Ticks are ectoparasites, organisms that live on the outside of an animal. They are fairly common ectoparasites of dogs and also cats. Parasites can attach and feed on the blood of their hosts which probably why they are considered as dangerous creatures.
These parasites’ activities are depends on:
- the region of the country in which you live,
- the time of year,
- the habits of your dog,
- how often you use tick control product on your dog
As a dog lover, here’s what you need to know about these ectoparasites:
1. Carry Disease
Ticks are known vectors for some potentially dangerous diseases. The symptoms of most tick-borne diseases include:
- Joint swelling, and
Common tick-borne diseases include:
- Lyme disease,
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
2. Expert Finding Hosts
Ticks are the real-life GPS when finding hosts. They can easily find your doggo to sense motion, body heat, and CO2 (carbon dioxide). Your dog may get ticks when playing in the woods or rolling on the grass. These blood-sucking pests hide out in tall grasses, brush, and similar areas.
Once it get on the host’s body, it will find a place to attach its mouth. Then, it begin to drink the host’s blood until it becomes engorged. For them it the happiest moment of their life but for your dog, it will be the moment that dangerous pathogens enter the bloodstream.
3. Human Also Can Be Hosts
Not only your pet but also yourself can be a potential host. The skin where tick attach to humans can become red and irritated. It can also transmit many of the same diseases to people. It is important to realize that people do not get these diseases from their dogs. Both people and dogs get the diseases from ticks they come into contact with outdoors.
Diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which have already been described in dogs, can also be very serious in humans.
4. Tick Can Be Removed
There is a way to remove this pesky parasite if you know how to do it properly. The steps are shown below:
- Put on gloves for safety reason.
- Use tweezers or a specially designed tick-removal tool.
- Position the tweezer tip or tool at the site where the tick’s mouth meets the skin.
- Pull the tick straight out.
If the head stays in the skin, gently remove it with the tweezers or leave it alone to work its own way out.
Take care not to squeeze the body, as this can inject disease-causing bacteria into the dog. Watch the area for the next few days.
Contact the vet if you notice significant irritation or signs of infection.
5. Prevent It From Happening Again
The best way to prevent tick from attaching to your dog is by the regular use of tick control products. Your veterinarian can advise you about the best product for your dog and your situation. Your veterinarian is also aware of diseases that are common in your area and can pose a risk to your dog.
If you have a tick problem in your yard consider:
- Treating the outdoor environment (be sure to understand what products you are using and how they affect the environment)
- Making a landscape change to make the environment less tick friendly – this can be done by providing a 3 foot buffer between the lawn and any woods. Mulch, wood chips, or gravel work well, and help to decrease the migration of ticks into yards.
- Ridding your yard of wild animals
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