Ticks are annoying and very unpleasant-looking parasites that latch onto a host like a dog (or a person) and drink their blood, before eventually detaching themselves and breaking away when they’re full.
As well as being off-putting in terms of their looks and behaviour, ticks can also pose a hazard to your dog’s health too, as there are a number of health conditions and diseases that are spread by ticks, and they can also cause localised infections and irritations at the site where they pierce the skin as well.
Coupled with this, ticks shouldn’t be left on your dog until they detach on their own as this increases the risk of them spreading illnesses, as well as posing the risk of them detaching within your home only to latch onto your dog – or yourself – again in future. Removing ticks can cause problems in itself if this is not handled with care, but once you know how to remove a tick from your dog properly, the whole process is quick and easy – if you can spot ticks on your dog in the first place!
Some areas of the country play host to a large tick population, and ticks also tend to be seasonal in nature, being more prevalent at certain times of the year than at others. If you know certain areas tend to lousy with ticks or have a lot of ticks around during tick season, the best thing to do is to avoid such spots when out on walks with your dog entirely, but this is not always possible.
Additionally, ticks are not restricted to just certain areas and environments, and dogs can and do pick up ticks with ease every summer and autumn, without their owners having any idea of where or how. This means that it is important to check your dog over for ticks every time you get back from a walk, and to remove any ticks that you do find promptly.
That said, ticks can be very variable in terms of their size and appearance and this can make them hard to spot, particularly if your dog is large and very shaggy. However, ticks tend to be found more commonly in certain areas of the body than others, and these are the areas that it is most important to check over with special care – and these tend to be places with a blood supply close to the surface of the skin, and not too much fur getting in the way of it.
With this in mind, this article will tell you about five important places on your dog’s body that you should be especially vigilant about checking over for ticks. Read on to learn more.
The area where your dog’s belly begins to slope up towards their rear and particularly the insides of their hind legs are particularly likely to be targeted by ticks, because long grass brushes past the belly and this whole area is sparsely furred with a rich blood supply pulsing away just under the skin.
Check around your dog’s undercarriage and right up the insides of their hind legs with care (using a torch if needed) and also, check around the base and underside of the tail too.
Similarly, inside of your dog’s armpits is less thickly covered with fur than most of the rest of their body, and has strong and measurable pulses running through it.
This area tends to be a little easier to check than the insides of the hind legs, although you may still need a torch, and should ensure that you get right into the crease of your dog’s armpits.
The pads of your dog’s paws themselves are too thick and rough to make a good host for ticks and of course, if they did latch on, they’d get squished when your dog took their next step! However, in between the toes and the pads of the paws, the skin doesn’t have any fur, and is also well served with blood vessels and capillaries.
Checking your dog’s paws over after a walk is important in general, so don’t forget to keep an eye out for potential ticks there too!
You might assume that if your dog had a tick around their eye you’d notice this immediately, but this is not always the case if the tick is small, the same colour as your dog’s skin, or if your dog’s eyes are a bit gungy on occasion.
Run your finger gently over the eye area and take a look for any new or unusual bumps or other indications of a tick in residence!
Finally, the base of your dog’s ears can again be an easy target for ticks, as there are lots of capillaries in this area and again, not much fur. Take a look at the inside of your dog’s ears too, although ticks are less common inside of the ears as there is more fur in place to keep out muck and debris.
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