Tick infestation

You may recall the post in 2014 on Ticks and Keeping your dog Tick free. Well it seems ticks have been fighting back; you may have seen in the media recently of the large number of tick infected dogs.

Researchers from the Big Tick Project found 1 in 3 dogs checked were found to be carrying a tick and also the risk of pets picking up a tick is as great in urban as in rural locations, which is a huge finding when it is understood that ticks are mostly found in woodland and long grass areas. It is thought due to the warmer climate and milder winters of recent years, Britain’s tick population has been able to thrive, which in turn puts animals at greater risk of tick infestation. Areas greatly affected by this increase are Scotland, East Anglia and the South West.

It is not only animals that can be affected, due to the many diseases ticks can carry. The tick can attach itself to humans walking through long grass just the same as an animal. Lyme disease is a potential risk which can cause a series of health conditions including meningitis and heart failure, which could be fatal.

How can I check if my dog has ticks? You should check regularly for any small lumps by running your hand over the body of your dog, Ticks will attach themselves very firmly anywhere, but common places are around the feet, head, neck and ears and are roughly 1mm to 1cm in length. Ticks can be black, brown or tan and they have eight legs with an egg shaped body which grows and gets darker as it fills with blood. They can also be tiny: some species are only as large as the head of a pin. Be careful to make sure it is definitely a tick before you try and remove it. Some older dogs get warts, so be careful not to mistake a tick for a wart!

How to get rid of ticks?

Only use a tick remover. These are readily available from pet shops and vet practices. Gently press the remover against your pet’s skin near the tick. Slide the notch of the remover under the tick, pulling it free. Take care to remove all the tick, any part of it remaining in your dog could cause infection. If unsure, your vet practice will always give advice and help with ticks.

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Keeping your dog tick free and grooming your dog is an important part of a dog owners duties, it helps keep your dog healthy and keeping your dog tick and parasite free from living in their fur, the main ones to look out for our tick’s and fleas. In addition grooming helps the owner and dog bond, it is recommended to regularly groom your dog from an early age, most dogs enjoy being brushed, it also allows the dog to get used being touched in area’s which may be checked by the Vet later in life.

There are a lot of good quality tick and flea products available to help keeping your dog tick free and are also very good at repelling flea’s however some of the best repellents will not prevent parasites from latching on to your pet. If your dog spends a lot of its time outside regular checks should be permitted, after walks in woodland, leafy or long grassy area’s should cause for more attention as these are prime tick hang out areas.

Checking for tick’s

It is not uncommon to stumble across a tick when playing and stroking your dog it is important to check your dog regularly. Run your hands over your dog’s body paying attention to feel for any bump or swollen area, if you feel something suspect check to see if a tick has burrowed it’s self in that surrounding area. Be sure to check all over including between toes and under belly, face and ears, inside of ears are a common place to find ticks as they latch on when running in long grass and fields. Ticks are not always black and can be of different shades of brown, they can also be very tiny, not much bigger than a pin head, please check carefully.

It is noteworthy to be aware of checking yourself and family members after walks or activities in these prime parasite environments, dogs can directly transmit tick borne illnesses to people. A tick may enter your home on your dog’s back and then move on to you or another pet or vice versa.

Removing a tick safely

If your dog is unfortunate enough to have a tick, it will require to be removed however don’t panic!

1: Things you will need
– Pair of latex gloves (often can be found in a first aid kit)
– Clean pair of tweezers
– Antiseptic wipes

2: Removing the tick
– Make sure to wear the gloves ticks can transmit diseases to humans
– Grasp the tick as close to the dog’s skin as possible, try not to pinch the skin
– Once you have got a firm grasp of the tick at the head pull outwards in a straight swift motion removing as much as the tick possible.
– Clean the wound with the antiseptic wipes.
– If a small part of the tick remains try not to worry it will eject it’s self in time.

3: The removed tick
It can be a good idea to keep the tick for a short while in a small container of alcohol and mark the date. This is just a precaution in case your dog does happen to become ill and the evidence could help the veterinarian best treat your pet

4: Give your dog some love
Make sure the wound is clean as possible with the antiseptic wipes and be sure to clean the tweezers and wash your hands.
The ordeal is over; reward your dog with a treat or just some play time.

*Be aware of any symptoms of tick-borne diseases. Symptoms to watch out for are loss of appetite, fever, fatigue or lameness. Keep an eyes on the area the tick was removed for any possible indication of infection if you are at all concern at any time consult your registered Vet.