Ticks are small parasites that feed on the blood of animals, particularly birds and mammals. Certainly, the most concerning thing about ticks is that they can transmit diseases such as ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, tick paralysis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other tickborne diseases.
Aside from causing harm to your dog, ticks can also be a threat to humans, so you would definitely not want them on your dog or any of your pets. Fortunately, there are ways to kill them and to help your dog stay tick-free.
Spotting a tick
Make it a habit to visually inspect your dog especially when they just come in from walking or playing outside. The common places where you can see ticks are in tight or closed spots such as between the toes, inside and around the ears, in the armpits, and in the groin area. You can also find them in other parts of the body so make sure to thoroughly check your dog.
If your dog has long or hair or thick fur, you will have to be more thorough. It is very easy to miss them because of too much hair.
Removing the tick
So you check your dog and find a tick. What you should do next? Panic? Absolutely not. Here are things you can do:
- Grab a pair of tweezers and use it to gently and steadily pull the tick out from your dog. Be careful not to do so in a twisting motion, so you do not break or squash its body. Remember that it can transmit disease.
- After removing the tick, drench the little parasite in rubbing alcohol. This should do the trick and kill it. Do not throw it alive or flush it down the toilet as this might not be enough to kill it.
- Clean the tick bite on your dog by applying some rubbing alcohol.
- Put an antibiotic treatment. There might be a little swelling but this should subside fairly soon.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- You can also go to the veterinarian for further inspection of your dog.
Preventing your dog from having ticks
- Reduce the time your dog spends in possible places where ticks hide, such as wooded areas, shrubs, woodpiles, and other dense areas. Clean out these places and avoid having piles of old boxes or newspapers where ticks can hang out.
- Always inspect yourself and your dogs for any ticks after spending some time outdoors.
- You may also want to consider cutting your dog’s fur close to the skin. This will make it easier for you to spot ticks especially if ticks are common in your area.
- Keep the grass short in your yard as ticks are more likely to lurk in tall grass.
- Use topical ointments made especially to prevent ticks. Be careful to use only products that are for dogs.
- You may also want to consult a vet for any recommendations that are good for your dog.
- Consider using non-toxic, organic insecticides on your yard.