Skin like diamonds and hair that flows in gorgeous waves, Edward Cullen is a vampire that has won the hearts of many 14-year-old girls. Not as lucky in popularity are ticks. These blood suckers are tiny creatures that come around every spring and summer, reeking havoc on your furry friends.
Despite their minuscule size, these bloodthirsty creatures are not to be underestimated. They are sneaky and small enough to be missed by the human eye, and their blood drinking practices are not nearly as glamorous as Edward Cullen’s lips on your neck.
Burying in your four-legged friends’ soft fur, ticks may be missed by a quick scan with the human eye, but they can be felt. While petting your pup, you might feel a small bump. Never underestimate the power of the evil, bloodthirsty monster (yes, a bit extreme in the description, but you get the point.) They can cause severe tick-borne illnesses or infections. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to ward off these pesky critters.
How Do Pets Get Ticks?
To start, it is important to know where these beasts come from and how they get attached to your pet. Ticks are sneaky creatures. They hide out in tall grass and shrubs, quietly waiting for a host (i.e. human, pet, etc) to stroll by. Once their victim is walking through the woods or high grass, the tick will grasp onto the skin and start a feeding frenzy.
Warning Signs of Ticks
During a good belly rub or romp in the floor, you might find it easy to spot a tick. They most often attach near the head, neck, ears or paws of a dog. On cats, they can mostly be found around the ears and eyes. If you happen to feel a bump, separate your pets fur, so you can see the origin of the mysterious lesion. If it is a tick, run for your life! (No, I’m kidding!) Actually, you’ll have to remove the tick as soon as possible.
Safe Tick Removal
Following safe, effective steps for tick removal can ensure the health of your dog. Using a blow torch or gasoline will more than likely only wind up hurting someone and force infected fluid back into the bite. Instead, follow these simple, yet easy steps for tick removal.
- Use gloves to cover your hands.
- Take tweezers from your medicine cabinet and grab the tick from the side, by its head, as close to the pet’s skin as possible.
- Pull the tick straight up, don’t twist! Twisting can cause the tick’s head to get stuck in your pet’s skin.
- Don’t squeeze or pop the bloated belly of the tick. Transmittal of blood can lead to severe illness for you and your dog.
- Flush the bug down the toilet to dispose of the bug.
- Wash the bite area and your hands.
- Lastly, (the one rule I would hope you wouldn’t have to be instructed to do) use rubbing alcohol to clean your tweezers before you put them back in the medicine cabinet!
More than likely, you can give your self a pat on the back as you saved the day with your handy, dandy tweezers. However, sometimes if ticks are not stopped, they can cause severe illness in your pets. By knowing the symptoms of these diseases, you can seek treatment and possibly save your pets life.
Symptoms of Tick-Borne Illness in Dogs:
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Joint swelling or pain
Illnesses Caused by Ticks:
- Lyme disease
- Blood loss
- Skin irritation or infection
- Paralysis – typically a temporary paralysis that decreases once the tick is removed.
Cats seem to have all the luck when it comes to having extra lives. They even get dodge the reaper when it comes to tick-borne diseases. These illnesses rarely effect cats, giving them the upper hand when it comes to cheating death.
These blood suckers can cause damage to your pet, but being prepared and knowing how to get rid of them can lead to a safe, happy pet.
Photo Courtesy of: b_nicodemus