Ticks (Ixodida) are 0.1 to 0.2 inches (3 - 5 mm) long blood-sucking parasites that are a problem for people and pets equally. While feeding on the host's blood, they may transmit a few diseases, including Lyme disease.
Plus, they release harmful toxins, while a puncture wound often becomes infected by bacteria.
Since there is a high probability of pets catching ticks and developing some health issues during the fall, this tick guide will help you remove these arachnids, prevent possible complications, and choose the right treatment.
Once a tick bites your pet, it will feed on its blood for a few days. At the very beginning, it is flat but appears much more rounded over time because of the blood ingestion.
You will see or feel its soft, round body above the skin surface while examining your furry friend.
Ticks usually attack spaces around your pet's head and neck, and you can notice them after parting its fur and running your fingers along the skin.
If you have a short-haired kitty, you will also see irritation and redness around the bite spot. As for dogs, you should look for ticks around its eyelids, ears, and tail and in hidden folds of skin.
Never rashly pull a tick out of the pet’s skin to prevent leaving its 'head' inside. A better option is to ask your vet for help, and he or she will efficiently remove it with a specially-designed tool.
The vet can treat your furry friend with anti-tick insecticides when necessary. Be careful since products meant for canines can be toxic for kitties. So, make sure to purchase the right products intended for the particular animal.
How to Remove a Tick on Your Own
Ticks are awful, but it is not too complicated to remove them from your pet's body. Let's do it together:
What you need
- Tick hook
- Antiseptic wipes
- A pair of latex gloves
- A small container
1. Find a peaceful area - Always choose a quiet place with excellent lighting to finish this procedure and keep your pet calm and relax.
Ask someone for help. If it is not an option, take a comfortable position, place your furry friend on the floor, and kneel behind it.
2. Put on gloves - This step is crucial since ticks are often disease carriers, and you should protect yourself.
3. Part the fur - Carefully remove hairs around the tick until getting a clear view.
4. Remove the tick - If it is your first time, read the instructions on using the tick hook necessary for this procedure. Position it as close to the skin as possible and under the tick.Twist it while pulling the tick and remove its whole body safely. Seal it in a small sealed container or Ziploc bag and throw it away.
5. Disinfection - Once removing the tick, clean the affected skin area thoroughly with a pet-friendly antiseptic and wash your hands and the used tool.
6. Reward your pet - This is an investment in the future. By rewarding your furry friend, you will show it that nice and patient behavior pays off.
7. Monitor the wound - Check the bite area to detect skin irritation and possible infection signs on time if the tick was not removed entirely.
Nowadays, you can find many tick preventatives available on the market, including powders, drops, and collars. You can buy these products without a prescription, but they have limited effectiveness and require frequent application. Another way to protect your pet is to keep it away from the ticks' microhabitats.
Lyme disease is a severe vector-borne bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi and passed by ticks. In most cases, the disease affects humans and dogs, while it is relatively uncommon in cats. Symptoms in both cats and dogs are commonly mild but may include:
- Lethargy and depression
- Loss of appetite
- Joint swelling
- Painful joints and lameness
- Swollen lymph nodes
Early detection is crucial in this case since the tick takes up to 48 hours to transmit bacteria to the dog. As soon as you suspect this disease, ask your vet for help. If caught early, it is treatable with antibiotics.
Otherwise, untreated Lyme may cause severe kidney problems followed by symptoms, such as:
- Lack of appetite and anorexia
- Edema and fluid in the abdomen
It is important to say that this disease is not contagious between species, so your pet can't transmit it to you and vice versa.
Unfortunately, there is no state in the US without Lyme disease. Most cases are from the Great Lakes area and rapidly spread across the North region.
Even though the infection happens year-round, most cases occur during the spring and summer.
Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Dogs and Cats
Seresto Flea and Tick Collar is one of the most reliable and efficient products that will protect your furry friend from ticks. It provides approximately eight months of protection.
- This collar works through contact, and ticks die before biting your pet
- It is practical, non-greasy, and odorless
- Since this product is water-resistant, it remains effective even after swimming and bathing
- The model for large dogs will also kill lice and help in controlling and treating sarcoptic mange
- It is an expensive product
- Your pet may develop a reaction to the chemicals this collar contains
It is necessary to remove the tick as soon as you notice it on your pet's body. Otherwise, this creature may cause a lot of problems for you and your furry friend.
Prevention is a key, especially in the fall, but it is not a big deal to remove the tick once you spot it, as well.
My name is Jovanka Panic. I am a writer, translator, veterinarian, humanitarian, and passionate traveler. After playing with white bears and elephants in the Belgrade ZOO and dealing with the Rabies virus in the Institute Pasteur, I enjoy writing. My five beasts are my ultimate love, including three cats (Clementine, Josephine, and Sophia) and their 'mom' American Stafford Terrier (Malena).