Puppies and Dogs For Sale in UK

Troublesome Ticks

The summer months bring with them plenty of lovely sunny weather and the opportunity for you and your canine pal to go on long walks together. Unfortunately though the summer also brings with it some especially unwelcome visitors.
Ticks are only small but they can present a big problem to dogs and their owners, they are an external parasite and their ‘posh’ title is Ixodes ricinus or to simplify things the sheep tick or the castor bean tick. There are actually several different kinds of tick, in total roughly 800. They vary in size from the smallest at 1mm across and the largest can be approximately 5cm across.

They feed by literally sucking the blood from mammals gorging themselves and consuming amounts from 200 right through to 600 times their own bodyweight.

Ticks live in long grass, bushes and undergrowth. An unsuspecting host will walk by the tick and be located via the heat that its body emits, the tick will simply drop or climb onto its unsuspecting host. They will then locate an area on your dog with thinner skin, perhaps an ear or your dog’s belly where the fur and the skin is generally thinner.

Ticks cling on by their mouths. Whilst they are attached they release a substance which weakens the blood capillaries, once weakened they eventually break and the tick sucks the blood from inside. They may ‘feed’ like this for a day or for several days.

Prior to the tick feeding they resemble a tiny spider and then once they have fed their abdomen grows and looks like a balloon.

Check your dog regularly for ticks. When I discovered the first one I did not know what it was and jumped to the conclusion that it was a cyst, if it had not been for my cousin seeing it I would have been none the wiser. He had grown up around animals and working on the Norfolk Broads and so he had come across numerous ticks on his own dogs.

It is imperative that you remove a tick correctly and ensure that you have actually removed all of it, do not leave the head attached to your dog. There are various methods for removing ticks that dog owners have used throughout the years one even involving a lighter! The safest way is a brilliant little, plastic gadget going by the name of a Tick Twister or Tick O’Tom.

Basically it is a hook shaped tool that you place between the tick’s body and head and twist, the twisting action releases the tick so there is no need to pull. The idea is that the ‘tool’ eliminates the need to touch the tick and the danger of being squeezed. The tick’s head is removed along with the body so there is no risk of infection through the head being left attached.

Prevention rather than cure is perfect advice and using a tick preventative product is the best defence against ticks.

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