Ticks are another common problem that every dog owner needs to be aware of. Ticks can be picked up by dogs in long grass or woodland areas. The ticks can attach themselves to the dog’s head and look like warts. They feed on the dog’s blood and grow in size, and although they will eventually fall off when full, quick removal is essential.
Ticks are the main disease spreader in domestic animals and pass on diseases from one animal to another.
Although ticks need to be removed quickly, it needs to be done carefully to prevent creating more problems for you and your pet.
There are some good products on the market designed specifically for safe tick removal. Ask your vet for further details on which one would be best for you and your pet.
Once a tick is removed, it needs to be placed in a safe container, so do have one to hand. Throwing it in the bin or outside doesn’t necessarily get rid of it permanently, so it’s a good idea to keep hold of it for a while in case your pet becomes ill from the bite. If this happens, take the tick to the vet, who may be able to test for diseases.
You should never have direct contact with the tick or your pet’s bitten area so do use rubber gloves when removing the tick and treating the skin. Ticks can carry bacteria that enter your bloodstream through breaks in your skin or by touching your eyes, nostrils or mouth.
Just as it’s not pleasant for you to remove the tick, it’s not a nice procedure for your pet either. If possible, have someone else help keep the pet still and calm until you’re finished.
Using a tick removal device, grasp the tick firmly as close to the animal’s skin as possible. Pull straight upwards with even pressure, removing the whole tick from the skin, quickly placing the tick in your container.
Do not twist or squeeze the tick, as this may leave parts embedded in your pet, or cause the tick to bring up infective fluids.
If any part of the tick remains in your pet’s skin, it’s best to disinfect it and allow the body to eject it naturally. If the area appears red or inflamed, a warm compress might quicken this process, but do not attempt to remove it with tweezers.
Thoroughly disinfect the bite and surrounding areas of the skin, washing your hands with soap and water (even though you were wearing gloves). You also need to sterilise your tick removal device.
Over the next few weeks, look out for any signs of infection. If the redness doesn’t go away, or gets worse, please take your pet – and the tick – to your vet for testing.
Certain flea treatments can prevent and kill ticks, so ask your vet for advice on which one would be best for your dog.