As devoted pet parents, ensuring our canine companions lead healthy, happy lives is a top priority. However, one of the most common and potentially dangerous threats to our furry friends comes in the form of tiny, blood-sucking pests: ticks. These minuscule creatures may be small, but their impact on your dog’s well-being can be substantial.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about ticks on dogs, from understanding their life cycle and habits to effective prevention strategies and safe removal techniques. Whether you’re a seasoned pet owner or a first-time puppy parent, this article is packed with invaluable insights, rooted in both veterinary science and practical experience.
Ticks are tiny parasites (not insects but fall in the category of arachnids – scorpions/spiders/mites) with eight legs and no antennae. They attach themselves to the fur of the pets and suck on blood. Ticks look like little bumps on your pet’s skin and can attach themselves around a dog’s head, neck, ears, and paws. Gardens, parks or patches of tall grass are common breeding grounds where dogs may pick up ticks.
Dog Tick symptoms
Ticks can unleash a plethora of problems for your pet. While it isn’t always easy to spot these tiny bloodsuckers, the common symptoms include fever, itching, inflamed skin/bumps/red sores, loss of appetite and lethargy.
Humans can catch Lyme disease from ticks, just as dogs can.
How to prevent ticks on dogs?
Dogs may get infected by ticks which cling on to their fur during their walks in or around tick-infested yards, tall grasses and dense vegetation. Even indoors, there are few tick breeds which may make their home on rugs and furniture. Ticks wait for host animals on the tips of grasses and shrubs.
During your dog’s walks or plays, if he brushes past the vegetation, the tick can quickly climb onto him. This is referred to as questing. While you must sanitise corner areas in your house with due care to thwart ticks and fleas, it is also advisable to wash blankets, linen, and cushion covers regularly.
Always check your dog and yourself for ticks after a walk and remove them quickly.
Symptoms of tick?
Ticks are relatively easier to spot because of their size – they look like spiders and get bloated and darker as they hold on to a host. Try patting your dog and run your hand along with the fur, if you sense any lumps – look closer. If left too long or not removed entirely, ticks can cause some serious diseases like hypersensitivity, anaemia, tick fever, skin infections, muscle weakness, Lyme, and hepatozoonosis by transmitting bacteria and microbes when they bite an animal or human.
How to get rid of dog fleas?
Removing fleas by hand is relatively trickier as they move around quite fast and can jump off your pet’s fur as well. An easier solution is to get rid of them by giving your dog a bath with medicated shampoo. Depending upon the infestation, the vet may advise repeating the baths every two weeks till your dog gets free of the fleas.
Home remedy for dog ticks
When it comes to eradicating the threat of ticks and fleas, cleaning up your home is just as important as giving your dog a timely bath. Look out for hidden corners, and your dog’s bedding and sprinkle some anti-tick spray powder.
1. Manual tick removal Although often hard to dislodge, you may remove ticks with the help of tweezers. If you spot a tick, please remember not to squeeze the tick’s body as it may cause them to expel blood into the dog, multiplying the risk of infection.
Brushing your dog regularly can also help you to keep a close eye out for any potential ticks.
2. Medicated Shampoos and powders control and prevent ticks and fleas. In case of flea bite allergies, fungal skin infections, and pyoderma, you may administer a course of Furglow, a blend of Omega fatty acids.
In case your dog is sick or if you are unable to shampoo your dog regularly, you may try spray baths to keep your dog’s hygiene in check.
3. Natural remedies also work great against ticks and fleas. However, you need to ensure avoiding the sensitive area around the dog’s eyes.
4. Herbal tick collars –Mix 2 tablespoons almond oil with Rose Geranium Oil. Dab a few drops on your dog’s collar or neck area before heading out.
5. Lemon juice – Prepare a homemade citrus solution by putting lemons in boiled water overnight. Spray the solution all over the dog, especially behind the ears, around the head, at the base of the tail and in the armpits. You may similarly prepare Orange oil, also a tick repellent.
6. Neem oil – Rub a few drops of neem oil on the affected area. Neem oil has anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties and can help fight off ticks and fleas.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar – Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (without honey) to your dog’s food or water bowl as a preventative measure against ticks and fleas.
8. Eucalyptus Oil – Boil 15-20 Eucalyptus leaves in a litre of water for approximately 10 minutes. Use it after 3-4 hours… once it cools down by spraying on your dog’s fur to ward off ticks.
9. Tea Tree Oil and Cinnamon Oil with their medicinal properties also help in getting rid of ticks.
Ticks are indeed unwanted guests that neither you nor your dog desires. So if you notice them, please remove them safely, and in case of any concern, reach out to your veterinarian at the earliest. Here’s wishing your pooch the very best of summer and spring cleaning, tick the above preventive and prescription measures and help your puppy say NO to ticks!
Got any other tips to get rid of ticks on dogs? Please suggest in the comments below.