Our beloved cats and dogs love playing outside just as much as we do and, just like us, they are susceptible to picking up the odd tick every now and again. Therefore, after your pet has finished playing outside, you should check them over thoroughly as ticks carry the nasty illness known as Lyme disease.
Dr. Lee Herold, from DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, says: “Ideally, pets should be checked for ticks anytime they’ve been outside, especially if they’ve been out hiking or walking in wooded areas or tall grass. Over the past three decades, cases of Lyme disease have increased and spread across the U.S., meaning vigilance during spring, summer, and fall will be key to your pet’s health.”
Ticks can hide in your pet’s fur, especially if they have a thick coat. To do a thorough check, run gloved-fingers over the top of their head and all over their body so that you can feel if there are any tiny bumps.
You will want to pay extra attention to the parts of your pet that generate the most heat as ticks love warm places. So, this means their tail, chin, face, between their toes, the inside of their ears, and armpits.
If you feel a bump, you’ll know it’s a tick feeding on your pet if you see a tick butt sticking out – it will usually be brown or black in color. If the tick is engorged with blood, it will be a light gray color. You should remove the tick immediately and dispose of it properly in order to keep you and your pets safe.
1. Put on a pair of gloves so that your skin does not come into contact with the tick. Next, take a pair of tweezers, hold them horizontally, and grab the tick up as close to your pet’s skin as you can without hurting your pet.
2. Pull the tick straight up and try to remove it in one swift motion. Try not to move, jerk, or twist the tweezers when you’re removing the tick as this could lead to parts of the tick being left in your pet.
3. Some people like to flush the tick down the toilet or burn it with a lighter once it has been removed. However, some vets recommend that you place the tick in a plastic baggie or clean empty pill bottle and bring it to your vet so that it can be identified and tested should your pet start to show signs of tick-borne illness.
4. Place some rubbing alcohol or iodine rinse on the bite to disinfect it.
N.B. If your pet starts to show lameness, lethargy, and loss of appetite, you should report it to your vet immediately.