Tick Checking 101
Veronica DeLisle | July 23 2018
When the weather turns warm and the snow is gone, we as dog owners are ready for longer walks and more fun in the sun with our furry friends! Unfortunately, the warmer weather also brings back those nasty pests that no one wants to find on them: ticks. They can be tricky to find on your pup and even trickier to get off, so here’s the 411 on how to find and remove those nuisances.
Make Tick Checking a Daily Occurance
While you may use tick repellents such as rosemary oil or the Dog Spa Shampoo Bar Repel from Sleepy Cotton, it’s always a good idea to put aside time for a tick check before bed. You don’t want those little things hanging on to your pup longer than necessary for your dog’s health and wellness. When checking your dog for ticks, there are a few high priority spots that ticks like to burrow in that you should look at first.
Inside and around ears. Ticks like dark crevices to hide in, so inside your pups ear seems like a 5-star hotel to them. If your pup is shaking their head a lot or scratching at their ear, there may be a tick residing in there.
- Between toes. Again, ticks like small, dark places to hide, and getting lost in your dog’s toe fur is the perfect disguise for them. Your dog may not like having their paws prodded at, but it sure beats leaving a tick in there!
- Under their tail. It’s easy for a tick to jump onto your pup’s rump while they’re out clomping through tall grass. Make sure they haven’t made a home near your dog’s tail or behind.
- Under their collar. Small dark space? Yupp, that’d be under your dog’s collar. Always take off or be sure to check under their collar for any stragglers.
Full Body Check
After you’ve checked the tick-hotspots, it’s time for the all around search. If your dog has longer or darker fur (or in my pup’s case, both), it helps to use a bright light and a comb. Start from your dogs head, checking their ears and eyes (ticks like to attach near here because it is moist), then move to their neck. Next, move down the body, combing through the fur as you go. If your comb snags on something, don’t pull. Stop and move aside the fur to see what the comb caught on. Pulling a tick out improperly can be harmful to your dog. Continue on until you deem your pup tick-free!
If you do find a tick nestled into your dog’s fur, here’s how to safely remove and dispose of it. Have a pair of tweezers or another special tick-removing device handy when you start the check. Use the tweezers and get as close to the tick’s head/your dog’s skin as possible. Clamp down on the little bugger without squeezing the body. Pull the tick out in a smooth motion, don’t twist it! Once you have the tick off, put it in some rubbing alcohol, a small container, or dispose of it down the toilet. Never touch it with your bare hands or squish the body! If some of the mouth is still on your pup, leave it be and it’ll fall out on its own.
There have been some suggestions saying to use nail polish or Vaseline on the tick to force it to let go, but this is not advisable. You want to get the tick off ASAP, not wait for it to fall off.