During the warm summer months, our dogs can be found happily tromping through tall grass or woods, but the fear of finding a tick on your pup when he returns can make many a pet owner paranoid.
Learning how to remove ticks from dogs and cats safely can ease pet parents’ anxiety over coming face-to-face with this bloodsucker — so nobody has to miss out on the nice weather.
Dogs, like humans, are vulnerable to Lyme disease, as well as other tick-borne ailments such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, so it’s important to perform regular tick checks every time your dog returns from playing near wooded areas, advises Dr. Lee Herold, chief medical officer at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital in Portland, Oregon.
“Ideally, pets should be checked for ticks any time they’ve been outside, especially if they’ve been out hiking or walking in a wooded areas or tall grass,” Dr. Herold tells The Dodo. “Most often ticks are picked up in rural areas, latching onto pets and people as they walk through brushes or tall grass, but it’s not unheard of for animals to attract ticks in an urban setting as well.” Over the past three decades, cases of Lyme disease have increased and spread across the U.S., meaning vigilance during the spring, summer and fall will be key to your pet’s health.
A thick coat can hide pesky parasites that could be latching on to your pup. To thoroughly check your pet for ticks, start by running your fingers from the top of their head all over the body, feeling for any suspicious small bumps or lumps, advises Dr. Herold. Ticks can range from the size of the head of a pin to up to 15 millimeters long, the approximate size of a jelly bean. When inspecting your pet, pay special attention to the area around their tail, face and chin, as well as any creases and crevices such as the space between your dog’s toes, behind and inside the ears and their armpits, as ticks prefer to hide in warm, dark areas on an animal’s body.
“It’s easy to give them an overall check when you are relaxing together on the floor or the couch at the end of the day,” Dr. Herold says. “Even if you are using a tick prevention medicine or collar, you should still check for ticks on a regular basis.”
If you trace over a bump, or notice a red or irritated area that your pet is licking or scratching, part your dog’s fur to get a better look. A tick will usually appear brown or black in color, or light gray if it’s engorged. It takes 24 hours for a tick to transfer disease-causing bacteria to its host, so pet owners should remove the tick as soon as they spot it, and dispose of it correctly so it doesn’t pose additional issues down the road.
CLICK NEXT AND Follow these easy steps to remove a tick safely and precisely at home: