Ticks on dogs. Urgh! Nobody wants to be cuddling their pup and find one of those on her. Those little creatures just make us squirm they way the latch on and suck blood. I say again - urgh! So we wanted to do a blog on how to avoid getting ticks on dogs. If your dog already has been bitten by a tick, scroll down to point 5 for some advice.
We've used a few products and changed a few of our ways to successfully avoid most ticks when out on walks. Cavvy Cuddles' 5 Tick Tips so you can do the same are:
Tick Tip 1: Avoid bracken and long grass
Ticks are a problem in the UK all year, but most cases occur in March - November when the weather is a bit warmer. Ticks are a problem because they can carry diseases like Lyme Disease which can make your dog sick - and you, if you are also bitten.
If you are able to stop your dog going into areas where ticks are more likely to live, then you can reduce the likelihood of a tick attack. Ticks enjoy damp areas, and are found in areas with long grass or bracken (things like ferns). They hang about these cool areas looking for something to jump onto, which could be a deer, sheep or horse, or could be your little dog. It could even be you! Try to stay in areas with short grass or beaches if you are keen to avoid ticks.
There have even been increasing reports of ticks lying in wait on park benches and picnic tables. As more of their habitat is destroyed to make way for buildings, they are increasingly being found in areas where people regularly visit with their dogs, like parks with short grass. Here they hide in the shade under tables. We don't want to scare you, but it's always worth a quick check underneath the picnic table before you sit down...just in case.
Tick Tip 2: Flea and Tick herbal repellent
Have you considered giving your dog a natural herbal mix to help ward off ticks and fleas? We give Indie a little spoonful of Billy No Mates with her breakfast, and it works really well.
What we like about it is that there are no nasty chemicals in it, and it's easy to mix in with her feed every morning. It contains mint, seaweed, fenugreek, neem leaves and lemon balm and ticks hate these things. So by giving your dog this mix, it helps put off biting ticks as this helps mask the dog's smell.
Billy No Mates doesn't totally prevent ticks from biting - nothing does. Even with chemical treatments, the tick does not die as soon as they bite, it can take 48hrs for the chemicals to kill a tick! By this time, it may have already passed infections onto your dog.
We have noticed a great reduction in the number of ticks we pull off Indie each year when using Billy No Mates each day, even through the winter. This is well worth trying if you have a tick problem with your dog.
Tick Tip 3: Buy a lint roller!
Most people use lint rollers to take the fluff off their clothes before they go out. Us? We use them on our dogs when they come back in from a high tick-risk walk!
You see, ticks don't always jump onto your dog and bite her immediately. They will often take their time and walk to a spot on their body that suits them. Just like when you are out on the town looking for the best curry house! For a tick, the easiest places to start feeding are around the face, like the eyebrows, or behind their ears.
This means there is an amount of time between leaping and biting that they are just little bugs crawling on fur and so vulnerable to be picked off easily. Whilst you can do this with your fingers, it's much easier to get a lint roller and gently rub it along your dog's fur. The rollers are a little sticky but not so much that it will take any hair off or hurt your dog. Instead, they will pick up any ticks that are crawling about and not yet latched on. This is really helpful if you have a dark-coloured dog as ticks aren't as obvious on black and brown fur.
We've used sticky tape before to get one off before it has bitten. Then you can fold the tape over and stop it from biting again. You can see from our picture that this tick was still crawling around looking for somewhere nice to settle down to feed.
However, having a stock of lint rollers in your car, jacket and home is a great idea as it can stop a tick problem before it happens. Click below to get some.
Tick Tip 4: Be prepared with a tick picker
Similarly, having a tick picker in your home or car can save plenty of stress and money if you find a tick on your dog. Take a look at our tick picker dog blog for some advice on what to get and how to use them. These are cheap tools and worth getting before your
dog gets a tick. Keep it somewhere safe and you can feel very smug if a tick does come to say hello!
Tick Tip 5: Don't panic!
"Help! My dog has been bitten by a tick!"
If you have discovered a tick on your dog and don't have any tick pickers handy, don't panic. It can be a really scary sight to see an engorged tick on your pal, but now is the time to be gentle. Whatever you do, don't go in with your fingers and try to pull it out. You could end up leaving the tick's head lodged in your dog's skin, resulting in a serious infection.
Similarly, don't heat a knife and touch it to the tick's bottom. Although the tick will probably release, it could spew up a nasty cocktail of chemicals and diseases into your dog's bloodstream before it lets go.
You may also have heard that you could put vaseline on the tick to suffocate it. This could work, but ticks can last for a long time without air, and in all that time they are potentially passing on diseases to your dog.
Instead use your tick picker carefully. Try to keep your dog calm, perhaps by offering a high-value treat. But if you are the slightest bit worried, there is nothing wrong with visiting your vets and letting the professionals take care of it.