5 Things You Need to Know About Dogs and Ticks
While most pet owners adore their pets, some of them can get a little lax when it comes to following their vet’s instructions. Unfortunately, sometimes that means ignoring the very real risk that ticks present to their dogs.
For that reason, we wanted to provide you with information about what ticks are, why they’re harmful, and what you can do to keep your dog tick-free.
1. What Are Ticks?
Most people are surprised to learn that ticks aren’t insects, they’re actually arachnids. As such, they don’t actually hop, fly, or jump.
Instead, they hold onto low-lying grass and shrubs and wait for a host to walk by. Once they’re attached to an animal or human host, they insert a feeding tube into its skin and begin sucking blood.
2. How Are Ticks Harmful?
While not all ticks carry diseases, many of them are infected. Unfortunately, these diseases can be transmitted to humans and pets. For instance, in the US, ticks most commonly spread diseases like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and tick paralysis.
These diseases can have tragic consequences for dogs, causing a variety of health problems including: lameness, joint pain, vomiting, liver failure, kidney failure, heart abnormalities, and seizures.
3. How Can I Prevent Ticks?
To prevent ticks, we recommend you use a flea and tick control product. These can be applied during a wellness visit to Beechwold Vet, or you can purchase one of the many topical products available at your local drugstore.
The most important thing to remember about tick prevention is that consistency is critical. Even one missed monthly dose of a tick prevention product can put your dog at greater risk.
If you’re worried you’ll forget to use your dog’s tick control product, write it down on a calendar or set up a monthly reminder on your smartphone.
4. How Do I Know If My Dog Has Ticks?
We recommend that during warmer months, you make tick inspections part of your regular routine, even if your dog uses a tick control product. You can do this by running your hands over your dog’s body, feeling for something the size of a small pea. Be sure to check between the toes and in the groin area, as ticks are drawn to dark, hidden areas of the body.
5. What Should I Do If I Spot a Tick on My Dog?
If you do discover a tick, first put on a pair or plastic gloves, because any contact with the tick’s blood could transmit infection to you or your dog. Then, remove the tick with a tweezers in a straight, steady motion, making sure to get all of its body parts.
After the tick’s been removed, drop it in isopropyl alcohol to preserve it, in case your vet needs to identify the type of tick later. Once that’s completed, clean your pet’s wound with an antiseptic cream before giving us a call.
By following these simple guidelines, you can keep your dog healthy and safe from ticks. And speaking of healthy dogs, is your pet due for a checkup? If so, we encourage you to make an appointment.
To do so, please contact our Columbus office by calling 614.268.8666 during normal business hours. For your convenience, we’re open until 6:30 Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; 7:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and 3:30 on Saturdays.