It is hardly possible to find an owner who has not at least once encountered a nasty tick shamelessly drinking dog blood. In this article, we will look at how you can quickly remove the parasite from the body of a four-legged friend.
Ticks: why are they dangerous and where they live
Why are all dog breeders afraid of ticks like fire? Because these small arachnid pests are carriers of severe diseases. So, a pet bitten by an infected tick can easily get sick with babesiosis (piroplasmosis), borreliosis (Lyme disease), ehrlichiosis, demodicosis, and otodectosis, anaplasmosis, tularemia. Moreover, some of these infectious diseases are dangerous to humans.
Unfortunately, not every tick can be seen with the naked eye. For example, the otodectes cynotis parasites, which live in the canine ear and cause otodectosis, maybe less than 0.2-0.3 mm. But you can easily see the ixodid tick, the size of which can exceed 1 cm (from these parasites, dogs become infected with piroplasmosis and Lyme disease). If the dimensions of a blood-sucking pest allow it to be examined and pulled out, this should be done immediately in order to minimize the risk of transmission of infection from the parasite to the animal.
Where can a dog pick up a tick? There are not so few options! A vile bloodsucker can move onto the wool, and then onto the skin of an animal from grass, shrubs, or tree foliage, as well as from the soil. That is, the risk of meeting a tick in a forest, grove, or park, as well as in a summer cottage, is especially great.
What to prepare for the procedure
You can pull out a tick from a dog both in a veterinary clinic, entrusting the elimination of the parasite to a specialist, and at home. To remove ticks from your dog at home, it is important to prepare properly. Let’s list what (and sometimes who) may be needed for such a procedure:
- Veterinary tweezers. You can pull out a tick from a dog at home using a special tool with a fork at the end, which in appearance resembles a miniature nail puller or crowbar. In the absence of such a device, you can use a hemostatic clamp-hemostat or eyebrow forceps, but it is much more convenient to use special tweezers to remove ticks from animal skin;
- Latex gloves. In no case should one come into contact with the parasite with bare hands, since, we recall, it can be dangerous not only for a dog but also for a person;
- Antiseptic (you can use regular hydrogen peroxide or a veterinary antimicrobial such as Migstim or Monclavit). This product will be needed to treat the dog’s skin after removing the tick;
- A small container that can be hermetically sealed. Such a container will be needed to store the parasite removed from the dog’s skin;
- Assistant. The owner can pull out a tick from a dog with a calm disposition. But if the pet is very worried or behaves aggressively, you may need the help of someone close. The owner will pull out the tick, and his assistant will hold the dog;
- Delicacy. You can remove a tick from a calm dog without treats, but during the procedure, you can treat an anxious dog with, say, a piece of boiled meat.
To remove the tick, the owner will first of all need tweezers, an antiseptic, gloves, and a container (the procedure can often be carried out without a treat and an assistant). You don’t need to cook anything else! Veterinarians advise against using petroleum jelly to remove the parasite. You also need to refuse to coat the tick with vegetable oil, kerosene, nail polish, vinegar, or alcohol.
How to remove a tick from a dog
Pulling out a tick from a dog at home is not so difficult if you act as carefully and calmly as possible. Here are the steps you need to take to pull the parasite out of your pet’s body:
- It is important to make sure that there is a tick on the dog’s body, and not something else. The fact is that some owners may confuse a tick with a nipple or wart with fright;
- It is important to wait for the moment when the dog is calm. As a rule, animals are the most peaceful after a walk and a hearty meal. If at the time of removing the bloodsucker the pet is extremely excited, there is a risk that the owner will not be able to pull out the parasite completely;
- During the procedure, the owner of the dog himself needs to be calm. Shouting at the animal and fuss must be excluded;
- If necessary, a helper should be called in to hold the dog. You can keep treats not far from the procedure site;
- Put gloves on your hands;
- The fur in the place where the tick sits should be spread apart with the fingers of one hand. On the second hand, you need to take tweezers;
- Bring the tip of the tweezers under the tick’s body as close as possible to the dog’s skin, slightly lift the parasite, and then gently twist it around its axis. It is not necessary to twitch strongly since it is important that the pest remains intact and unharmed (if you crush a tick, the contents of its body, which could theoretically be infected, will immediately enter the dog’s bloodstream);
- As soon as the tick lags behind, it must be placed in a container and closed with a lid. It will be possible to get rid of the tick no earlier than in 21 days;
- Treat the dog’s skin with an antiseptic. If the parasite was on the eyelid, you can rinse the bite site with plenty of clean water instead of an antiseptic;
- Rinse the tweezers with running water, and then disinfect (medical alcohol is suitable for this purpose). Remove and dispose of gloves. Wash your hands.
Unfortunately, just removing a tick from a dog is not enough. For 3 weeks, the owner will have to closely monitor the health of the dog. If you have any alarming symptoms (fever, decreased appetite, lethargy, lameness, swollen lymph nodes, rapid breathing, tachycardia, diarrhea, etc.), you need to bring the dog to the clinic for examination. In this case, it is imperative not to forget the villain-tick placed in the container (a specialist will conduct a study of the parasite to determine whether he could infect the animal with an infectious disease).
Although it is not so difficult to remove a tick from a dog correctly, there is still a risk that the body of the parasite will be deformed in the process of stretching (in other words, the head of the tick may remain under the skin of the animal). In this case, you still have to contact the veterinarian, who will quickly remove the remains of the arthropod scoundrel from the dog’s body.
How to keep your dog free of ticks
Every time you return home from a walk, you need to carefully examine the dog. Moreover, it must be remembered that the parasite can drink blood both in a conspicuous place (for example, on the ear, on the neck or on the toes of the front paws), and in hard-to-reach places (for example, in the armpits or inner sides of the thighs). You should not lose vigilance even when it is not so warm outside (mites can be active even if the air temperature is slightly above 0 degrees).
Is there any way to protect your pet from a tick attack? Yes, it is possible, if acaricidal preparations are used prophylactically – means to combat ticks. In veterinary pharmacies, you can find collars (brands “Dana”, “Beaphar”), sprays (“Bars Forte”, “Bolfo”) and drops on the withers (“Frontline”, “Advantiks”) with acaricidal effect.