Checking your dog for ticks! Ticks are far more than just annoying, painful creatures that feed on your dog's blood, they're disease-spreading and virus carrying, and the last thing you want is your dog to suffer because of them. Make sure you're always checking your pup for ticks that have made their home on his legs, body, tail, or neck. Vector-borne diseases are no joke, and they can have a massive effect on your dog's health.
Ticks can spread Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and rocky mountain spotted fever to your pup, so it's important that you ensure he's always tick free.
Signs Your Dog Has a Tick
Because of these risks, it's important to make sure that your dog is tick-free at all costs. But what happens if you can't see one, or if you miss a tick? How can you tell if your dog has one if you glance over it? Look out for certain signs your dog may be giving you to let you know that he has a tick on him and causing him pain.
For example, your dog might have a tick if you notice a lot of head shaking. Ticks really like to hide in the canals or warm, damp places, so it's possible they're hiding in his ears, or even under his front legs or near his groin. If your dog has a fever or a lot of unexplained scabs, these are also good indicators that your dog might have ticks.
A tick bite may cause your dog to nip, lick, or bite at the site where the ticks at, causing a lot of scabs. While fevers can be caused by a lot of other illnesses, any dog with a fever shouldn't be overlooked for ticks. Another sign that your dog has a tick is feeling small bumps on his skin. Don't ignore a bump on your dog's skin, always look closer for ticks!
- Head tilting
- Finding Ticks in Your Home
- Lumps or Bumps on Your Dog's Skin
- Biting, Licking, Nipping at His Body Parts
- Itching, Scratching
- Head Shaking
- Unexplained Scabs
The History of Dogs and Ticks
To further this research, this group removes ticks and runs tests on them, and even encourages you to send in the ticks you find on your dogs for analysis. The Big Tick Project also puts together case studies for you to view to get a better idea about Lyme disease and other conditions that can be contracted from ticks.
For example, in a video they produced, they tell the story of Paula Kent and her dog Chaos, who, after having a tick removed, was diagnosed with Lyme Disease 18 months later. Paula noted that her dog Chaos started showing signs about three months after the tick was removed, and noted she was stiff, had bruised feet, fever, and stiff shoulders.
The Science of How Ticks Spread Disease
When a tick finds a spot it wants to feed, it grabs on the skin and cuts into the surface of the skin. The tick will insert its feeding tubes into its host - in this case, your dog - and secrete a cement-like substance that keeps the tick in place while it feeds. The tick's saliva is secreted, and with it, an anesthetic property that numbs your pup to the pain.
The tick will suck the blood from your dog for days, allowing any virus the tick contains to enter into the host's bloodstream. Typically, the tick will drop off once the feeding is over, however, if it's attached for two or more days, the odds of your pup catching a disease from the tick are increased significantly.
How to Train Your Dog to Deal With Anti-Tick Treatments
Make sure your dog is also comfortable with full-body exams after you've come in from a day of playing. Your pup should be fine with you checking all the areas you think ticks would be and should be trained to be patient while you do it. Use rewards when your dog has been good with dealing with these situations so that he has a positive association with tick-checking.
In the event your dog does contract a tick-disease, make sure that he's comfortable and able to take antibiotics. Teach your dog a throw-and-catch game with his pills, teach him to gently take the pill from your hand, or mix it in with his food.
How to React If You Think Your Dog Has a Tick
Take your dog to the vet to get tested for tick-related diseases.
Kill the tick by placing a dab of alcohol on it.
Give your dog a topical anti-tick treatment.
Remove ticks that you see immediately by using tweezers and pulling the tick out.
Check your dog's body for small bumps.
Check your dog thoroughly for ticks, especially in canals and spots where they could hide - the groin, legs, and ears.
Take a flashlight and check your dog's ears for ticks.