Here in Australia, we are just entering ‘Tick Season’.
Ticks are ectoparasites that survive on the outside of animals. They attach to your dog by burying their mouth parts into your dog’s skin. Some even use a glue to help them remain attached!
Ticks are capable of causing many diseases in dogs, such as Lyme disease, as well as consuming enough of the dog’s blood to cause anaemia.
Female ticks produce a toxin and can cause paralysis in dogs.
What time of the year is tick season?
In Australia September to March is tick season. Mild winters and lots of rain at the start of spring and summer contribute to the increase in tick numbers. If you live in other parts of the world, make sure you get the appropriate information from your local veterinarian.
How to prevent ticks
The best prevention is by the regular use of tick control products as recommended by your veterinarian.
Avoid tick-infested areas
How to check and remove ticks
Ticks are very small before they feed and are easily missed during a cursory examination. Once they are engorged with blood they are larger and easier to feel and spot.
- Run your fingers slowly through the dog’s fur at skin level, and feel for any tiny bumps. Don’t forget inside the ears!
- A thorough combing within 4 – 6 hours of exposure to bush and tall grass can prevent ticks establishing themselves.
- If you find a tick, removal is best carried by using a tick removing tool. This special tool enables the tick to be grasped as close to the dog’s skin as possible. Then slowly but firmly pull out the tick trying to keep the tick intact.
Avoid squeezing the body of the tick!
- If the mouthparts of the tick happen to stay in the skin, they may be gently scratched out with a fingernail. The mouth-parts will not inject any more poison once the body has been removed, but it may cause a local reaction to the skin similar to a splinter.
- If you have any concerns about a paralysis tick affecting your pet, call your vet immediately. They can also advise you about using Bravecto for paralysis tick protection.
Bravecto has a useful guide to help identify ticks in Australia.
Signs that your dog has a tick
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you must act quickly and get your dog to your vet ASAP.
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargic or depressed
- Difficulty breathing
- Arthritis or joint swelling
- Weakness in hind legs (can lead to paralysis)
Tick bites can turn serious in a matter of hours, so don’t delay!