We are in the midst of Tick season and the population only seems to be growing each Spring. Owners are looking for information on how to prevent and/or repel the nasty little buggers from attaching onto their dogs. These bugs carry diseases such as Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. Tick season approximately begins in the early Spring and lasts until late Fall (or until the frost comes). Nothing is more important than keeping you, your family and your animals safe when out on adventures. Being educated on what to look for, how to prevent ticks and how to remove ticks when found, will help you do just that!
Prevention and Tick Location
Ticks LOVE long grass, weeds, brush and wooded areas. Contrary to popular belief, ticks only feed on their hosts, they do not live on their hosts. Ticks attach to their hosts to feed and then they let go. Before you enter a tick habitat with your dog, spray them with a dog friendly bug spray. You can find this at just about any pet store or you can make your own!
Here is my favorite store bought brand of dog-friendly bug repellent: Fur-Freshener bug spray for dogs made by Legendary Canine. TIP: this is a great deet-free option for kids and even you!
Here is an easy recipe if you are interested in making your own dog-friendly bug spray:
20 drops lemongrass oil
20 drops eucalyptus oil
½ cup of water
Mix into a spray bottle and use before every walk!
Optional: 20 drops cedar wood, 20 drops citronella or 2 tablespoons of white vinegar TIP: if adding more oil to the recipe, be sure to dilute with more water accordingly. If you are adding the extra ingredients, add ½ cup of water more.
Please note that there are a ton of different recipes, do your research and find out which one best suits your animal(s)!
Many owners are unaware of the common areas to check your dog for ticks. Here is a detailed diagram that illustrates the most common areas that ticks may attach to your dog
Be vigilant when in these areas with your dog. Make sure to check them over to insure that they do not have a tick after your walk.
Removing Ticks From Dogs
What You’ll Need
- A tick remover or tick key, if you do not have either of these, grab some pointy tweezers and use those instead.
- Rubbing alcohol or antiseptic wipes
- Jar with lid
Once you have acquired all of the necessary tools, you are ready to remove the tick!
How to Remove a Tick
- First, put your gloves on. This is simply to protect you from any infectious fluids that the tick my have.
- Second, spread the hair away from the tick so that you have a better idea of the size of the tick and where the tick has attached.
- Third, using your tick remover, tick key or a pair of fine tip tweezers, grab the tick as close to the mouth as possible and quickly pull up. TIP: do not twist, jerk, or fidget with the tick while trying to pull it out. This may cause a piece of the tick to get left in your dog’s body. If this happens, please see your vet to get the rest out for you.
- Next, put rubbing alcohol into the jar (just a bit, you do not need much) and drop the tick in. This will kill the tick. TIP: keep the tick in the jar for a few days so that you have it in case your dog shows signs of a tick related disease. That way you can have the tick tested to find out exactly what your dog has contracted.
- Clean the bite area with an antiseptic wipe to help prevent infection.
- Lastly, keep an eye on your dog and the bite area for a few days to make sure the area is healing properly. TIP: if you see any signs of infection or abnormal behavior from your dog, see your veterinarian.
Please do not let this stop you from going out and enjoying the outdoors with your dog. Keep your dog-friendly bug spray with you and check your dog over post walk. Have a great time out there and enjoy all that spring/summer has to offer!