What to do if your dog has ticks?

You always smear yourself with insect repellent whenever you go to grassy and wooded areas. This is a precautionary measure against malaria, Dengue fever, Lyme disease and other arthropod borne diseases. If you are protecting yourself from bug bites don’t you think it is also necessary to protect your friend and loyal companion? Dogs love to sniff and to romp in woody spots. Fido would be in dog’s paradise if it is allowed by its master to roll in tall grasses and to chase the occasional rabbit. However, danger lurks in these tall, soft and sweet smelling grasses. Fleas and ticks are just waiting for the dog to come near.

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What is a tick?

Ticks are parasites that live and hide on plants and tall grasses. The warmth and the vibrations of an animal’s motion attract these arthropods so that when the dog passes, the tick would be ready to jump unto the dog and latch its teeth to the animal’s skin. The tick would now have a sucking spree and feast on the dog’s blood. Once the tick is locked in place, this parasite would continuously feed on the dog’s blood until it has gorged itself. A tick that has not feed would be the size of a pencil point but one that is engorged with blood would be as big as a corn kernel.

Tick-borne diseases

Ticks are dangerous not only to a dog’s health but to human’s health as well. Some ticks may not carry diseases but most are vectors that would transmit diseases to the host. Lyme disease, fever, anemia and swelling and weakening of joints that would cause temporary paralysis of the dog are some of the effects of tick infestation.

Signs of tick infestation

It could take days or weeks for the sign of tick infestation to appear. Fevers, loss of appetite, lethargy, difficulty in walking are some of the signs.  It was noticed that once the tick is removed these symptoms will also disappear.

Helping the pet

Obviously, the first thing that has to be done is to remove the ticks. For this you would need tweezers as aside from the fact that the pesky parasites are hard to remove by bare hands, the tick can also latch its head to your hand. Make sure that the tick is firmly grasped by the tweezers but be extra careful not to squeeze the tick or the bacteria and whatever disease it is carrying will be injected to the dog. The traditional methods of removing fleas would be effective in controlling ticks too. Ticks collars, tick dips and baths are readily available from pet supply shops. But do remember to follow application directions carefully so as not to cause harm to the dog that was already irked by the pest.

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