Tips and Tricks Tuesday: Tick Season is Upon Us!

With Spring, comes ticks.  It is important to protect your dog from ticks and know how to remove a tick properly if your pup does bring one home.

Preventative Measures

There are many products and medications available to help repel ticks.  You can provide a topical medication or us a tick collar, both of which are readily available at your local store.  Another option, Rose Geranium, an essential oil that is often used as a natural repellent.

Checking for Ticks

Check your dog for ticks each day.  Brush your fingers through their fur applying enough pressure to feel any small bumps. Don’t forget to check between your dog’s toes, behind ears, under armpits and around the tail and head. If you do feel a bump, pull the fur apart to see what’s there. A tick that has embedded itself in your dog will vary from the size of a pinhead to a grape depending on how long it has been attached. Ticks are typically black or dark brown in color but will turn a grayish-white after entering an engorged state from feeding.

Removing Ticks

Removing embedded ticks is a delicate operation.  It is easy for a piece of the tick to break off and remain in your dog’s skin if done improperly. Follow the removal steps below or consider bringing your dog to a veterinarian. Infection can occur after 24 hours, so if you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away.  Always wear rubber gloves to protect yourself from possible injury or infection.

  1. Grasp the tick very close to the skin with a pair of fine-tipped tweezers.
  2. With a steady motion, pull the tick’s body away from the skin. Avoid crushing the tick to prevent infection.
  3. After removal, clean your dog’s skin with soap and warm water and dispose of the tick by placing it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.

Following these steps can help ensure the successful removal of ticks. Never use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish or other products to remove a tick. Doing so can harm your dog and may cause an embedded tick to release more disease-carrying saliva.

Watch your dog for symptoms of tick-borne diseases.  Some symptoms include, arthritis or lameness that lasts for three to four days, reluctance to move, swollen joints, fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite and neurological problems.