Ticks on a dog (or any animal or human) can be a serious problem. These wingless parasites are not insects, but are actually related to mites and spiders. Many people are suprised to learn that there are over 850 tick species, about 100 of which are capable of transmitting potentially serious diseases.
The tick's sole mission is to wait for some human or animal to brush against them so they have a wonderful new host to feed from. Because ticks can feed on many hosts, they can easily spread diseases between animals and humans. This is why it is very important for you to check your dog periodically, especially during the summer months, for any ticks that have decided to hitch a ride with your favorite canine.
Tick's Can Spread Lyme Disease
One tick in particular that you should watch out for is the Deer Tick. This tick is about the size of a pinhead in its nymphal stage and adult deer ticks are smaller than most normal ticks. Deer ticks are known to spread Lyme disease, a multi-system bacterial infection, which often has to be treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, some animals won't show any symptoms of Lyme Disease although they may be infected and this can make it difficult to diagnose and treat. An additional problem is that the body does not develop an immunity to this disease, so you and your pet can be reinfected by new tick bites.
How To Remove A Tick
You must be very careful when trying to remove a tick. Do not use lighters, alcohol or any of those other “home-remedy" myths you hear about. Because ticks have a mouth that contain reverse harpoon-like barbs, there is really only one safe way to do this.
1. Use tweezers to grab the tick as close to the skin (and its mouth parts) as possible.
2. Pull straight up removing the tick. Do not burn or prick the tick, as it might release infected fluids. Do not twist the tweezers.
3. If a the small mouth piece remains in the skin leave it alone. It will work its way out of the skin as old skin cells slough off. If you try to pry the small mouth piece out with a needle, you may inadverdentley push it farther in, possibly causing more problems.
4. Put the tick in a small jar and label it with the person's or animal's name, address and date.
5. Wash your hands and the tweezers, then disinfect the bite area.
6. If possible, have the tick identified and tested by the local health department or your veternarian (in case there are further complications).
Rose Smith is the author and owner of Caring For Canines , a web site that provides information on natural dog health care. To learn more about dog skin problems, care and grooming, please visit us at: http://www.caringforcanines.com/grooming-aids.shtml