Checking Dogs for Ticks

Posted by Mosquito Squad

June 15, 2012

I’ve mentioned him before and I’m sure I will again, but my dog is an important part of my family. My husband and I probably spoil our precious Wiley a little too much, but as long as he gets excited to see me when I get home, it will continue.

Wiley loves walks, and I mean LOVES walks. Some of my girlfriends and I usually get together with our dogs several times a week and go for long walks. The ladies chat and the dogs sniff, sniff and sniff. Unfortunately for them, ticks have put a big damper on their main focus. According to Dogington Times, and like we’ve mentioned before, there are more ticks this year than normal. Despite some thoughts, even with tick medication, dogs can get ticks (the ticks will just die off when after a certain amount of time). And I’ve seen them.

Lucky for their owners, Tucker and Cutter, two of Wiley’s best dog friends, have light fur making it easier to spot ticks. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t at risk of getting them. On one walk, we counted eight (eight!) ticks on Tucker at one time. Eek! With Wiley being black, it’s much harder for me to see ticks, so I have to make sure to check him for ticks after our walks. And I learned the hard way how important it is to be thorough…

Last weekend I was watching TV when my four-legged friend decided he needed some attention. He took his normal “how about rubbing my tummy” position on his back, paws up. I was rubbing his tummy when I noticed a black stop on his inner thigh, a tick. I immediately removed it and checked him again, making sure not to miss a spot.

If you have a dog, or outdoor cat, you’ll want to check him/her any time they’ve spent time outdoors in places ticks may harbor. The best way to do this is to comb your finger through their skin with enough pressure to feel any bumps. If you feel something, separate the fur to see what it is. Make sure that you check behind the ears, between their toes, under their armpits and around their tail too. The size of the tick can be as small as a poppy seed or as big as a grape depending on how long they’ve been attached.

If you find a tick, remove it just like you would if you found a tick on yourself:

1. Using a pair of tweezers, grab the tick as close to the skin as you can.
2. Pull the tick’s body away from the skin (make sure you are pulling straight out and not at an angle).
3. Check to make sure that you got the entire tick out, head and all (easy to do if you place it in a plastic bag).
4. Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet.
5. After removal, clean the skin with soap and warm water.

If you have ticks in your yard, it’s important to use proper tick control techniques to keep you, your family and your friends safe from bites. As always, feel free to contact your local Mosquito Squad if you have questions.