The sun is finally shining, flowers are blooming, and it’s time to enjoy this beautiful time of year with your pet. But the summer can also mean an unwelcome visitor -– ticks.
I’m the social media intern for TickEncounter, a tick prevention resource center based at the University of Rhode Island, which specializes in tick bite prevention for pets and humans alike. With summer months being especially “ticky,” we’re urging everyone to be looking out for ticks. Here’s what you should know:
Make sure to perform tick checks
While you may not be thinking about ticks after taking your dog to the park or for a walk on a path, it’s important to, especially during these summer months. Perform tick checks on your pet, and groom your pets after walks. You should also perform checks on yourself.
Because many pets have thick fur, ticks may take a while before biting a dog or cat. If your dog or cat comes into the house before the tick is attached, their ticks may latch onto you or other family members.
How to get rid of a tick
What to do if you find a tick on your pet? You’re going to want to get that bloodsucker off your pet as soon as possible, for starters, but don’t rush! First, you need to make sure you have the proper tools to remove a tick. Use a pointy tweezer, not your normal household variety; use something similar to what you would use to remove splinters.
Once you have the correct tool, just follow these four easy steps:
- Disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol.
- Grab the tick’s “head” as close to the skin as possible.
- Once you’ve grabbed the tick, you should use a slow, steady motion to pull upwards to remove the tick.
- Disinfect the area again.
Just like that, you’ve removed that gross little tick from your pet. Watch this step-by-step video to see it in action:
If you’re concerned your pet could have contracted an illness from that tick bite, consider this: For most tick-borne diseases, you have at least 24 hours to remove a feeding tick before it transmits an infection.
Also, each type of tick mostly has its own type of germs, so knowing the type of tick can help assess the disease risk. But there’s only one way to know for certain if the tick that bit your pet carries any diseases, and that’s through tick testing. Testing tells you if your pet should be treated before symptoms begin to appear, or if there’s nothing to worry about.
If your dog had an encounter with a tick and you want to help others, we encourage you to become part of our TickSpotter Network. Simply take a picture of your pet (and the tick if you can) and send it to the TickEncounter website, where the team will post your photo and share your story. You’ll help to provide others in your area with information about what ticks they should be looking out for.
Have you found ticks on your dog? Yourself? Let us know in the comments!
Read more on fleas and ticks: