5 Places to Regularly Check Your Dog for Ticks
You’ve probably heard about the horrors of Lyme disease, but this is only one of the horrible diseases that ticks have been known to carry. Though they are most abundant during the summer and fall, ticks are a risk for your dog all year-round and you should never let your guard down. Keep reading to learn about the different diseases that ticks carry and where to look when checking your dog for ticks.
What Diseases Do Ticks Carry?
There are many different kinds of ticks that can be found throughout the United States and Canada. Some ticks are known for carrying specific diseases while others carry any and all of them. Here is a quick overview of the diseases ticks have been known to carry:
- Lyme Disease – Carried by the deer tick, Lyme disease can affect both pets and people, causing an infection in the tissues that can lead to lameness and other symptoms.
- Ehrlichosis – Transmitted by the brown dog tick, this disease can cause a chronic infection of the white blood cells that may eventually make its way into your dog’s bone marrow, impacting the production of red blood cells.
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever – Carried by the American dog tick and the lone star tick, this disease comes on suddenly and lasts for two weeks – if not treated, it can be fatal.
- Anaplasmosis – Transmitted by the deer tick and western black-legged tick, anaplasmosis is an infection of the blood that can lead to lethargy, lameness, and unexpected bleeding.
- Hepatozoonosis – Carried by the Gulf Coast tick or brown dog tick, this disease can cause lethargy and weight loss as well as depression, fever, and pain.
- Babesiosis – Transmitted by brown dog ticks, babesiosis is an infection of the red blood cells that can lead to lethargy, weakness, vomiting, and weight loss.
Learning the difference between different types of ticks and educating yourself about the types of ticks found in your area is always a good idea. Keep reading to learn more about where to look for ticks and how to remove one if you find it.
Where Should You Look for Ticks?
Because ticks are so small, your dog is unlikely to notice that he is carrying them – that is why it is up to you to check him. You should always give your dog a quick once-over when you come in from outside, but there are some other signs to look for which may indicate that your dog has a tick. If you find a tick in your home, for example, you’d better check your dog. You should also check him if he develops a fever, has unexplained scabs, if he shakes his head a lot, or if you feel bumps on his skin.
When checking your dog for ticks, there are five key places to look:
- On his head
- Around his ears
- Under his armpits
- Under the tail
- Between his toes
If you find a tick, make sure you remove it carefully so you don’t leave the head embedded in your dog’s skin. Take a pair of tweezers and firmly grasp the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible then gently twist as you pull it out. Clean your dog’s skin with mild soap and water then dispose of the tick properly by drowning it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.
Tiny though they may be, ticks can cause some big problems for you and your dog. Do not make the mistake of assuming that ticks are not a risk if the weather is cold – your dog can still get ticks in the winter! Make sure your dog is protected with a medicated collar or a monthly topical treatment and check him often, just to be safe.
Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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