One major bummer about summer: ticks. Ticks are small bugs that can cause big problems if gone undetected, as they bury themselves into your pet’s skin and can carry Lyme disease, among others. The good news is, there are lots of preventative measures and vaccines to help keep your dog safe, but they certainly don’t negate the importance of checking your dog for ticks (and removing them, if found.)
After hiking or other outdoor activities, run your fingers through their fur with enough pressure to be able to feel any bumps – be sure to check everywhere, including between toes, under armpits, inside and behind ears, and under their tail. If you feel something, separate the hair so you can see the skin – if you see anything brownish black or grayish white ranging from the size of a pinhead to a grape, chances are it’s a tick.
Now the fun part: removal. Removing ticks can be a little tricky because they can easily break and leave a piece of the insect still embedded in your pet’s skin. There are tools you can buy to aid in the removal of ticks, but it is something you can accomplish (albeit, carefully) with tweezers:
– Gently grasp the tick as closely to your pet’s skin as you can. (Be careful not to crush the tick, as that can cause infection.)
– Swiftly pull the tick’s body away from your pet’s skin.
– After removal, clean the area with soap and warm water and dispose of the tick, either by soaking it in alcohol or flushing it down the toilet.
Of course there are instructional videos online you can watch if you’d like a visual demonstration, as well as the option of having your vet remove the tick. Either way, it’s important to be proactive in finding and removing these little buggers, as they can cause much bigger problems for your pet.