Classified as parasites, ticks land on warm-blooded hosts for their daily blood diet. Dogs are one of their favorite hosts. But aside from sucking blood, which in itself poses dangers to the dog, ticks can also transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichiosis. To protect your dog from such health risks, it is important to regularly check him for ticks. Here’s how you can do this.
- Watch out for symptoms. Tick’s blood sucking makes your dog itchy and restless. He may also be noticeably weak and sluggish. He may lose his appetite, may have fever, and may even have skin infections and swollen limbs due to tick bites. If you notice any of these symptoms, it may be an indication that your dog has ticks.
- Examine the dog’s body. The easiest way to know for sure if your dog has ticks is to examine his body. Gently move your hand along the length of his back and down to his sides. Feel if there is any lump. If there is, part the fur and check if it is a tick. In some cases, a lump may be a skin scald or wound. From the back, work your way to the dog’s chest and tummy. Be careful, though, as your dog may be quite sensitive in this area. Best to slowly comb your fingers through the fur. If he is not agitated, proceed gently. You may need to have your dog lie on his back to examine this area thoroughly.
- Check his legs and feet. Ticks like to stay in areas with less or no fur, making the dog’s legs and feet two of their favorite spots. To inspect the legs, make sure to comb your fingers through all areas, from the armpits down to the feet. Check the feet pads and spread the toes. Look at the skin folds as well since these are a good hiding place.
- Inspect the tail. Feel the dog’s tail for any lump. Again, be careful. Most dogs don’t like being touched in the tail. If your dog is not ready yet for the tail part, let it be. If you push, he may respond with a bite.
- Examine the dog’s head. Comb your fingers through the back of the dog’s head all the way down to the snout, feeling every area as you go through. Then, move your hands to under the chin and down the neck.
- Look at the ears. First inspect the outside of the ears by folding them down. See if there ticks hiding behind the ears. Do not forget the tip of the ears, too. Then, check the inside of the ears. This area is not hairy, making it a perfect tick hideout. You can use a flashlight to see more of the ear.
If you happen to spot a tick, pluck it off using tweezers. Then get rid of it by squishing in a paper or putting in a container with alcohol. Apply medication to the bite site or wash it with soap or shampoo.