Over the last couple of weeks, the weather has changed significantly and it’s safe to say that we’re now into Autumn. As beautiful as it is this time of year, it’s also breeding ground for insects such as ticks.
If you’re a dog owner the weather doesn’t put you off from walking, in fact, in some woodland areas this time of year you will find walks more picturesse and adventurous. All responsible owners should have their dogs vaccinated against all creepy crawlies, such as; worms, fleas, and ticks.
It’s never nice for your dog to catch any of these insects, but if they were to catch ticks, this particular insect can cause serious harm and in some cases; fatality.
Recognising a tick on your dog’s body
Depending on the length of your dog’s hair, a tick can be hard to detect. However, they are big enough to feel should you run your hands over your dog’s body to feel for any lumps or bumps. Most often a tick will feel like a small lump on your dog’s skin.
Ticks look like spider-like and come in an egg shape. They’re cream and pale brown in colour and are better known for sucking blood off a dog or human. They do vary in size, normally from 1mm to 1cm in length, depending on their age.
Ticks like to attach themselves to your dog’s neck, ears, and paws. Giving them a good brush after a long walk can help remove any pesky ticks that have attached themselves to their fur.
Common places for ticks
They’re most commonly found in grassland and heath areas and in woodland. You can also find them in your garden if you live near lots of wildlife. Normally where there is lots of sheep and dear you will find ticks.
Ticks are most common during spring and autumn, although they are active throughout the year. Ticks are unable to fly or even jump. They can, however, drop onto your dog’s coat should they brush past an area where they’re hanging out.
How to safely remove ticks from your dog’s body
This has to be done with precision and safety. When removing the tick, you must ensure not to squeeze the tick too hard so that its head is stuck in your dog’s body. If the head was to become stuck in your dog’s body it may release blood into your dog’s system, thus causing the increased risk of infection.
The best method is to always have handy a tick-removal device that most pet stores and veterinary practices sell. This device allows you to safely remove any tick by twisting them ever so gently.
Ticks do carry diseases, so you must remove any ticks present after your dog’s walk. It should be routine that they are checked and rubbed down after a long walk in a possible infected tick area. Removing ticks quickly can help prevent any risk of infection.
Protecting your dog from ticks
Ticks are exceptionally good at passing infections on from one animal to another animal. They do this by feeding on an animal’s blood. Once they’ve had enough (which can take several days) they drop off.
These pesky little creatures carry microbes that cause the diseases, this can result in Babesiosis and Lymes disease.
As mentioned previously, you should check your dog thoroughly after every walk. This can be done by giving them a good brushing and rub down.
It’s also worth giving your dog regular treatments to help prevent any serious harm should they be bitten by one. There are treatments that can actually repel or kill a tick should they come into contact. You must consult your vet for the best treatment available for your dog.
The symptoms of Lyme disease
Lyme disease is on the rise within the UK and can cause serious health implications should your dog, that is not vaccinated be bitten by a tick or even yourself. If your dog has been bitten you may notice a change in the behaviour, such as the onset of depression and loss of appetite. They can also suffer from painful and swollen joints, fever and swollen lymph nodes. If your dog is showing any of these symptoms you must take them to the vets immediately.