Tick danger: examine carefully these 6 points on your dog’s body
12:00 - 14 March 2019
Tickborne diseases can be extremely dangerous for our pets and us, owners, too. Always examine your dog’s body thoroughly after a walk, paying extra attention to these body parts.
Ticks choose their favourite hunting sites based on their well-tried paths. They wait patiently for the future hosts on the tip of grasses or branches of shorter bushes. And as our dogs have a very curious nature, they tend to dig their noses and heads into everything that draws their attention. This gives a huge advantage to the sneaky little parazites to climb onto their victims. The ears are richly encompassed with blood arteries and veins, making it the perfect place for ticks to feed. They can hide among the folds, crevices and long fur – if your dog shakes its head or scratches the ears anxiously, check them for ticks or other possible health problems.
2. Under the collar
Ticks can easily hide under or around the collar, bandana, harness and even the dog’s clothing. While attaching to the textile parts of these equipments, they can get really close to the dog’s skin. If we prefer to leave the collar/harness on our dog, it is advisable to remove them together with all the other equipment when it comes to a tick-check. Use a special tick brush or a thick flea comb to comb the dog’s fur. Check carefully the collar – you might notice a tick marching round-and-round on it, waiting patiently to get back onto its four-legged victim-to-be.
3. Around the eyes and eyelids
Tiny lumps and bumps can form over time as our dogs get older. A tick attached to a dog’s eyelid can easily be mistaken with these alterations. If we are not sure to distinguish a tick from a lump, it is best to visit the vet. Removing a tick from around the eye usually requires some practice along with a steady hand. In case our dog finds it difficult to stay calm or he gets frightened easily, always seek professional help in order to avoid any possible damage to the eyes.
Some dogs enjoy grazing from the fresh green grass. Unfortunately, this activity can soon become another threat to our furbaby’s life. Ticks could climb into a dog’s mouth from a single blade of grass: the tiny parazites can attach to the tongue or muzzle and then reach the inside of the mouth when a dog licks its lips. Ticks latched to the dog’s gums, particularly, in between the teeth can be really difficult to spot. Examining your dog’s mouth on a regular basis can also help you notice any problem that might require vet treatment.
5. Paws and pads
Ticks can also hide among the digital pads so it’s good to check the dog’s paws after being out and about. If your dog has longer fur, you may trim the ’fluffy slippers’ around the paws and thus give less option for ticks to attach to the dog’s hair. If not noticed in time, ticks can climb up on the dog’s limbs and reach other parts of its body, where they are even more difficult to spot. When your dog is constantly licking or chewing one of his paws or the area among the digital pads, it can be a sign of an unwanted visitor or a foxtail. This latter can wander through your dog’s paw or slowly shin up inside its leg causing immense pain, inflammation and infection.
6. Bottom and tail
Ticks love dark and moist places, covered in thick coat, where dogs can’t reach them. Examine thoroughly the area around and under your dog’s tail, including the rectum and the genitals, no matter how uncomfortable it may seem. Check the testicles, as well, if you have a male dog. Some dogs are more prone to matted fur, especially on the inner side of the thighs, take this into account, too.
Direct contact to a damaged tick can be infectious for us, so it’s strongly advised to use a special tick removal tool (a hook or a loop). Do not attempt to tear out a tick with hands as its infected saliva can easily reach your blood circulation through the tiniest wound on your hands. Tickborne diseases, like Lyme Disease or Babesia mean a huge threat to both the pet and its owner, so always keep an eye out on prevention: put a tick collar or spot-on on your dog, use spray on your body when you go hiking, and don’t forget to keep your garden clean. Read our tips for a tick-free garden here.
Index image source: lifewithdogs.tv/Pinterest
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