Now the weather is warming up pet owners should regularly check for ticks on dogs.
The tiny creatures which are related to spiders lurk in the grass awaiting a potential host to attach itself to. They are part of a family of ectoparasites (external parasites which feed off the blood of variety of mammalian hosts, as well as dogs and humans.
Ticks on dogs is not only a countryside problem but exists in urban areas too.
How to recognise a tick.
Ticks are oval or rounded in appearance ranging in colour from dark brown to grey and cream. Attached to your dogs skin it looks like a small pebble. You wont be able to see the legs, or the probe they pierce the skin with. They will feed on the hosts blood ‘ballooning up’ as they gorge.
How to find a ticks on dogs.
Ticks find it easier to attach themselves to exposed less hairy areas of skin where they can tap into a good supply of blood. The neck belly and the inside of dogs legs are favorite spots. They are easy to feel for with your fingers whilst stroking your dog.
How to remove ticks from your dog
Don’t attempt to pull or scrape the tick off the skin. This will result in leaving the ticks probe under the skin and possibly lead to infection.
The easiest and safest way to remove a tick from your dog is to use an easily obtainable tool called a tick twister.
The tick twister website describes the removal thus
• Select the correct sized tool according to the size of the tick – the large hook for medium and large ticks or the small hook for small and very small ticks.
• Hold the handle between your thumb and index finger and slide the fork end of the tool toward the tick until it is caught between the prongs.
• Lift the tool very lightly and rotate in either direction several (2-3) turns. You will feel when the tick has released its mouth-parts and it is safe to pull up on the tick and Tick Twister.
The tick twister is widely available from pet stores and online at Amazon.
Once you have removed and despatched the tick, give the area of your dogs skin a wash. Keep an eye on the affected area for a couple of days afterwards to make sure it does not become sore or inflamed. While it is rare, ticks can transmit Lyme disease to your dog and yourself once they have latched onto the skin. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with symptoms of Lyme disease, which can include loss of appetite, lameness and general lethargy and depression. If you have any concerns, talk to your vet immediately. In humans symptoms include a rash in the affected area flu like symptoms a high fever, chills and neck stiffness.