Spring is well underway and with warmer weather and more time spent outdoors comes the unwelcome arrival of tick season! With ticks becoming an ever-increasing concern for pet owners across the U.S. and Canada, we’re laying out our best advice for protecting your pet and knowing what to do in the event they do pick up a tick.
BEFORE YOU SPEND TIME OUTDOORS
- There are a variety of ticks found all over North America and several different species. Research your destination prior to leaving to find out the risk-level for tick bites, the kind of tick native to the area and any associated diseases they might carry.
- Purchase a tick and flea collar and speak with your vet to find a repellant lotion or oral medication safe for pets.
- Pack a tick-removal kit or bring tweezers, an iodine scrub, rubbing alcohol and shampoo.
HOW TO CHECK FOR TICKS
- Ticks prefer humid, moist environments and are most often found in heavily wooded areas, brush and overgrown grass. If you have control over where you set-up camp, choose a clearing, away from the woods.
- Avoid letting your pet take off into the woods or romp through the brush and stop to check your pet for ticks often if going on long hikes, portaging or spending time in marshy areas.
WHEN YOU’RE SPENDING TIME OUTDOORS
Ticks feast on blood and seek out warm moving animals like dogs, cats and humans. They latch onto their host and can feast for several hours up to several days, depending on the tick! Diseases found in ticks are transmitted up to 24-36 hours after the initial bite, making early detection and removal even more important.
To check your pet for ticks, run your hands over their body and feel for any unusual lumps or bumps and watch their skin for any signs of irritation.
REMOVING A TICK FROM YOUR PET
Although you may feel squeamish about removing a tick from your pet yourself, doing so can help prevent your pet contracting a disease from the bite. If you can’t successfully remove the tick yourself be sure to see a healthcare provider ASAP and always follow up with your vet after a tick bite if you have concerns about your pet’s well-being.
Use these tips to know how to successfully remove a tick from your pet’s body:
- To help calm your pet and keep them from moving during the process, always have another person present to help.
- If a tick is found before it has successfully attached, remove it from your pet using a pair of tweezers. Always wash your hands and never crush a tick, doing so can inadvertently spread disease.
- If the tick is found after it’s attached, use the tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your pet’s body as possible.
- When you feel you have a firm grip on the tick, slowly but firmly begin pulling the tick in an outwards direction away from your pet’s body.
- Avoid pulling too quickly, jerking or twisting the tweezers, this could cause parts of the tick to break off underneath the skin where you can’t grab it.
- After removal, use iodine scrub to clean the area and follow with rubbing alcohol. Finally, give your pet a bath using shampoo and warm water to thoroughly clean the affected area.
- Consider placing the tick in a plastic bottle or container with a moist cotton ball and bring it with you to the vet to have it identified.
- Monitor your pet and the site of the bite for signs of illness or infection.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you feel your pet may have contracted a disease or has an infection caused by the bite.