Although the summer months bring lots of positives, finding a tick on your dog has to be one of the biggest negatives. This is just when they are a common find, but ticks can be an issue all year round. This is why it is a good idea to inspect your dog after a walk and use bath time as an opportunity to check. But, even though they are a common sight, just how dangerous are they to dogs? We take a look at this, and other related questions.
What Are Ticks?
These eight-legged pests are common parasites that drink blood and start small yet can swell as they take their fill and have a rubbery texture as they feed. Although they like to snack on dogs it is not uncommon for them to bite humans should the chance arise.
Can Ticks Carry Diseases For Dogs?
This is one of the main reasons it is good to spot them before they can bite. Ticks can carry a host of diseases that include some nasty ones. The likes of Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and rocky mountain spotted fever are some of the most common, and there are others. This is why they can be dangerous for any pet as well as humans.
What Are The Side Effects?
This depends on what disease the ticks transmit but you might find that with Lymes disease they experience swelling of the joints, enlargement of lymph nodes, lethargy, lameness, and a fever. Some diseases can worsen to become fatal as they impact vital organs. For Ehrilichsiosis, a dog might experience a lack of appetite, nose bleeds, or a fever so you can see how some of the symptoms can be transferrable.
What To Do When I Find A Tick On A Dog?
It is important to note that care should be taken to not remove the ticks head from the body as this can cause infection via the mouthpart. You can purchase specialist tick tweezers which are handy to keep around if you have pets. Use these or gloves to handle a tick as the bacteria around their mouth can transmit any disease to a human.
Start by rubbing alcohol on the tick and use the tweezers to hold the tick as close to the dog’s body as possible. Pull in a straight motion, twisting which can cause the body to come away from the head.
Pull slowly as a sudden pull can also leave a feeding head behind. Next, disinfect the area of the bite and wash your hands before placing the tick in a sealable container where it cannot escape. Now, you can either take it to your vet for testing or send it to a lab for testing.
Can Ticks Cause Anemia In Dogs?
Although this is rare, an infestation can draw enough blood to make a dog anemic. This is more likely in a stray that has no protection or an owner to catch the infestation before it worsens.
How Can I Spot Ticks On My Dog?
Some ticks can be particularly small making it difficult for the eye to spot at a glance which is why it is a good idea to take a thorough look, especially after walking in the long grass. They are usually close to or on a dog’s neck and head so you might. either spot a tick or some redness in the area where they have left their mark. A feeding tick is easier to spot due to the swelling of their body.
When brushing your dog it is also a good time to check for ticks and fleas.
How To Prevent Ticks In Dogs
There are certain things you can do to protect your dog from the nasty diseases that ticks can transmit. First of all, using a high-quality tick repellent for dogs can make a huge difference. Not only are they highly effective but they can offer months of protection so you don’t have to reapply for a month. Most of the time you will pick up a 3 months supply and some applications are as easy as swabbing the formula between a dog’s shoulders. Be sure to purchase the right strength for your breed of dog as there are different strengths available.
Other tick prevention methods for dogs include collars. These tend to be more expensive but you can find products that offer six to twelve months of protection so you don’t have to remember to reapply the tick prevention so often.
Can A Dog Tick Bite A Human?
It is not uncommon for these parasites to feast on a human if the chance arises. The most common area tends to be around the legs so if you are wearing shorts in long grass, be sure to check yourself over regularly. If you find one biting your leg it is best to get checked over by your doctor and keep the tick so it can be tested. Some of the common diseases can also impact humans so it is best to get the tick tested.
Are Ticks Common?
This all depends on where you live. There are certain places you can find the forecast for ticks around the world so you can see how likely it is that you will encounter a tick on your walk. If you do live in these areas then it is best to check you. and your family members, including your pets before you re-enter the house, particularly if you have been walking in the bush and long grass.
What Are The Signs Of A Tick Infestation?
Any time you find a tick in your home or on your body around the house, you could have a tick infestation. Since they like to hide in warm, moist parts of the body, you might find them under your armpit or in other hard to inspect places. Some of the common signs of a tick infestation are when a family member experiences some of the side effects.
These include fever, body aches, chills, headaches, fatigue and can be visible in the form of a rash. If you are concerned that a family member has been bitten by a tick and is showing any of these side effects it is best to consult a doctor at the earliest convenience.