Ticks are prevalent in areas with high grass, overgrown bushes, and dense woods. Ticks are well known carriers of diseases and can transmit these as they attach to hosts for blood meals. Dogs that spend time in tick-infested areas should be checked regularly for ticks. When checking your dog for ticks, comb through the fur in an area with good light. Ticks that have attached to dogs are commonly found around the ears, in skin folds, and on the inner side where the legs attach to the body. Ticks vary in size, from a small dot to the size of a lima bean.
When a tick is found, it should be removed immediately. The risk of disease transmission is greater the longer a tick is attached. To remove a tick, use a tick removal tool or use fine tweezers to grasp the jaws of the tick closest to the skin. Steadily pull directly out from the skin. It is not uncommon for the tick to tear off a small patch of skin. Remove any left over parts of the tick from the wound, and wash with soap and water. Save the tick in a vial for future identification in the case the dog shows signs of a fever, weakness, or paralysis. Dogs are susceptible to Lyme disease.
There are several ways to protect your dog from ticks. Cutting the grass and keeping the bushes trimmed removes areas where ticks hide. Over the counter and prescription products that prevent tick attachment can be applied topically every month. Tick collars treated with pesticides have also proven very effective. Be sure to read all labels, as certain products can be hazardous to cats and other animals.
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