How To Tell if Your Dog Has a Tick and What To Do
Aug 10, 2022
Do you perform tick checks on your dog after they spend a day romping around the backyard or through the woods? You must be checking your dog for this parasitic arachnid because while they might only cause mild irritation to the skin, they can carry diseases that could harm your pet. Learn how to tell when your dog has a tick and what to do when you need to remove one.
Signs Your Dog Has a Tick
Your pet might not be acting their usual selves when they have a tick, making it easier for you to take action and find the parasite. The dog might be excessively licking or scratching an area on their body, or they’re constantly shaking their head due to something in their ears. In another instance, your dog might not be showing direct signs they have a tick. But if you find one in the home, you should suspect that it came in from your pet, and you should be checking for more.
If your family goes camping frequently or you spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, consider your pet’s different options for tick prevention. You can choose between a collar, topical ointments, and oral chews. Further the protection for your dog by finding ways to control ticks in your yard so you can stop the parasite from even reaching your pet.
How To Check for Ticks
Once you notice the signs your dog could have a tick, begin by running your fingers through their coat from their head to their tail. Use your nails as a makeshift “comb” to find bumps where the parasite could be. Furthermore, it’s important to check behind their ears and inside, under the collar, between their toes, under the tail, and other hidden areas on the body.
A pro tip to make this checking process easier is to have your dog groomed regularly. Ticks typically feed in dark areas of the body that are unnoticeable. If your dog has a thick coat with dark fur, consider grooming them throughout the summer so you have an easier time checking their body for the parasite.
How To Remove Ticks
Now that you can tell your dog has a tick, you can begin the process of removing them. What you want to do is be as careful and slow as possible because the head of the parasite can break off and be left under the skin, which can cause Lyme disease, among other illnesses. Take tweezers, pinch the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull away from the skin in a smooth and quick motion. If you have found a tick on your pet it is important that they be tested by your veterinarian for Lyme disease.
Once the tick is gone, clean the area with warm soapy water and kill the tick by drowning it in rubbing alcohol. Don’t forget to check your dog afterward for more ticks because they can have more than one.
Ticks are hard to detect but relatively simple to remove. These parasites can be as large as a pea or as small as a pinhead. Remain calm if you find one on your pet, and keep them still until you can remove the tick entirely.
Disclaimer: healthcareforpets.com and its team of veterinarians and clinicians do not endorse any products, services, or recommended advice. All advice presented by our veterinarians, clinicians, tools, resources, etc is not meant to replace a regular physical exam and consultation with your primary veterinarian or other clinicians. We always encourage you to seek medical advice from your regular veterinarian.