Ticks on Dogs: Causes & Removal
Ticks are pretty disgusting parasites, and it is never fun finding one on your dog. Still, finding a tick on your dog is a somewhat common occurrence, especially if you love to go on hikes and spend time outdoors with your furry friend.
Even if finding ticks on dogs is a fairly common occurrence, it can still be frightening for dog owners. This is especially true considering that both dogs and humans can become sick from tick bites. Luckily, there are some reliable ways that you can prevent your dog from getting bitten by ticks.
In this article, we will be explaining everything that dog owners need to know about ticks on dogs. This will include how dogs get tick bites, how tick bites on dogs are treated, and how you can prevent dogs from getting ticks. In addition to this, we will also be answering some commonly asked questions about ticks on dogs. Let’s get straight into it.
What are Ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that attach themselves to a host and suck the host’s blood. While dogs are a very common host for ticks, any mammal can technically get bitten by a tick. Unfortunately, this also includes humans.
There are many different species of ticks, each with its own appearance and geographical range. Different species of ticks can carry different diseases as well, so it’s a good idea to save the tick that bit your dog in a plastic bag to show your vet.
How do Dogs Get Ticks?
Most of the time dogs get ticks by exploring high grass in fields or around rivers and lake beds. Dogs also commonly get ticks by exploring debris piles and heavily wooded areas. Ticks commonly lie in areas like these, and when a dog explores them the tick will often have a chance to bite and stick around for the ride.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Gets a Tick?
If your dog gets a tick, it is a good idea to remove it as soon as possible. However, it is also important that you remove the tick properly. If you are unsure on how to remove a tick from your dog properly and safely, then calling your vet can help you get the advice that you need.
In fact, it may be a good idea to contact your vet anyway. Ticks carry many different diseases, and these diseases can differ depending on the tick’s species. As a result, your vet will likely want a description of the tick. This way they can determine what diseases your dog may be at risk of developing as a result of their tick bite.
How to Remove a Tick from Your Dog
Luckily, removing a tick from a dog is pretty simple. Here are the 6 steps to removing a tick from your dog quickly and easily.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
It is a good idea to get your supplies ready first. This way you have them within reach when removing the tick and cleaning the bite wound. Here are the supplies that you would need for removing a tick from your dog.
- Tweezers or a tick remover tool
- Rubber or latex gloves
- A good source of light (to see what you’re doing)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Antibiotic ointment (for optimal cleanliness)
- A jar, sealable plastic bag, or a container with a lid
- Treats and toys for your dog
Step 2: Prepare Yourself and Your Dog
Next, you will need to get everything ready to remove the tick. Get into a place with good lighting
, so you can see what you’re doing. Next, put the gloves on to prevent you from getting sick through contact with the tick.
From there all you need to do is get your dog into position to remove the tick. Make sure you still have all of your supplies within reach.
Step 3: Remove the Tick
Now, you will need to remove the tick. If you are using tweezers, you will do this by grasping the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible. Be careful not to pinch your dog or grab the tick too tightly. Doing this could crush the tick, making it more difficult to remove in the long run. Then, slowly pull the tick off your dog. Don’t twist or jerk the tick around when doing this, as this could make it impossible to remove all of the tick.
Meanwhile, if you are using a tick removal tool you will likely have a bit of an easier time. With these tools, all you will need to do is hook the tick’s body with the tool, then follow the tool’s instructions for removal. Most tick removal tools will have you slowly rotate the tool until the tick is detached.
Step 4: Clean the Wound
Next, you will need to clean the wound with rubbing alcohol and/or an antibiotic ointment that is safe for dogs.
Step 5: Place the Tick in a Container
Save the tick in a container to show your vet or describe it to them over the phone.
Step 6: Call Your Vet
It is always a good idea to call your vet after they get a tick bite. This could help prevent your dog from getting a disease or complications from the bite.
Can Dogs Get Sick from Tick Bites?
Unfortunately, dogs can get multiple different illnesses from tick bites. Call your vet to discuss what illnesses could have possibly been exposed to your dog, as not all tick species will carry the same diseases.
Can Tick Bites be Prevented in Dogs?
The good news is that tick bites can be prevented easily and reliably. There are even multiple preventative options that dog owners can choose from, including;
- Tick preventative ointments and shampoos
- Tick preventative medications
- Tick preventative collars
- Keeping your dog from places where ticks frequent
For tick prevention near Port Hadlock, WA, contact The Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital by calling 360-385-4488, or requesting an appointment online today.