Warmer weather has finally arrived and spring is just around the corner. We are all wanting to spend our time outside in the sunshine and so are our dogs. Unfortunately, this lovely weather also means we are approaching prime tick season. It’s important to get smart with tick knowledge in order to keep your dogs protected and safe. Here are a few common questions regarding these nasty little creatures.
What are ticks and what do they look like?
Ticks are blood sucking parasites that feed on animals and humans. Although they can be very tiny, with a larva being as small as a tiny freckle, they can swell up to the size of a baked bean once they've attached themselves to your dog. Ticks aren’t insects, they are arachnids which are more closely related to spiders. Ticks can be black, brown or tan, they have eight legs and an oval shaped body. Ticks cannot jump or fly, but climb on to dog’s coats when brushed past the area they are lurking.
What are the dangers of ticks?
If you think your dog has Lyme disease, contact your vet and they can perform tests and start treatment with antibiotics.
Ticks aren't just pests, they can also be carriers of some serious diseases that can be passed on to both dogs and humans. Some UK ticks can carry a condition called Lyme disease caused by serious bacteria, which affects both muscle and nerve cells.
Symptoms of Lyme disease in your dog include:
Difficulty moving due to swollen joints
A raised temperature
Swollen lymph nodes
If you think your dog has lyme disease, contact your vet and they can perform tests and start treatment with antibiotics.
What should I do if I find a tick on my dog?
The sooner you remove the tick the better. The longer the tick is attached, the higher the risk of it spreading disease. Never try and crush or squeeze the tick’s body, this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin which can cause infection or inflammation.
Never smother the tick in vaseline or try and destroy it with a lighted match. Ticks may regurgitate their bloody meal back into your dog along with any disease they are carrying.
Specially designed tick removal tools are the best option and they are available to purchase from our online shop -https://www.themuckyhound.co.uk/product-page/tick-removal-tool Make sure to follow the instructions carefully before use. Your vet can show you how to use them effectively if you are unsure.
Once you’ve removed the tick, gently cleanse the area and keep an eye on your pet for any symptoms.
Do not release a tick once it has been removed as it may survive to lay lots of eggs. You can wrap the tick in tissue and flush it down the toilet, or you can keep the tick in a sealed container and if concerned about Lyme disease you can give it to your vet to send for testing.
How do I check my dog for ticks?
It’s important to conduct regular tick checks on your dog, especially during the spring and autumn seasons when ticks are most active. You can do this by moving your hands over their body to feel for any unusual small bumps, particularly around the ears, head, neck, groin, armpits and feet. Grooming your dog regularly is a good way to check for infestations. Make sure to brush against, as well as with, the hair growth to see any embedded ticks.
How do I prevent my dog from getting ticks?
Ticks are becoming very common now across large parts of England, particularly in woodlands, fields and long grassy areas. Try and stick to the centre of paths and avoid over-hanging vegetation where ticks may be waiting.
You can purchase many flea and tick treatments that can kill or repel ticks. Spot on treatments, tablets and special collars can also be effective. speak to your vet about the risk in your area and they can advise you on the right treatment for your dog.
Things to remember!
Ticks are most active in warmer weather
Ticks lurk in woodlands, fields and long grassy areas
Ticks can spread diseases such as lyme disease
It’s important to check your dog for ticks regularly
It’s important to remove a tick quickly and correctly