Ticks are one of the most common non-internal parasites your dog may ever have to deal with. While the likes of intestinal worms infest the digestive system, ticks house themselves on the surface of your dog. And its not just ticks: fleas are another common problem for pest owners
Ticks tend to plant themselves in your dogs’ fur and attach directly into the skin. From here, they are able to draw blood from your dog. The majority of bloodsucking insects that bite either you or your dog tend to leave after feeding. However, ticks tend to remain attached to the skin, making them particularly annoying and irritating for your pup.
The constant presence of ticks is why it’s important to regularly check your dog for them, removing any that find and taking measures to prevent a tick infestation again.
What Are Ticks?
Ticks are actually parasitic arachnids. They are around three to five millimeters in length, depending on the age and gender of the tick, and they infest both humans and animals. Despite typically remaining attached after drawing blood, it’s not uncommon for ticks to travel between humans and dogs.
When attached to a dog, a tick looks like a small brownish lump. The longer the tick feeds, the larger that lump grows. At its largest, a tick can be about the size of a marble, at which point it turns a blueish color. If that tick feeds for more than 10 days, it’s possible that it falls off you or your pet.
Ticks can be found naturally in areas with a lot of shrubberies. They tend to prefer grass, trees, shrubs, and piles of leaves.
While regular tick bites are asymptomatic and harmless, the parasite is capable of carrying diseases with it that can prove fatal, particularly in dogs.
Ticks prefer areas with warmth and moisture. On humans, this constitutes your hair, groin, and armpits. As dogs are covered with fur, that means ticks are a lot harder to locate as they can be found all over your pet’s body.
What Do Ticks Look Like on Dogs?
A tick on a dog looks the same as it does on a human. It’s a small brownish bump that is attached to your dog’s skin.
The easiest way to identify ticks on your dog, especially on breeds with a lot of fur, is to check for them every time you come back from a walk. Brush through your pup’s hair while checking the skin for any noticeable obtrusions. They can look like coffee beans, which makes them no too difficult to notice.
While your main concern with tick bites should be the possibility of diseases that the parasite is carrying, it can also cause loss of hair, irritation, and itching of the skin for both you and your pet.
How to Remove Ticks on Dogs
Prevention is the best type of treatment for ticks with your dog. There are a number of things you can do to prevent a tick infestation on your pet in the first place, including:
- Not letting your dog roam around grassland and forest areas freely.
This is an extreme type of prevention. Dogs, particularly hunters like Jack Russels, love areas with plenty of room to explore. Not letting your pet have their fun to prevent ticks isn’t ideal, especially because there are other, more effective preventative measures available. However, it’s still an option you have at your disposal.
- Keep your grass well maintained.
If you let your dog roam around your front or back garden, make sure you don’t let your grass and shrubbery run wild. This kind of environment attracts ticks naturally, making it more likely that your pet ends up infected.
- Remove leaf piles.
This is a particularly important preventative measure around Fall. When the leaves start falling from the trees, it can be tempting to rake them and leave them in piles before you bag and dispose of them. If you can avoid doing that, then you should. Leaf piles, like grass and shrubbery, are attractive to ticks because of the warmth and shelter.
- Use a flea and lock collar.
Arguably the best method of tick prevention is to use a flea and tick collar. This allows your dog to roam freely while staying protected without you needing to do extensive yard work. However, the effectiveness of these colors can vary, so make sure you consult your local vet before you invest in one.
All of these methods are used to prevent ticks in the first place. In a best-case scenario, that works. However, your pet still might end up infested even if you follow every single tip. In that case, you’re going to have to manually remove ticks from their skin.
- Spread as much of your dog’s fur around the tick as possible. You’re going to have to grip the tick, so you want to get as close to the skin as you possibly can.
- Use a fine-pointed tweezers to grasp the head of the tweezers. Again, get as close to the skin of your dog as possible.
- Pull firmly with a steady upwards motion to remove the tick from the skin.
- Once you dispose of the tick, apply iodine or rubbing alcohol to the wound so that you can prevent infection.
How to Get Rid of Ticks in Your Yard
Regardless of whether you have a dog or not, it’s good to keep your yard as tick-free as possible. We’ve already mentioned how to do this, which is by keeping it mowed, well maintained, and free of leave piles.
However, there are more extreme methods of getting rid of ticks in your yard. For both removal and preventative protection from ticks, you can use a variety of insecticide sprays available that are designed to kill ticks.
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