Time for Ticks
As the weather begins to change we will be outside much more often with our dogs. Just like we are becoming more active, so is the rest of nature, including ticks. The varieties most common to Idaho are the Brown Dog Tick, Rocky Mountain Wood Tick, and the Western Blacklegged tick. Ticks are nasty little creatures that can transmit diseases once they are attached for a time to the skin. They do not transmit diseases by simply crawling on an animal.
There are several ways to treat ticks. They range in price and time commitment. Powders, sprays, and shampoos can be inexpensive but need to be done frequently while spot treatments and collars generally have a higher price tag but only need to be done monthly or seasonally. My personal favorite is the spot treatments. Whatever you chose, make sure to read the label to find out how often your product needs to be applied and also if it continues to work effectively when exposed to water. Some products are washed off if a dog jumps into the water, which can be a problem for some dogs.
Even if your dog is on a treatment it is still best to check for ticks after outdoor adventures, particularly those that happen near dry grass and water sources, like rivers and ponds. Ticks like to hide in moist warm places. And since ticks do not jump we usually can start from the bottom up. Between toes, in the elbow creases, under armpits, the groin area, under the tail, and underneath the collar are the most common areas for ticks to hide. While the whole body should be checked pay close attention to those areas.
If a tick should be found it will need to be removed. Using a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can get. Squeeze firmly and pull straight out using firm steady pressure. Do not twist the tick or try to get it to back out by burning. These do not work and could cause more harm than good. Submerge the tick into rubbing alcohol to kill it. Monitor the site to assure it is healing properly and prevent infection.
If you have any concerns consult your veterinarian.