Ticks on Your Pet
How do I know if my dog has ticks?
If your dog is acting weird, there’s a chance they are showing signs of tick bites or a tick-borne disease of some sort. You may be wondering, what exactly does “acting weird” mean? If your dog is showing any of the following symptoms, it might mean they have been affected by ticks. Some of the most common signs are constantly licking or chewing in a particular area, inflamed or red irritated skin, shaking their head often, a fever, or even just a bump. In a rare case, your pet may have tick paralysis, so if your pet has numbness in their joints or trouble walking, that’s a sign that a tick has injected toxins into their body. When tick paralysis is caught early, the mortality rate is pretty high, but if you wait too long, it could change. If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, you may want to contact your vet about it.
How can I prevent ticks?
Have you ever wondered if there was a way to protect your pet from ticks? Believe it or not, there are actually vaccines available, but it doesn’t fully prevent your four legged friend from tracking these bugs into your home. These pests are commonly found hiding under bushes, tall grass, and shaded areas due to their sunlight sensitivity, so if you have an outdoorsy pet, their exposure to ticks is much higher. Your pets can easily track bugs onto your floor and into their beds, so it’s important to vacuum and wash their bedding pretty often. If you have a yard, it is recommended to cut any tall grass, trim your bushes, and preferably keep the ground clear of any spaces that the ticks will crawl into. Typically, if you live in humid climates, cutting grass or bushes doesn’t fully guarantee tick prevention. In fact, there are many tick preventive topical medications your vet can suggest for your pet. These treatments are usually applied monthly and prevents any fleas or ticks from giving your animal cooties. Make sure to advise your veterinarian before using any treatments.
How do you treat ticks?
Whether it’s the common tick, a deer tick, or a black legged tick, you can easily heal your furry friends by doing a few simple tasks. Removing these insects from fur isn’t too difficult. All you’ll need are tweezers, gloves, antiseptic cream, and alcohol. Carefully pull the tick out in a slow and steady motion and apply antiseptic cream to the affected area(s). Then clean off the tweezers with alcohol and make sure to wash your hands. For more information on how to safely remove a tick, click here. Don’t want to go through the hassle of removing a tick? Well, luckily for you, there are other options. Similar to tick prevention, you can also apply a monthly topical treatment on your dog or cat to make sure these bugs don’t land on your pet again. To ensure there is no reminiscence of these pests, check all members in the household for ticks, because if there is host availability, these bugs won’t hesitate to feed on another house member. Treating the house and lawn with tick treatment can also be beneficial to prevent them from coming back.
What areas of my dog should I check for ticks?
Dogs are curious and playful creatures, so it is not uncommon for a tick to find its way onto their body. Ticks can be found in the many crevices and small hiding places of a dog’s head and ears. Ticks can also be found crawling in-between your dog’s toes or in the dark and moist areas of its tail. Make sure to also pay close attention to the eyelids of a dog as a tick can be mistaken for a skin tag or eye discharge.
What do ticks look like?
Ticks have four active life stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. Tick larvae are only a few millimeters long, whereas nymphs are 1-2 millimeters long. Adult ticks look like small brown or black insects about 10 millimeters long. They can be distinguished by their eight-legged appearance, oval shape, lack of antennae, and preference for feeding on larger animals. Depending on the tick species, they can have a variety of appearances. See the chart below for examples of tick coloring for the Rocky Mountain tick, Wood tick, American Dog tick, and many others. Remember to always check for tick bites after outdoor activities with your dog!
Can ticks make my dog sick?
Ticks are fairly common ectoparasites of dogs. The life cycle of a tick is very short; it takes about two weeks for them to complete one generation. Ticks attach to their animal hosts by inserting their mouthparts into their skin through the level of protective animal fur. An infected tick can cause the transfer of tickborne diseases and tick-borne illness like ehrlichia, and lyme disease. Both of these tick diseases can cause diarrhea, fever, vomiting, lack of appetite, swollen joints, swollen limbs, tender lymph nodes, and lowering of blood platelet count. These symptoms will typically last for two to four weeks if left untreated so if your pet is experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to a veterinarian immediately.
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