This guest post is written by Dr. Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS a veterinarian and Pet Insurance specialist.
It is essential to look after your dog in many ways and most of the times, every day grooming and vigilance will ensure that you pet is clean, disease free, and happy. But ever so often, you may notice your dog:
- Running a bit of fever
- Shaking his head too often
- Having unexplained scabs
- Showing signs of weakness or listlessness
If you see ticks on your carpets or any other surface that the dog occupies then you can rest assured that you need to look out for these parasites with closer attention and not only get rid of them, but also keep your dog tick-free.
First, Finding The Ticks
The only sure fire way to find a tick that may have attached itself to your dog is through physical examination. Don a pair of gloves and check your dog thoroughly. Look especially closely at:
- Ears – inside and outside
- Paws – separate the paws and look
- The nape of his neck and so on
If you find even a small bump, stop, and part the fur around this bump. Take a close look — maybe even use a magnifying glass to confirm the presence of a tick.
Removing The Tick
The one thing you should not do is pull out the tick. Ticks are dangerous simply, because they latch on to the skin and embed themselves. This means they are in contact with your dog’s bloodstream. Pulling the tick out roughly may cause some portion of the body to remain in the dog’s fur and you really do not want this.
There are specialized tick removers in the market and you can also achieve the removal with a pair of tweezers and gentle movement. You have to pull out the tick steadily and by grasping the tick at the portion closest to your dog’s skin. Clean the area with antiseptic solution.
Once you have removed the tick, drop it into a jar containing isopropyl alcohol which will kill the tick. But it is important to preserve the tick, because your vet may want to take a look at the tick if your dog develops symptoms of some tick-related disease.
Preventing tick infestation on your dog needs daily care and maintenance. One of the ways in which you can examine his or her fur for problems is with daily grooming. Invest in the right brush; depending on the coat and furriness of your dog. When you groom your dog, run your fingers through the fur too. This will allow you to find those telltale bumps that may indicate the presence of a tick.
Your veterinarian is the best person to advice you on the use of:
- Anti-tick sprays and powders
- Tick collars
- Monthly treatments
- Tick dips which are applied to your dog’s skin
- Oral medications
- Other spot-on treatments
For any of the above solutions, dosage and frequency is key.
Dosage And Frequency
You have to be consistent when it comes to dealing with preventive care for dog ticks. Just like any other animal life, ticks have life stages too and your anti-tick products should beapplied or used in such a way that they get ticks at all stages: egg, larvae, and adult. Thus, if the vet has told you, for instance, that you should apply a spot-on treatment every 20 days then you should do so.
Choosing Your Treatment
Some products can be considered safe to use without a vet’s advice. But, to be doubly sure, start with the right advice from a professional. Read the labels and instructions very carefully before you use the product. Each of these products is defined by the weight of the dog. Senior dogs and pregnant dogs will need specialized care.
This is a popular method of dealing with dog ticks. It involves the application of a spot-on medication, typically, between the shoulder blades of your dog. There is the tick collar as well. These collars are great to prevent ticks in the neck and head regions. The collar should be fitted snugly, but not tightly and you will need to change it periodically.
All Over Body Treatment
Medicated shampoos and tick dips need to be applied all over the body. A shampoo bath is something that your dog will love, but you need to repeat the process every 2 weeks or so. Tick dips are chemical applications. They need to be applied to your dog’s fur. Ask your vet how long this application should stay on and whether your dog needs a cone to prevent him licking his fur.
Finally, it is good to pay attention to your surroundings as well. Mow your lawns, trim the bushes and plants, and eliminate piles of dead leaves. Check all your crawl spaces and disinfect them as well. Within the house keep your carpets clean and dry.