Ticks in dogs
Be well prepared for the discomfort of ticks. The Tick Guide from Vetsend tells you everything you should do in case of a tick bite.
Ticks are arachnid critters that temporarily feed on blood and can therefore spend long periods of time on your dog. They attach themselves to the skin and this is not always without consequences. How can you recognize ticks in your animal, what are the risks and what should you do to remove and prevent them? You can read that in this article.
What does a tick look like on a dog?
A tick is very small, only 1-3 mm in size. You can therefore easily overlook them. Especially if your dog has a thick, long coat and if the tick is not engorged. The tick is then flat and can vary in size from a pinhead to a few millimetres. A tick attaches itself to the skin with its mouth. They are especially visible when they are engorged. They look a bit like a brown or grey wart with legs. Sometimes the ticks walk over the coat looking for a suitable place to attach themselves. They mainly attach themselves to the thinly furred parts of your dog, so on the ears, neck, skin folds, groin and armpits.
How can my dog become infected with ticks?
Ticks are found throughout the country in forests, dunes, heathlands, sheltered meadows, parks and gardens. A tick infestation is more common in dogs than cats and is seasonal. Sheep ticks are mainly active in the months of March to December and the Dermacentor tick shows peaks in September-November and March-April.
Can dogs get sick from a tick bite?
Dogs, but also people and other pets, can get sick from a tick bite. The tick can cause inflammation where it attaches itself. This can cause itching and irritation.
In addition, ticks can transmit diseases to your dog. Think of Lyme disease. Around 10% of ticks in the United Kingdom are infected with the Lyme bacteria. Dogs infected with Lyme can develop vague symptoms just like people. Symptoms that may be associated with Lyme disease include:
- Joint pain
- Neurological phenomena
- Poor appetite
- Kidney problems
- Skin changes
In addition to Lyme disease, ticks can also transmit other diseases, such as Anaplasmosis (in the UK and abroad), Ehrlichiosis (ticks abroad) and Babesiosis (ticks abroad). The transfer of a bacterium, virus or parasite usually does not take place earlier than 24 to 48 hours after attachment, so it is important to always remove a tick as quickly as possible. Always make a note in your diary when your dog has had a tick. If your pet becomes ill in the period after a tick bite, always report to your vet that he/she has had a tick or that he/she has been abroad.
What can I do to protect my dog from ticks?
There are several things you can do to protect your dog from ticks:
- Check your dog daily for ticks. After every walk and especially if your dog has been in wooded areas, tall grass or heathland. Check the whole body, but mainly the thinly hairy parts such as armpits, groin, head and ears.
- Use a product that protects your dog from ticks
- No product protects 100%. Remove ticks from your dog as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours in connection with the transfer of pathogens.
How to remove a tick from a dog
- Always use tick tweezers or tick card to completely remove a tick with mouth and body. You grab the tick as close to the skin as possible with the tick tweezers. You remove the tick by gently pulling on the tick with a twisting motion or straight up until it releases. Then wrap the tick in tape and throw it away.
- Never squeeze or prick an attached tick and do not use alcohol, heat or soap before removing a tick. The tick can then transmit diseases more quickly. After removing the tick, you can disinfect the skin with alcohol or iodine. Also, clean the tick remover after use.
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