Sam Shephard is an experienced German Shepherd owner and has learned throughout the years how to optimize the breed's health and wellness.
If you thought your dog’s fleas were bad, then you’ll want to make sure that they don’t get ticks. Fleas might be annoying, but at least they’re small and don’t cause major disease in most cases. Ticks, on the other hand, are much larger and if left unattended, they can lead your dog to develop a serious illness.
Finding and eliminating ticks can be a bit of a challenge. Not only do you have to search your dog to remove the ticks, but you have to make sure that you remove them from the environment that led to them getting ticks in the first place. In this article, we’re going to discuss the best ways to manage ticks with your shepherd.
Ticks are tiny, blood-sucking bugs that are usually found in wooded areas. They are also sometimes found in the plains. These parasites are not only annoying, they can carry diseases that can be fatal to both dogs and humans.
Once a tick latches on to a dog, it begins to suck blood. It generally takes somewhere between 5 and 6 hours for a tick to firmly attach itself to an animal or a human. After this, it begins sucking blood from the creature. It will continue to suck blood for up to 10 days until it becomes full.
Female ticks actually require the blood of a mammal for them to lay their eggs. Unfortunately, the bite of a tick can lead to a number of diseases. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases include:
- Lyme disease
- Tick-borne relapsing fever
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Preventing Your Dog From Getting Ticks
Naturally, you’re not going to want to risk your dog getting infected with a tick-borne disease. There are a few things to keep in mind that will help you minimize the risk of contracting any of these illnesses.
- Make sure that you check your pet for ticks on a daily basis if you live in an area where ticks live or if you’re traveling. This is especially important to do if your dog has been outside, but ticks can also wander inside so it’s important to check them regardless.
- Get your vet to conduct a tick check every time you get your dog a checkup. Even if you’re diligent it’s still possible that there could be ticks hiding in hard-to-see areas.
- Try to get your dog in an environment where ticks are not known to live. If there are ticks in your backyard, for example, consider taking your dog to a safer area to play.
Places to Check for Ticks on Dogs
Ticks can latch on to anywhere on your dog’s body, but there are a few places that you should take extra care to check.
- Ticks like to latch-up near the ears and behind the ear flaps.
- You'll find ticks on the eyebrows.
- Ticks are commonly found near the shoulders and the shoulder blades.
- Ticks find it easy to attach to the upper leg.
These are just the most common places to look for ticks on dogs. You may find them elsewhere. Be thorough in your investigation.
Our dogs don't have ticks that often. We live in an area where ticks are fairly rare. If we do find them, we use a kind of tick "plier" or puller. With the tool, you can grab the tick, twist, and pull it out completely if you do it the right way. We have another tick removal tool where you don't have to twist but just pull it up. They both work equally well, just make sure you use the right technique for the tool you have.
19 times out of 20 you should get the whole tick out. Always check to make sure that there are no more parts stuck in your dog's skin. I have not seen the same tick tool we have on Amazon, but there seem to be similar tools there. If you don't have one and you need to remove a tick right now, you can use general tweezers, but it's a little more difficult to grab a tick that way.
Products for Managing Ticks
There are a number of different products that can be useful for helping to prevent the chances of your dog getting ticks. These are some of the most popular products.
- Once-a-month topical insecticides. These products are highly effective at killing ticks and only need to be used once a month. However, if you’re not comfortable with the idea of applying a pesticide that’s fatal to bugs to your own skin, you probably shouldn’t use it on your dog.
- Powders. There are a number of tick-fighting powders, most of which contain pyrethrin. These are quite easy to use, but they can also make a big mess. Make sure that you only use these in an area where there is a lot of ventilation.
- Shampoo. Some dog shampoos also contain pyrethrin which can be very useful for helping to ward off ticks.
- Sprays. There are lots of sprays that can be useful for helping to kill ticks and fleas. Again, these mostly contain pyrethrin.
I don't advice you to use any products without you asking your vet. When your dogs don't have ticks often you should be ok with a simple tick removal tool.
Tick Prevention Is Important
Ticks are a nuisance and a potential danger. It’s important to know how you can avoid them and how to do tick removal from dogs. Hopefully, this article has given you enough information for you to know how to avoid having ticks latch on to your dog.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2019 Sam Shepards