Are you removing ticks off your dog at home?
Did you find a tick on your dog?
Okay, so now you need to know the best way to get ticks off your dog.
In Australia, most tick bites are caused by the paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus). They start from an egg, and as a nymph, ticks are about 2mm long and pale brown. Only when fed and they become engorged do they grow to full size at 1cm and grey-blue.
Often, they are called grass ticks or bush ticks. However, they are all the paralysis tick.
These ticks need to feed on blood to grow. They crawl up grass, trees, or branches, waiting for a host (animal or human). They are attracted to carbon dioxide, and once they feel their host coming, they will drop or allow the wind to carry them on to the unsuspecting host animal (your dog). They then attach to the skin to feed. Ticks inject a substance to stop the blood clotting. Even saliva can be poisonous. So how do you stop your dog from getting ticks?
We can’t stop ticks from being in our environment, but we can do things to ensure our dogs and other pets in our households are protected.
Prevention and protection are always better than cure.
1. Tick and Flea treatment
Well, you can’t stop them from dropping onto your dog or your dog from brushing past a bush that may have a tick, but you can protect your dog by arming them with a tick and flea treatment all year round like Nexgard Spectra or Simparica which will start killing ticks within 8 hours of application. Each monthly application lasts for 35 days on your dog, so you don’t have to worry if you are a couple of days late applying your subsequent treatment.
2. Tick twister
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Have on hand a good Tick Twister which is a tool designed to help you quickly and easily get ticks off your dog without squeezing the tick and without any discomfort. It will also remove the tick’s mouthpiece; by sliding under the tick and twisting, the tick will quickly come free of your dog with minimal or no pulling.
Tweezers are also good if you don’t have a tick twister on hand.
3. Regular grooming
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Regular grooming can help you find ticks early and remove them, and even catch crawling on top of your dog’s fur before they burrow into your dog’s skin. For long hair dogs, clipping the coat shorter through the summer months can be a great way to help your dog feel calmer and to help make finding ticks a lot easier. Also, use a comb, brush, or even your fingers daily through your dog’s coat to check for ticks. See our article on grooming your dog tips here.
Flea comb is really helpful to find ticks easier.
The shampoo does need to be a tick and flea shampoo if you are using a tick and flea treatment.
NOTE: if you are due to apply your tick and flea top spot, make sure your dog’s fur is completely dry before applying your top spot treatment.
What’s the best way to remove a tick?
You need to part the hair and slide your tick twister under the tick, and twist to remove a tick. The tick will come straight out legs, mouthpiece, and all. Sometimes, you may need to pull a little if embedded, but it will all come out.
If you don’t have a tick twister, you can use tweezers. Be sure you go under the tick as best you can to avoid squeezing the body of the tick and pinch the base of the tick as near the skin as you can get and pull out.
If you don’t have tweezers on hand, use your fingers in a pinching motion. Again, you want to avoid squeezing the tick itself. You are pinching it by the base where it has embedded into your dog’s skin and pulling it out from there.
You need to remove the tick as soon as you find it. It can take up to 24 hours for your dog to show signs of tick paralysis after you have removed a tick.
If your dog shows any signs of tick paralysis, you need to take your dog to the vet immediately for veterinary treatment.
Signs of tick paralysis
- Heavy breathing -panting, noisy labored breathing, and possibly grunting
- Wobbly legs - especially the back legs—dogs tend to sit but not stand
- Heavy salivation
Tick removal can be a stress-free and straightforward process once you have a few tools and know some tips to help you remove ticks easily. Keep up with your dog’s flea and Tick prevention monthly or three months, depending on the brand you prefer to ensure your dog is always protected for peace of mind and your dog’s wellbeing.
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