With the warmer weather here in Savannah, many of my doggy daycare buddies have been spending more time outdoors with their humans. They have been playing in the parks, going for hikes, and even hanging out in their backyards. However, I, THE Original Hipster Hound, Rex, have been warning them to be on the lookout for ticks.
What are TICKS!? Ticks are tiny parasites that can be found lurking in grassy areas and forests. They require hosts to feed from and can transfer fatal diseases from one host to another, including humans and especially dogs. However, our humans can learn how to identify and keep their furry friends safe with my tips below.
Types of Ticks
- Deer Tick/Blacklegged Tick: Most commonly found in wooded areas; small, reddish brown in color and get darker as they feed; can transmit Lyme disease
- American Dog Tick: Found in humid locations, closer to water; brown in color with white specks on their back; turn gray and resemble a small bean or grape as they feed; can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia
- Lone Star Tick: Live in wooded areas near water and along rivers and creeks; brown/tan color with a distinctive white spot on the center of their backs; can carry dangerous diseases
- Brown Dog Tick/House Tick/Kennel Tick: Brown in color; can survive indoors in houses and kennel environments; can be found in colder climates around the world; not known to transmit any diseases to humans
Inspecting Your Dog for Ticks
After any outdoor adventure, you should check your dog for ticks ASAP. Slide your hands and fingers over his body to check for any unusual small bumps, especially around their ears, head, neck, groin, armpits, and paws. Remember: ticks do vary in size and will get bigger as they feed on the blood.
Removing & Killing Ticks
If you find a tick on your dog, don’t panic. Grab some rubber gloves and tweezers. Then, pluck the tick with the tweezers, being sure to remove both the head and body. Pull it away from your dog’s skin but don’t crush it. Dispose of the tick in rubbing alcohol to completely kill it. Finally, clean the area of your dog’s skin where the tick bit with soap and water. To be extra thorough, you can bathe your dog using a flea and tick shampoo like Kin & Kind’s from The Hipster Hound.
The best way to protect your furry friend from the harmful spread of ticks is with the regular use of tick prevention medication. They are poisonous to insects but not harmful to mammals. The medication absorbs into a dog’s bloodstream, and then the tissue fluids just under their skin, where it’s transferred to any biting ticks, thus killing them. You will need a prescription from your vet, who will recommend the best type of tick prevention medication for your dog.
So this summer, don’t let ticks get you and your pup down! Know what ticks look like, feel all over your dog’s body for them, remove them quickly, and continue to administer preventative medication. It’s that simple!
Rex, The Original Hipster Hound