Guide to Dogs and Ticks – Part 3

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In Part 1 of our Dog Owner’s Guide to Ticks we talked about why ticks pose a danger to dogs, the different types of ticks, and where ticks live. Part 2 outlined ways to protect your dog against ticks and Part 3 will explain what to do if you find ticks on your dog, including the proper way to remove a tick from a dog.

As I mentioned previously, we had a lovely hike the other day, followed by several hours of removing ticks from the dogs. Since Emi has short hair, the few ticks on her were easy to spot. In a matter of minutes she was clean and ready for more sunshine.

Luca on the other hand was a mess. Not only was his wet, long fur matted with burs, leaves and sticks but there were about 100 ticks buried in his fur that had to be carefully removed. Luckily he was dog tired and laid patiently still.

Here are some tips on how to safely remove ticks from your dog.

1. Don’t wait, the sooner you remove ticks the easier it will be and the less likely your dog will be to contract a disease from the tick.

2. Lay a light colored sheet out on the floor of your house, preferably a room without carpet. This will allow you to see any “escaping” ticks and to capture them before they start hiding in your carpet or traveling throughout the house.

3. Place your dog on the sheet and thoroughly check your dog for ticks by using a flea comb or slowly working your way through their fur with your hands. You’ll want to gently pull the hair back so you can see all the way down to the skin. Don’t be deceived by dogs with short hair, ticks can still hide under short hair and attach more quickly to the dog’s skin.

Check your dog from head to tail. Pay extra close attention around the head and chest and don’t forget to look inside the ears and between toes and paw pads. Remove the dog’s collar during the examine and check the collar for ticks as well.

4. You’ll need the following tools for safe tick removal:

  • pointy tweezers
  • jar partially filled with water (or rubbing alcohol) or a zipper style plastic bag
  • cotton swabs or cotton balls
  • apple cider vinegar

5. Grasp the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Pull upward with steady, even pressure.

Don’t twist or jerk the tick, you want to avoid breaking off parts of the tick or crushing it while attached to the dog.

how-to-remove-a-tick

6. Place the tick in the jar or plastic bag, you can drown it in the jar or smother it in the bag but keep an eye on them to make sure they are dead. Ticks are hard to kill.

7. Clean the bite area using the apple cider vinegar and cotton swabs or cotton balls.

8. Watch the area for the next several weeks for signs of reaction or infection and notify your veterinarian if you notice anything unusual.

9. When all ticks have been removed you may also want to give your dog a complete bath with a safe dog wash like our Organic Flea Bar or Holistic Bite and Itch Relief Shampoo.

For more information about dogs and ticks visit these resources

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TopDog says:

Oh Rebecca, that is one lucky pup to have you rescue her! I’m thoroughly shocked they would have her available for adoption without taking care of the ticks first, and yes they are treatable although it’s not always an easy road. Our Luca man was covered in fleas and ticks when I found him as well, but luckily with one trip to the vet and a good cleaning we didn’t have to deal with an ongoing problem. Since I’ve never seen an infestation as bad as you’re describing I highly recommend you follow a vet’s advice, if you don’t like the answers you’re getting or don’t feel comfortable with their recommendations you can and should seek a second opinion from another vet. In addition to the bathing and topical treatments your vet may prescribe, you’ll want to remember to keep the dog’s bedding clean by washing and drying on high heat regularly. It will also be easier for your pup to fight any potential illness from the ticks by strengthening her immune system. The Whole Dog Journal has an excellent article on how to strenghten your dog’s immune system at http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/9_5/features/Canine_Immunology_15808-1.html Best of luck Rebecca, please keep us posted on her recovery in hopes of helping others that may run into a similar problem!