in shape and color. Ticks often lurk at the top of long blades of grass waiting for a host to pass.
Common Areas For Ticks The Hide
The best time to check if your dog has got an unwanted companion is after a walk. To check, stroke your dog slowly over their body, feeling for any bumps. There are particular spots you should check more carefully these being:
- Neck, underneath collar
- Ears, inside ears
- Paws, in between toes
There has been a couple of times this summer when my working cocker spaniel (Lilly) has come back to me for a treat, and I’ve seen multiple ticks crawling on her head! A horrible thing to see but better to deal with when they haven’t embedded themselves. I managed to flick them off.
There is no harm in a quick check while on the walk, especially if your dog likes to investigate off paths regularly.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Ticks?
It’s a good idea to prevent ticks from your dog before they embed themselves on our beloved furry friend. They can be a pain toremove, there are many different methods and products you can use.
Easy to get hold of and very useful. Apply a small bottle to the back of your dog’s neck. The directions and weight may vary so, please read the package properly before applying. They can last up to a month per bottle. Some side effects can come with this treatment, if you are worried, ask your vet for more information and the best method you should choose.
Much like spot-on treatments, they are effective at disrupting the life cycle of ticks and sometimes fleas depending on the brand. They last for up to a month, and my dog eats them like a treat.
Shampoos don’t have the long-lasting effect of oral and spot-on treatments. The majority of shampoos will kill ticks on contact. You will need to repeat every 2 weeks. Mostly used for a dog that is already afflicted with ticks.
They generally are only helpful to protect the head and neck and need to come into direct contact with the dog’s skin to transfer the necessary chemicals. Some claim to last up to 8 months, but if your dog enjoys swimming, it can decrease the effectiveness period. Do not let your dog chew this and allow enough room for you to fit two fingers when it’s around the neck.
They kill ticks quickly, be careful around eyes and ears when applying. Length of protection varies, so read the label and spray outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
It can be messy to apply, be sure to read the label as they can be for dogs of a certain age. Also, do not use if your dog suffers from breathing difficulties.
Keep Your Gardens Trimmed
It’s best to keep your bushes and your lawns regularly cut to lower the areas where ticks can flourish. There are sprays and treatments that you can buy for your garden but be careful because they can cause harm to your dogs.
Crap I’ve Found One, What Should I Do?
Don’t panic, if this is the first tick you’ve ever found it’s likely not to be your last. As you know ticks can carry nasty diseases, so it’s important not to squeeze the tick’s body or leave the head in. Squeezing the tick’s body can push the blood back into your dog, which will increase the chance of them getting a disease. The same goes for leaving the ticks head in.
Buy a tick removal tool, these are readily available online or at most pet shops. Try to stay calm to keep your dog calm and still.
Clear the fur as much as you can with one hand or have someone to help you. The best way I’ve found is by sliding the tool underneath the body of the tick. Twisting then pulling upwards.
If you are at all uncertain or overwhelmed, contact your vet and ask for further instructions. Your vet will be able to show you how a professional removes ticks and the best place for you to learn the correct technique. Do not try to burn or suffocate the tick; this will not stop the possibility of your dog getting a disease.
Bloody Ticks, Let’s Fight Them Together
I hope you’ve found this information disgusting but helpful! Check your dogs regularly and keep up to date with whatever prevention method you have chosen. Remember ticks can latch themselves onto us as well! Be aware when you’re wearing shorts or a dress. Let me know what prevention method you use, particularly if I haven’t mentioned it. I would love to know your thoughts in the comments.