Knowing the damages and diseases that ticks may cause on dogs, learning how to remove them and gathering information about the different types of products made on the market to address these parasites are the subjects to be discussed in this article. We´ll also talk about ways to prevent getting ticks.
Many are the causes that lead to a dog scratching continually: nutritional deficiency, external parasites (mites, ticks, lice and fleas), environmental allergies, food allergies and dry skin. Ticks are external parasites, meaning they live outside the body of animals. They feed themselves with their blood, especially from dogs and cats. Besides the skin irritations that these parasites generate, they can also transmit diseases to both dogs and people. Each tick lays about 1000 eggs per month and during spring and summer the high temperatures and humidity cause these eggs to burst, increasing the risk of infection. Ticks can be anywhere on the dog’s body, but the places they hang out most (and this is an important consideration when removing them) is in the neck, head, ears, feet and between the toes, because these are areas from where they can easily access the animal’s blood.
It´s appropriate to review them frequently, especially when they’ve been to parks, playing with other dogs in the bushes.
Tools to remove ticks
Anti-tick collars: usually made of rubber or plastic; the collar fits over the neck of the animal, and with the skin temperature it slowly releases tickcidal substances that get distributed throughout the animal´s body. The effect usually lasts three months depending on the brand, but some necklaces may last longer.
CARE SHOULD BE TAKEN WHEN THERE ARE SMALL CHILDREN OR OTHER PETS THAT MAY LICK, MANIPULATE OR ACCIDENTALLY TAKE THE COLLAR TO THE MOUTH. IT´S BEST TO CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN BEFORE USING THIS PRODUCT.
Anti-tick pipettes: they´re very effective and easy to apply. One starts breaking the pipette, pouring the content from the neck to the top of the tail. The active substance is distributed on the skin´s fat, so it´s recommended not to give him a bath with shampoo during the 48 hours before or after the application. Treatment should be repeated once a month throughout the year.
CHECK WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN THE INDICATED DOSE ACCORDING TO THEIR WEIGHT AND SIZE, ESPECIALLY IF HE´S A PUPPY, IN ORDER TO AVOID POISONING.
- Shampoos, soaps, baths and sprays: the common feature of these products is the short duration of the protective effect of 2-4 days, well below collars and pipettes.
Soaps, shampoos and lotions are ready for use, but the bath concentrates must be diluted before application. When the dilution is incorrect, this can produce a toxic overdose for the pet, and underdosing can lead to ineffective treatment. Care and attention toward the instructions for proper use of this product are vital to the health of the animal.
If the tick isn´t very anchored in the skin, it can be removed with special pliers for this. Don´t try to pull out the tick with your hand or in an abrupt way because this may damage the skin of the animal, and there is a risk that the tick doesn´t leave completely and the head stays firmly attached to the dog’s skin. If you suspect this has happened it´s better to go to the vet.
What should I do if I decide to personally remove ticks from my dog?
Always wear gloves, for a bite could transmit infectious bacteria.
Apply a cotton ball soaked in alcohol to drown the tick and thus make it easier to remove.
Once removed, wash that area with soap and water and apply a disinfectant.
Permanent prevention is the best way for removing ticks. In order to achieve this, the following is recommended:
Applying a tickcidal product to the dog during the whole year to keep ticks away from him, in addition to always cleaning the area where he spends most of his time.
Revising him after walks, especially if he´s been to places with bushes and playing with other dogs.
Treatments should be repeated once the effectiveness period is expired (it depends on the product).
Note: if you are interested in more information about dog ticks, you can receive a notification when I publish the e-book in which I have been working during the past year, which includes more information on ticks and prevention of accidents in dogs. Sign up for our email newsletter in order to get notified.
IT´S IMPORTANT TO ASK YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT THE PRODUCTS AVAILABLE FOR TICKS REMOVAL, AND IF YOU HAVE ANY CHILDREN AND/OR OTHER PETS, ASK FOR THE BEST WAY TO AVOID ACCIDENTS AND INFECTIONS.