We’ve been told of the harm caused by lice and ticks since childhood. Those same dangers affect your furry babies as well. Ticks are often confused with other insects, but they’re actually arachnids (like a spider).
Regardless of the type and colour, ticks are parasites. They find hosts to suck blood from until they’re full. You may be thinking what’s a small drop of blood? But left untreated, they can cause tick-borne disease and deficiencies in your pet. They’re also known to lay eggs in your home!
Let’s dig deeper into this article. To make things easy, we’ve divided it into three steps: identification, removal, and prevention.
Why protect your dogs from ticks?
- Why protect your dogs from ticks?
- How to identify ticks on your dog?
- How to remove ticks painlessly from your dog?
- How to get rid of ticks on carpets?
- What home remedies / natural repellants can get rid of ticks?
You know their M.O. by now. The first chance they get, ticks hop on any warm-blooded creature. It could be a human, a cat, or a dog but they especially love to bury themselves in fur. Once satisfied, they simply fall off to lay eggs.
So, does it make a difference if you remove one parasite from your body? Studies show that removing ticks makes a big difference in a dog’s health. They’re mosquitos of the animal community – “the carrier of diseases.”
Ticks are highly infectious and carry many bacteria. In rare cases, pathogens that ticks bring from animal (dogs) blood to ours can even be life-threatening (for both you and your pup).
Two major tick-borne health conditions in dogs are Lyme disease and babesiosis.
Lyme is a deadly bacterial infection that manifests in humans and dogs. Lyme’s common symptoms among dogs are fever, swollen lymph nodes and painful joints, depression, and loss of appetite. If you find your dog has multiple symptoms simultaneously, contact your vet immediately.
Babesiosis is another deadly but extremely rare life-threatening disease that manifests in a tick-infected area. Symptoms of your dog having babesiosis are depression, yellowish skin, swollen abdomen, and pale gums. Fever, loss of appetite.
Tularemia and Ehrlichiosis are other important tick-related diseases to watch out for. Ticks are also full of bacteria and can cause dozens of small health scares. These are even worse on humans. The infectious blood ticks sucked from dogs and cats can accidentally spill over human skin, causing irritation and redness.
How to identify ticks on your dog?
Identification is arguably the most important aspect of this guide. You can take the precautionary steps at home, but everything is a wild card outdoors.
You must be able to identify symptoms of ticks in dogs to save them from the dangers of Lyme disease and other health issues. These symptoms are the tell-tale indicators of ticks on dogs:
- Small Bumps: When you come home from a walk with your dog, move your hand around and feel their fur gently to find any ticks. A small bump is a good start. Look closely at the bump area to see if any ticks have been attached.
- Symptoms of fever: Mild or high-grade fever is often associated with tick bites. Although, it can occur for many reasons, so don’t be too alarmed.
- Tick sighting at home: If you spot even a single tick in your home anywhere – carpet, cushions, bed – it’s an all-hand-on-deck situation.
- Shaking head too much: Our furry little friends love shaking their heads. But if it becomes too much or at least “more than usual,” it might signify a tick in your dog’s ear canal.
How to remove ticks painlessly from your dog?
1. How to remove ticks from your dog’s fur?
You’ll find dozens of “painless” tick removal methods on the Internet. Some of which require you to put chemicals (soap, detergent, peroxides, cotton swabs soaked in rubbing alcohol, etc.) to remove the tick painfully.
The primary issue with this method is that these chemicals force the tick to vomit out the soaked up toxins back into the bloodstream and then let go of the body. Instead, I recommend you go with the tried-and-tested method.
Step 1: Preparation
Get a pair of gloves, rubbing alcohol, a cotton swab, and tick hook. First, ensure your dog is relaxed and then expose the tick as much as possible by pulling the skin.
Step 2: Removal
Slide the tick hook under the parasite from sideways and make sure you get its head out. Leaving the head behind or buried in the skin could result in an infection. Pull the tick hook straight upwards without squeezing and put it in rubbing alcohol to kill it.
Note: Don’t use normal tweezers. Accidentally killing the tick on the spot can cause infection in the blood. Don’t put too much pressure on the tick’s abdomen for similar reasons.
Step 3: Disinfection & Disposal
Dip the swabs in some rubbing alcohol and clean the area to prevent an infection. Finally, throw away the gloves and clean the bowl.
2. How to remove ticks from your dog’s ears?
The tick removal process for the ears is similar to what I just discussed for the fur. Although, you do need to take a lot more care around ears and eyes than you did with fur.
Don’t try to remove a tick from inside your dog’s ear canal. Only remove the ones you can distinctively see outside or near the canal. If it’s too far in, consult your vet right away.
Once you have confirmed the tick is outside the ear canal, simply stretch the skin to make the tick appear. Use tick hooks to pull it off and finally disinfect the area for leftover pathogens.
How to get rid of ticks on carpets?
Follow these steps to get ticks out of your carpets, sofas and other furniture:
Step 1: Locate ticks.
Mark the areas where you think there are ticks or eggs. Areas where your pet(s) usually spend their time will be your hotspots.
Step 2: Vacuum the carpets.
Vacuum thoroughly in straight lines to avoid missing even a single square inch. Pay more attention to areas where you have noticed ticks. When you are done vacuuming, place the vacuum bag in a zip storage bag, zip it and throw it outside the house.
Step 3: Wash everything removable.
Wash all textiles in the room at high temperatures, including clothing, seat covers, pillows or cushions, table cloth, and curtains. If possible, put them in a dryer as well.
Step 4: Take precautionary steps using salt.
Sprinkle salt all over your carpet, concentrating on areas where you suppose the ticks are most likely to hide. Leave the salt overnight and vacuum the next day again.
Step 5: Steam clean the un-removable.
Steam clean all texting coverings that you can’t remove, such as your carpet. You can easily rent a steam cleaner if you don’t have one.
Step 6: Use chemicals (only if needed).
Use pesticides once you’ve tried every other method. Remove pets and family from the treated area. Also, keep everybody away for at least 48 hours. In case of doubt, you can always ask for further advice.
Step 7: Re-clean everything.
After treating the carpet and surrounding area, leave the house and let the pesticides work for at least 24 hours. Come back, vacuum the carpet, and dispose of the vacuum bag.
Read More: How to help your dog get to sleep fast?
What home remedies / natural repellants can get rid of ticks?
Vinegar is the best and most versatile tick killer on this list. You can use it in any way you prefer.
A 1:1 vinegar and water solution can be used as a spray for your dog’s fur. Rubbing distilled vinegar can be used for disinfection, similar to rubbing alcohol.
Moreover, you can add Apple Cider Vinegar to your dog’s diet because it will make its blood more acidic and repel ticks and fleas.
Speaking of acids, you can make a citrus repellent spray by cutting a lemon into pieces and boiling it with water. Let it sit for the night and sprinkle it on your dog the next day.
2. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol can both kill ticks and disinfect the wound. Just don’t do both simultaneously, and you’ll be fine.
Similar to what we experiment on earthworms back in school, putting salt on the ticks and their larvae (or eggs) will kill them through dehydration. You can even use it to get rid of ticks in the house, just don’t vacuum for some time.
Controlled introduction of garlic can help remove and prevent ticks. Small amounts can be added to the dog’s food as part of prevention. When garlic is processed and enters its blood system, the body emits a specific scent that repels ticks and fleas.
5. Detergent & Bleach
Applying soap (or any detergent) on your doggo and letting it soak for about 15-20 minutes will help eliminate ticks. You can also use bleach for an instant kill, but it’ll irritate your pet’s skin.
6. Natural Repellants
Essential oils are natural tick repellants. And with the fragrance they bring to the environment, it’s a win-win situation.
Additionally, you can use Neem oil or Eucalyptus oil, both natural repellants and tick killers.
7. Artificial Repellants
External methods to repel ticks don’t have to be toxic sprays. Various herbal collars, sprays, and powders will get the job done. You can also make one on your own. Mixing a few essential oils (2 tablespoons of rose geranium oil and almond oil) and adding a few drops to the dog’s collar is also very efficient.
Finally, make sure you keep things clean, especially the backyard. Don’t let the weeds grow too long. And also, check up on your dog regularly to keep them healthy and happy.