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How to Check Your Dog for Ticks

  • 22 June 2017
  • Pet Wants

Even though ticks are quite small, they can cause some very big problems. This is just as true for dogs as it is for humans. Many experts have gone on record saying that 2017 marks the worst tick season in years. Since you want to protect your dog from discomfort and potentially more serious problems, we want to cover what you need to know about identifying any ticks on your dog:

When to Check

If you dog has been outside and walked through any areas that are especially grassy or woody, it’s worth taking time to check for ticks. The way that ticks operate is once they latch onto a human or dog, they start feeding on blood. Although this feeding may start right away, the good news is it takes ticks at least twenty-four hours to infect a dog with an illness like Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Given the serious and sometimes lengthy symptoms those conditions can create, taking just a few minutes to check your dog is well worth the effort.

How to Check

It’s best to check your dog right before it comes back inside. This will help prevent any ticks from getting into your home. Use your fingers to comb through your dog’s fur. By pressing gently as you do, it will be possible to feel bumps on your dog’s skin. What you’re looking for is a black, brown or grayish-brown bug. If you need a closer look, pull back your dog’s fur and use a magnifying glass to inspect the spot. The neck, face, feet and ears are common areas where a tick may try to hide.

Removing Ticks from Your Dog

The ideal outcome of checking your dog for ticks is you won’t find anything and the two of you can go about your day. But if you do identify one or more ticks during your check, you’ll want to remove them right away. You can do so by putting on a pair of latex gloves and then getting your supplies. Those supplies include rubbing alcohol and antibiotic ointment. You’ll also need a clean pair of tweezers or tool specifically designed for removing ticks from pets.

Grab the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible and pull upward. Try to remove it in one motion without jerking. You can then kill the tick by putting it in a sealed bag with a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol. Finish the process by using the ointment to clean the bite and your dog’s skin. You’ll want to keep an eye on the bite over the next few weeks, as well as pay attention to any changes in your dog’s behavior.

If you have any concerns after finding a tick on your dog, let your vet know as soon as possible. And if you have any other questions about dog care, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Pet Wants Scottsdale online or by calling: (602) 885-8081.