Summertime arrived and it’s the perfect time for your puppies to play outdoors.
While your dog loves running through brush-filled woods and lying on the lawns — so do ticks. These tiny invisible parasites can latch onto your puppies, feed on blood, and sometimes transmit serious diseases directly into the dog’s immune system unless you take the proper precautions. Thousands of dogs are infected annually with dangerous tick-transmitted diseases, according to the American Kennel Club. 1
Here's what every pet owner needs to know about identifying and removing ticks, plus how to prevent your puppies from getting bitten, knowing the basics of tick removal and prevention and educate yourself on the risks of disease. With proper knowledge, you can both protect your dog from the threat of ticks and know how to handle a bite should your dog receive one.2
How do I know if my dog has a tick?
Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ticks are big enough to spot. They tend to attach themselves on areas with little to no fur. Therefore, pay special attention to dog’s head, face, neck, ear and feet. Most tick bites can be detected by simply running your hand through your dog's fur, noting any lumps or bumps on the surface, as a tick will feel like a small bump on your pet’s skin.
Not all ticks transmit disease, and just because a tick has been found on your dog doesn't necessarily mean it is infected with something. However, because tick-borne diseases can be life-threatening, the threat of a bite should be taken seriously.3
If you notice signs of illness in conjunction with a tick bite in your dog, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible so that proper testing and necessary treatment can be applied. And do note that symptoms of certain tick-borne diseases can take days, weeks, or even months to appear.
How do I remove a tick on a dog?
Some ticks do carry diseases, so it’s important to remove any that attach themselves to your dog as soon as possible. Rapid removal lessens the risk of disease.
- Grab a pair of fine-tipped tweezers.
- Place the tweezers really, really close to the pet's skin, and clamp down on the tick.
- Gently pull straight (no twisting) out to get the tick free.
If you are not sure that you can successfully remove the tick from your dog, then consider bringing it to the clinic where a veterinarian or technician can remove the tick safely and show you how it’s done. Sometimes, removing embedded ticks could be a delicate operation. 4
Once the tick is removed, you can clean the wound with some alcohol. If you want to make sure that the tick is harmless, you can seal it into a plastic bag or a jar and call your vet for inspection and identification.
How to Prevent Tick Bites?
If you live near woodland, grassland, heath areas or have a garden, where ticks are commonly found, it’s a good idea to use a tick treatment that will either repel ticks or kill them if they attach.
Or you can check your dog every time you come in from the outdoors, especially after walking through wooded areas.
There are also several different types of monthly preventative medications for dogs that prevent tick bites. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a tick preventative that will work best for your breed and age of the dog. 5