How to check your dog for ticks

Although dogs make the best pets to go on long walks with, they can also easily pick up ticks along the way. Ticks can often be found in long grass or wooded areas, and usually wait for a warm-blooded host which they can attach to and feed on. This is why you’ll most commonly find them attached to your dog after you’ve been on a long, grassy walk.

Your dog most likely won’t show signs of having a tick, as they release a natural pain killer when they bury their heads in to their host, which is why you must check their fur regularly.

You can spot ticks by brushing your hands through their fur and feeling for any small bumps on the skin. Toes, ears, armpits, tails and heads are also all common areas for ticks to hide, so be sure to check these areas too.

Once a tick has embedded itself in to your dog’s skin, it will begin to feed. Ticks can then vary in size depending on how long they have been there.

If you find a tick, you must ensure that it’s removed as soon as possible, as infection can begin to occur after 24 hours. To remove the tick, you can use a tick removal tool which can be purchased from a pet shop.

Once the tick is removed, you must ensure that your dog is bathed in warm, soapy water and you can dispose of the tick either by flushing it down the toilet or placing it in alcohol.

Never attempt to remove a tick by using petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail varnish or any other products, as these can harm your dog and can cause the tick to release disease-carrying saliva. It’s also not a good idea to remove a tick using tweezers as this can crush or break the tick, increasing the risk of infection.

If you’re still unsure of how to successfully remove a tick, then please seek veterinary advice.

Ticks can carry a number of diseases which can cause a real danger to your dog. Common tick-borne diseases include:

  • Lyme disease
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Babesiosis

They can also affect people as well as dogs, so be sure to check your dog often and thoroughly to ensure that any ticks are found and removed as early as possible.