Found a Tick? What Dog Owners Should Know
Nothing gives dog owners the jitters like spotting a tick!
Those nasty minor bugs are all over. Technically speaking, a tick is a type of parasitic arachnid. If you have never seen one before, a tick looks like a spider. Depending on whether it’s a larva, nymph, or adult, an engorged tick that has recently been fed will be similar in shape to a beetle. Usually, they are red, brown, or black.
And ticks love nothing more than burrowing in dog skin!
Thankfully, Groomit’s highly rated dog groomers are here with everything you need to know about keeping your pup safe from ticks!
Where do ticks live?
We often notice skin and fur problems as dog groomers long before a veterinarian does. After all, our mobile groomers get up close and personal with your pet every month! Groomit serves furry customers in many states, including New York, Texas, and Florida.
Unfortunately, these places are also the home of ticks.
Ticks live in wooded, grassy, and forest areas. They drink blood. So, naturally, they want to be close to nature as a food source. Anywhere you can find deer, squirrels, rabbits, and other small mammals, there is also a chance of an active tick population.
That means your pup is at risk. Especially so if they play or go for walks in shrubby areas.
Believe it or not, scientists estimate that virtually everywhere in the United States has some tick species.
Can they carry disease?
According to the American Kennel Club, a dog can become ill from a tick bite. When a tick breaks the skin, it can transmit bacteria into the new host. Now, not every tick will carry disease. Many tick bites are harmless. However, dogs can get very sick – even deathly so.
Here is the most concerning disease to watch for: Lyme Disease
This life-threatening disease is a result of a Black-legged Tick bite. Symptoms include pain, swelling, fever, limping. Tragically, if a dog owner ignores a tick bite, Lyme disease can end with kidney failure. This is partly why dog groomers like those at Groomit always recommend, always, constantly checking your dog’s body after a walk through the bushes.
Other tick diseases to be aware of include:
- Canine Ehrlichiosis
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
What should I do if I find a tick on my dog?
Imagine running your hands through your dog’s soft fur. Suddenly, your finger touches something small and hard. Panicking, you pull back the hairs to see a chubby insect with eight wiggly legs burrowed deep in your dog’s skin.
What to do?
Firstly, remain calm!
It can be tempting to grab a pair of tweezers and yank out the tick. But keep in mind that a tick must be inside your dog for between 36-48 hours before disease transmission can occur. Look between toes, under the belly, in ears, and down the legs for second, third, or fourth ticks.
Put on gloves once you’ve counted how many there are in total.
Next, check to see if it’s burrowed into your dog’s skin. On the surface? Carefully pick it off your dog and either flush it down the toilet or smother it in duct tape. But if the tick is resounding, you will need to remove it manually. In a best-case scenario, you will have a specialized dog tick remover. These are metal tools available at most pet stores.
Don’t have a tick remover?
The Humane Society of the United States suggests using tweezers. Hold the tick close to your dog’s skin. Pull out slowly. Your dog might shake uncomfortably…so it can be helpful to have a second person hold them still. We want a friendly, steady, smooth removal.
Good job! The hard part is over.
Now, Groomit recommends keeping the tick. You can put it in isopropyl alcohol. Call your veterinarian and inform them of the tick bite. Then wait for further instructions. They will likely ask you if any symptoms develop in the following days and weeks. A lab can run tests (if required) to see if Lyme Disease is present by holding onto the tick itself.
Three ways to prevent tick bites in dogs
Ticks are a frightening topic for pet parents. Nobody wants their fur baby to get sick! Yet tick prevention is effortless. To keep your pet safe:
- Perform daily tick checks
- Don’t go walking in extended grassy areas known for tick infestations
- Make regular dog grooming appointments
Doing these three things will keep your pooch happy and safe. Hopefully, they will never experience a tick bite, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our pets!
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