How to Spot and Get Rid of Ticks on Dogs
It’s crucial for you to check your dog for ticks periodically and remove them quickly. Learn how to spot and get rid of ticks on dogs safely here.
Are you worried that your dog might have ticks, but aren’t sure?
Even if you don’t live in a wooded area, it’s still possible that your dog has ticks. But, how can you be sure? And, if your dog does have ticks, what can you do to take care of the problem?
Check out this guide to discover how to spot ticks on dogs and get rid of them safely.
What is a Tick?
Before we dive into how to spot and remove ticks, let’s first talk about what a tick exactly is. Ticks are small, parasitic creatures that survive on the blood of their host animals.
There are over 850 different species of ticks, and many ticks look like small spiders. Depending on the geographic location, a tick may carry diseases, with the most common being Lyme disease.
Many tick species are the most prevalent during summer months, as this is when the eggs hatch into larva.
Ticks on Dogs: Signs You Dog Has Ticks
So, how can you tell if your dog has ticks? Here are the top signs to watch out for:
1. You Find a Tick in Your Home
If you find a tick anywhere in your home, then there’s a good chance that your dog was the one to bring it into the house.
Don’t brush off a single tick finding as a one-off incident. Instead, take the time to inspect your dog for ticks.
In order to feed off their hosts, ticks bury their mouthparts into the skin of their host. This leaves their round bottoms poking out, which to the naked eye, appears to be a small, hard lump.
Additionally, if a tick has attached to your dog’s skin but fallen off, they may leave behind a small crater. Oftentimes, this crater is painful to touch. When checking your dog for ticks, watch out for these small lumps and craters.
If your dog has a fever, this is another sign that a tick may be present. Sometimes, these fevers only last up to 24 hours after the tick bite. Other times, they last for days or weeks.
Signs of fever in dogs include a loss of appetite, unusual panting, and shivering.
4. Head Shaking
If you notice your dog shaking its head constantly, this may be a sign that a tick is burrowed in its ear canal.
Ticks like to hide in damp, warm places, so a dog’s ear makes the perfect spot for them to hole up. The same goes for a dog’s groin and the area under its front legs. If you notice your pooch is shaking its head more than normal, grab a flashlight to look into their ear canal.
5. Unexplained Scabs
If a tick is embedded into your dog’s skin, it may cause it to excessively lick or nip at the site of the bite. This, in turn, can lead to scabbing.
6. Wobbly Walking
Tick venom can cause ascending paralysis. This means that tick bites typically affect the hind legs first.
Then, the paralysis gradually progresses to the front legs. If you notice that your dog is walking in a wobbly manner, take them to the vet immediately.
7. Difficulty Standing
If your pooch is having trouble standing, this is another sign that they may be suffering from ticks.
Tick paralysis can cause a generalized weakness in the limbs, which can make it difficult for your dog to stand and even sit. To combat this issue, many dogs will lie on their side instead. However, this can make it difficult for them to breathe.
If you notice that your dog is struggling to stand or sit, you should take them to the vet immediately so they can be administered an anti-tick venom.
How to Get Rid of Ticks on Dogs
Now that you know the signs that your dog may have a tick, let’s talk about how to get rid of ticks on dogs. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Using a pair of tweezers, grasp the head of the tick, as close to the skin of the dog as possible
Pull the tick off using a firm, steady, upward motion
After the tick is removed, apply a disinfectant like iodine or rubbing alcohol to prevent the wound from becoming infected
Tick removal is that simple. The key is to check your dog regularly and if you spot a tick, to remove it as soon as possible. If you’re not comfortable removing a tick using tweezers, you can also use a tick removal gadget.
Do’s and Don’ts of Tick Removal
Additionally, there are some dos and don’ts you should keep in mind to make the tick removal process easier.
Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet or rubbing alcohol on it
Save the tick in alcohol if you’re concerned about testing for disease
Check for ticks in spots they like to hang, such as the groin, between toes, in and around ears, anal area, tail, and eyelids
Jerk or twist the tick to remove it
Attempt to remove a tick with your fingers
Crush or squish the tick, as this increases the risk of infection for you and your pup
Burn the tick with a hot match or lighted cigarette
Throw the tick in your sink or trashcan
Put things like Vaseline, nail polish, or repellent on the tick, as this can cause it to vomit and increase the possibility of infection
Worry if the tick’s mouthpart stays in your dog’s skin
By following these do’s and don’ts, you’ll help decrease the risk of infection.
Time for Tick Removal
Now that you’ve read this guide on how to spot and get rid of ticks on dogs, it’s time to step into action. Of course, you want to remove a tick from your dog as soon as possible, so make sure you’re checking your dog regularly for ticks.
Also, be sure to check out this guide to learn about the different types of ticks and how to remove them.
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