Ticks are more dangerous to animals than humans, as they don’t have flexible fingers to treat them, so they resort to pawing and biting, which can lead to a series of different problems. Today we’ll talk about everything pet-owners need to know about ticks on dogs, so, without any further ado, let’s dive straight into it.
Ticks don’t drop dead in winter
Many dog-owners believe ticks are spring and summer creatures, abandoning this practice as soon as the temperature falls a bit. Sadly, many types of ticks can resist harsh temperatures, and they will continue to be active, although they pose a slightly smaller threat to both dogs and humans in snowy regions.
Given that they can be smaller than a single centimeter, ticks won’t give off any clues around their hiding places, so it’s usually best to avoid grassy areas, even when they are completely covered with snow.
The tick lifecycle
The lifecycle of ticks is comprised of four stages, including the eggs (unhatched), larvae, nymph, and adult.
Female ticks that manage to survive wintertime will lay eggs in grassy areas during spring time. They typically hatch in summer as larvae; even in this state, they’re still parasites that can latch onto dogs given that they possess a sufficient amount of intellect to pick good hiding spots.
Larvae ticks morph into nymphs after eating a sufficient quantity of blood. They will essentially leave the host (dog) until the transformation is complete, after which they will begin looking for another host. Nymph ticks are, by far, the highest threat, as they are known transmitters of the infamous Lymph disease.
Again, after having sustained themselves, nymphs will reach the final stage – adulthood. Adults typically look for bigger hosts, and given that they’re capable of reproduction, they’re as big of a threat as nymphs, even without the ability to transmit the Lymph disease.
Whenever your dog goes outside, check it for ticks just in case
It’s better to be safe than sorry; despite the fact that your dog won’t catch ticks every single time it’s taken outside, there’s still a chance.
Ticks have a basic understanding of areas that are frequented by humans and animals, and they’ll do their best to hide on grass leaves that are high enough for them to board your dog’s fur. They can’t jump nor fly; they can only climb on the coat of your pet as it walks by.
Common areas where ticks hide
It’s easy to miss a tick since they’re so small. There are several areas that they frequent more than others, including your dog’s head, ears, toes, tail, groin, eyelids, collar, and armpits.
It’s fairly common for a dog to knock ticks off taller grass leaves, which would place them at ground level. Under the condition that your dog has done this and they’ve for whatever reason decided to stay put for a few seconds, the first spot a tick will attack would be your pet’s toes. If they’re not on the toes themselves, they tend to hide between them, and only rarely below the toes, by the footpads.
Given that dogs are diving face-first pretty much everywhere they go, their faces and ears are more exposed to ticks than the rest of their body parts. Starved larvae wouldn’t pay too much mind to where they’ve latched onto while more patient ticks would try to hide behind your pet’s ears, or even go deep inside them.
Longtails are just as exposed to ticks as your pet’s feet and toes. However, some dogs have remarkably furry tails in which ticks can hide for days and weeks. Given that ticks prefer dark regions, they’ll sometimes climb up towards your pet’s groin or descend towards the armpits.
Although ticks don’t find dog collars as ideal locations, loosely worn collars offer a perfect hiding spot, especially if your dog has a thicker coat of fur.
One of the main problems with ticks is that they can relocate before they decide which body part they’ll use as their new feeding ground. For instance, if you dismiss the notion of a tick hiding behind your dog’s ears simply because you haven’t gone past any tall grass leaves, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be there.
Once you’ve located the tick, it’s extremely important to handle the removal part with caution. Partially removed ticks can still cause infections and are as much of a threat as unremoved ones. There are two common options when it comes to removing these pests, including manual removal with tweezers and tick removers.
Use tweezers to grasp the insect and turn the tick as if you were removing a screw (clockwise/counter-clockwise). Never remove it by pulling it straight, as this is almost sure to leave a bit of it behind. Tick removers are automatic, so just press these devices against your dog’s skin and slide the remover’s notch.
Cleaning your dog’s wounds
Use sterile gauze to stop the bleeding after treating the wound with an antiseptic spray. Check the surrounding area for any wounds that your pet may have inflicted upon itself while trying to paw the tick away.
Always collect the tick
Instead of disposing of the insect into the trash, pick it up and show it to your veterinarian. Once you’ve taken your dog for a control, bring the tick as well; if you want to preserve it for better identification, keep it in a jar with isopropyl alcohol.
There are numerous types of ticks, and by identifying which one has attacked your dog, the veterinarian can treat the symptoms more accurately.
We hope that this rundown was useful to you and that you have learned something new today on ticks and dogs. Make sure you are staying safe in these times we are all going through and have a good one, guys!