(Ticks Bites on Dogs) How to stop it ?

Tick Bites on Dogs

Finding a ticks Bites on your dog can leave you feeling worried. It’s easy to be concerned about the risks ticks pose to both your pet and your family. But one thing’s for sure—ticks are indisputably a dreaded enemy. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Ticks Bites?

Besides the obvious “icky” factor, a tick bite can transmit diseases, cause anemia or infection, and can even cause a rare but serious condition in dogs called “tick paralysis.” As a dog owner, know the basics of tick removal and prevention and educate yourself on the risks of disease. With proper knowledge, you can both protect your dog from the threat of ticks and know how to handle a bite should your dog receive one.

Symptoms of Tick Bites on Dogs

Most ticks can be detected by simply running your hand through your dog’s fur, noting any lumps or bumps on the surface. Ticks often attach themselves in crevices or on areas with little to no hair.

Pay special attention to the soft, warm area around the face, ears, and neck, and also check the limbs, particularly in the armpit region and groin. On light-colored dogs, it can be easy to spot a brown or black bump protruding from the skin. This may be a feasting tick.

On darker colored dogs, however, it may be necessary to inspect them further for attached ticks or any scabs or wounds left behind by the dining culprit. However, if a tick has recently attached, it may not be very big; even on light-colored dogs, small ticks can sometimes be hard to find.

Not all ticks transmit disease and just because a tick has been found on your dog doesn’t necessarily mean he’s infected with something. However, because tick-borne diseases can be life-threatening, the threat of a bite should be taken seriously. Most tick-borne diseases, however, require a tick to feed for several hours in order to transmit the infection to a host, so the sooner a tick is located and carefully removed, the lower the risk of disease transmission.

The most common symptoms of many tick-borne diseases in the United States—like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick paralysis—first present with a fever and lethargy. Some diseases can also cause weakness, lameness, joint swelling, or anemia. With tick paralysis, the gradual onset of a clumsy gait that develops into paralysis may occur. These signs typically begin to resolve soon after the ticks are removed.

If you notice signs of illness in conjunction with a tick bite in your dog, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible so that proper testing and necessary treatment can begin. And do note that symptoms of certain tick-borne diseases can take days, weeks, or even months to appear.

Symptoms

  • Brown or black bump protruding from skin
  • Scabs or wounds, especially in areas with little to no hair
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Joint swelling
  • Anemia
  • Clumsiness
  • Causes of Tick Bites

Ticks are parasitic arthropods that feed on the blood of their hosts. Attracted to warmth and motion, they seek out mammals—including people, dogs, and cats—to attach to and bite. Most species of ticks go through four life stages: eggs, larvae, nymphs, and adults. And, in order to mature, a tick must feast on blood during all of its growth stages. Depending on the species, the lifespan of a tick can be several months to years.

The most common tick species in the United States typically reside in tall grass, wooded areas, or shrubs and wait for prospective hosts (this is called “questing”) (this is called “questing”). When a host passes by, the tick climbs aboard and attaches its mouthparts to the skin, beginning its meal of blood. The tick may continue to feed for several hours to days, and will not detach until its meal is complete.

Treatment

Removing a tick can be accomplished with clean tweezers and precision.

  • To remove a tick from your dog, first locate a clean pair of fine-point tweezers.
  • Next, pull the hair away from the surrounding bite region and place the tweezers as close to the dog’s skin as possible, carefully clamping down on the tick.
  • Pull straight out (no twisting) with gentle pressure until you feel the tick loosen its grip and you can pull it away from the skin. Try not to grip the tick too tight so that you puncture its body, potentially releasing blood and pathogens.
  • Never try to burn it away with a lighted match, as doing so may cause the tick to release more saliva (and toxins) into your pet.
  • Once the tick is removed, place it in a sealed plastic bag or a jar of alcohol and call your vet for inspection and identification.
  • Finally, clean the wound with alcohol and place a small amount of topical antibiotic on the wound.

Upon tick inspection, your veterinarian may recommend blood testing to look for tick-borne disease. If your dog spikes a fever, acts lethargic, or experiences any sign of lameness, a vet may administer antibiotics for several weeks. In cases with acute onset of Lyme disease, the start of a course of antibiotics should help your dog feel clinically better in two to five days, however, the dog will likely need to remain on the antibiotics for several weeks to fully clear the infection. Dogs who suffer from the complication of kidney damage due to Lyme disease need further management that may include hospitalization, nutritional support, and IV fluids. In this case, a full recovery depends on the severity of the damage.

For tick paralysis, simply removing the ticks will usually resolve the symptoms within 24 hours, as the neurotoxins in a tick’s saliva are the underlying cause.

In a few cases, supplemental oxygen may be supplied to dogs who are showing difficulty breathing. Once the effects of the toxins subside, the dog should show a complete recovery.

How to Prevent Tick Bites

If you live in a region where ticks are found, check your dog every time you come in from the outdoors, especially after romps through wooded areas. There are also several different types of monthly preventative medications for dogs that prevent tick bites. Ask your veterinarian to recommend a tick preventative that will work best for your breed and age of dog.

How serious are tick bites on puppies?

puppy

Ticks Bites on Puppies

More than 800 types of ticks are recognized worldwide but only a few North American ticks will actually bite your pet. The American dog tick, the brown dog tick, the black-legged tick (deer tick), and the Lone Star tick are the most likely culprits. In dogs, tick bites can transmit serious disease like Lyme disease, tick paralysis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis and more.

Most of the ticks found on dogs and puppies simply call for safe removal and then carefully watching the wound for infection. But a tick that transfers disease may leave more than just a wound behind. Keeping your pet on vet recommended flea/tick prevention year round can help prevent the risk of these diseases.

When Does a Tick Bite?

Ticks are amazingly adaptable, which makes them extremely difficult to control. These spider relatives can remain dormant for months and a single female can lay thousands of eggs.

That said, ticks can reside on many different animals and hosts throughout their lifetime. Ticks go through different stages of development, jumping, and developing amongst different types of hosts that they prefer before they become adults. Small rodents, raccoons, deer, and more can be hosts. Some stages of the tick are so small they can bite a human or pet without anyone ever knowing allowing them to transmit diseases undetected.

When an adult tick bites a puppy and begins feeding, its body swells like a leathery balloon. You can find its head buried beneath the puppy’s skin. Often, ticks prefer the soft, supple skin of a dog’s face and ears and can be found in nooks and crevices, making them hard for your pet to scratch off. But ticks can also be found all over your pet’s body, so a thorough check after exposure is advisable.

Symptoms of Tick Bites on Puppies

It’s easy to tell if a tick bites your puppy when you locate a balloon-like creature blood sucking your pet. But if the tick has already had its meal, or has fallen off beforehand, how do you know if your puppy was bitten? Sometimes you don’t. Othertimes, a simple tick bite can show up as a minor skin irritation or an infection. Dogs can suffer blood loss from multiple bites and infestations, leading to anemia.

And, in severe cases, your puppy could develop a tick-borne disease which can lead to more severe illness such as fever, low platelets, swollen lymph nodes, lameness, and perhaps renal failure.

Less common is tick paralysis caused by a neurotoxin contained in a tick’s saliva. Symptoms of this disease are progressive in nature. They range from vomiting to unsteadiness to complete paralysis. If gone untreated, tick paralysis can move into a puppy’s respiratory system, causing death. 

Causes of Tick Bites

Ticks thrive in long grass or wooded habitats, so the lifestyle of your puppy determines its exposure. Does your pet enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle, or is it confined to the apartment?

If your dog roams the fields, romps through brushed areas or enjoys woodside walks on a leash, it’s at risk for contracting ticks. Opportunistic ticks are in constant search for a warm body, making your pet, and it’s hair, the perfect specimen to burrow into. And humid climates are more conducive to tick proliferation, making bites more prevalent in moist, coastal regions.

How do you treat a tick bite on a puppy?

Treatment

Just handling a tick can spread its disease, so if you see a tick, use gloves to avoid exposure to tick saliva. Blunt-nosed tweezers work great for removing embedded ticks from your puppy’s skin. First, grasp the tick as close to the puppy’s skin as possible and pull straight out, gently and slowly. Your goal is to remove the tick head along with the tick.

If you pull the tick off, but the head remains buried, you will have to monitor the area closely for any signs of infection. If you note redness that seems to worsen or won’t go away call your vet. Often the body will reject the foreign matter and form a scab. Be sure to place the tick in a substance that will kill it like rubbing alcohol (do not just throw away as they can crawl back out) (do not just throw away as they can crawl back out).

Treating Lyme Disease and Tick Paralysis

Depending on your pet’s exposure, vaccine history, and symptoms, your veterinarian may perform an in-house screening test for tick-borne diseases or send a blood sample to the lab for testing.

Pets that have been exposed to tick-borne disease won’t necessarily need treatment, but your vet may want to run additional diagnostics like bloodwork to determine if treatment is needed. If clinical signs of illness suspicious for tick-borne disease are detected, they may want to treat.

Some severe cases of tick-borne diseases can warrant hospitalization and aggressive treatment. As always, if you suspect your pet is sick or have seen a tick on it, contact your vet to discuss if it should be seen and be sure to get your pet on vet recommended tick/flea prevention.

How to Prevent Tick Bites

There are two main ways we can help prevent ticks from biting our pets. The first is to use a vet recommended flea and tick prevention on your dog year round. These medications if used appropriately will often kill ticks before they have time to transmit disease to your pet.

Ask your veterinarian how best to protect your puppy, as age and health influence the type of product you should choose. And before using, always look at the label to make sure the product says it’s safe for individual pets. Some products are not safe for certain ages of dogs.

The second way is by keeping your yard short and manicured and keeping your pet away from areas where ticks can be. Clearing away vegetation in your yard that gives rodents and other critters that can carry ticks places to hide can help. Cut your lawn short can also help as will keeping your pets away from problem areas. In areas with high tick burdens, treating the bug’s habitat with pet safe chemicals also helps reduce the pest population. Inside your home, vacuum and wash puppy bedding regularly.

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