The weather in spring begins to improve and temperatures rise. Unfortunately, the warmer weather, although lovely, is a sign of the unwelcome pest bothering our pets.
Ticks are 8-legged, disease carrying parasites that attach themselves to the skin of animals and people until they become engorged and drop off. The Kennel Club estimates that thousands of dogs per year are infected by tick related diseases such as Lyme disease, Canine ehrlichiosis, and canine anaplasmosis. Some can be transferred to humans and can be life threatening.
Ticks tend to lurk long grass and latch onto any passers-by which is why dogs are particularly susceptible. They will often make their way to the eyes, ears, armpits and between the toes for shelter. It is important to keep a look out for ticks and if your dog is scratching or chewing a particular area, a tick may be bothering them.
How do I remove a tick?
•If you encounter a tick for the first time and are unsure how to remove them properly it may be best to visit your vet or ask a groomer to show you how to do it properly, this will help avoid infection and also most vets sell special tick remover tools.
•Wear disposable gloves and use a tick remover tool to twist the body until the head is removed. Put it in a tub of alcohol to kill.
•Do not attempt to burn off a tick, this will likely result in your dog being burnt.
•Do not pull out with tweezers. Due to the shape, if the body is squeezed it can cause the tick to expel its stomach contents into the dog’s blood stream. This increases the likelihood of transferring disease.
•Do not soak in vinegar or alcohol while still attached to the dog, these are all common/DIY tips however can cause more harm.
•Make sure the head is still attached to the tick’s body, if you suspect it is still embedded in your dog’s skin visit the vet so they can remove it and clean the area.
•Keep an eye out for signs of illness. Tick borne diseases usually manifest 7-21 days after being bitten.
• Keep gardens trimmed and avoid dense grass when on walks.
• Check dogs after walks or have a grooming sessions when you get back. Brushing can pick up ticks in long haired breeds. Check inside ears, toes and creases of the legs.
• Some collars, shampoos and herbal remedies are said to prevent ticks from latching onto your dog’s skin – Lemon grass, rosemary and peppermint are said to help repel ticks and fleas. Natural oils can be diluted and brushed into their coats.