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Fleas can be annoying, but finding a dog tick is downright disgusting. If you find a dog tick attached to your dog’s skin and sucking away at his blood, you’ll want to do something about it. A dog tick can carry a variety of diseases that both you and your dog can get. And guess what? If there’s a dog tick on Rover, you might find one on you as well. Better get busy and figure out how to get rid of them.
What is a Dog Tick?
The dog tick belongs to the order Acarina, an order that they share with mites, which makes the different from insects. They live in the outdoors and when it’s time to feast, use heat sensors to detect warm-blooded animals passing by, which they grab or fall onto.
The dog tick then wanders on the animal’s body until it finds an easy place to dig in, like the ears or belly of a dog. Using its pincher-like mouthparts, the dog tick breaks the skin, and begins feeding. Anyone who has ever tried to pull one off knows, the dog tick is then locked into place by its mouthparts until it is done feeding.
Although loss of blood through dog ticks isn’t generally dangerous, what is dangerous is the diseases that a dog tick might carry. The brown dog tick and the American dog tick can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease.
Getting Rid of Dog Ticks
If you find a dog tick on poor Fido (or yourself) remove it. The best way to do this is with tweezers or a tick removal device. There is no way to get a dog tick to let go before they are finished feeding. Matches and nail polish are just “old wives tales”. You’ll need to carefully pull the dog tick out without leaving the head behind. Grab the dog tick as close to the head as possible and with steady pressure, slowly pull the tick out.
The best method of keeping dog ticks out of your house is to avoid areas where dog ticks breed such as tall grasses and the woods in the summer time when they are looking for a meal. However, if your dog hunts or needs to be out in the field, there some great ways to protect him from dog ticks.
Products such as K9 Advantix® (imidacloprid + permethrin) and Frontline are topical liquids that can be given to your dog monthly in the battle of the dog ticks. They come in pre-measured doses which are applied to the skin between the shoulder blades.
They are waterproof, so after 24 hours, your dog can also swim and bathe, but still be protected. The medication travels through the skin of your dog and will keep him free of both fleas and dog ticks for at least 30 days.
You veterinarian must prescribe the medication, but it is great for your piece of mind. Of course, follow the directions and don’t use the medication for anything or on another animal, like cats other than your dog.