Have you checked for ticks on your pets in these spots?

Spring is here, and pests are back. Ticks have already appeared this season, so beware!

Where should I look for ticks on my pet?
1. Ears.
Ticks like soft, warm, well-hidden areas. Ticks attach in the ear canal as well the soft tissue where the ears meet the head.

2. Between toes. Ticks move in the grass and will make their way into pets’ toes, where we don’t often look.

3. Thin skin. Blood is close to the surface in thin skin, so the eye area, under-arms and thin skin on the lower area of the rear legs are idea for ticks.

4. Thick fur. Ticks like to burrow where they aren’t easily detected. Thick patches of fur are ideal, especially around the tail root and anus.

5. Genitalia. These areas are full of blood and are on the lower parts of the dog for easy access to ticks.

Every day, check your pet. Rub your pet gently from head to tail and top to bottom. Running your hands against the direction of the fur can reveal ticks (or other bumps and lumps). Pets enjoy the attention, and they’ll let you feel for the ticks.

What do ticks look like?
 Some are tiny and brown. They start as small as fleas and grow as they engorge with blood. Engorged ticks appear more green or beige. This website is a good reference. http://tickinfo.com/

How do I remove a tick?
First, have everything you need to remove a tick before you start looking. Speak calmly to your pet and proceed as directed below.

Removing the head of the tick is critical when pulling this parasite from your pet. Use tweezers and grab hold of the tick as close to the skin as possible. Then pull the tick away with steady even pressure and ensure the tick’s head is attached to the body. You might also pull away a clump of fur and a bit of skin, leaving the pet with a small bloody spot that will scab over easily. If you do not remove the head, call your veterinarian for next steps.

Ticks must be crushed or burned to die. Flushing them down the commode won’t kill these pests.

After you kill the tick, the CDC recommends you wash your hands thoroughly and clean the bite area with alcohol, iodine scrub or soap and water. Be sure to thoroughly clean the tweezers, as well. In fact, you might wish to have tweezers in your pet first aid kit for just this purpose.

How do I protect my pet from ticks?
Inside and outside pets can get ticks, so the best protection is prevention. You can use an over-the-counter flea and tick product or buy these and more thorough products that also protect from mosquitoes from your vet.

Tick season has begun and lasts through late summer, so be diligent in protecting your four-legged family member.

By Beth Crosby