Ticks are basically the ectoparasites that live by sucking the blood off your dog, birds, cats and some amphibians. They are widely distributed around the world, however, they prefer the warm and humid climates, because that’s when they can properly flourish.
So, you see, there is one more disadvantage of global warming.
Ticks around the world can be classified in one of these two families. One of them is Argasidae or the soft ticks and the other one is Ixodidae or the hard ticks. As the name suggests, soft ticks are generally, easier to get rid of than the hard ticks.
The bodies of adult ticks are generally of the shape of oval or pear and their bodies inflate after sucking blood, just like balloons inflate after filling it with air. These insects with eight legs have a hard shield on their dorsal surfaces and a beak-like structure on the front that has its mouthparts. On the other hand, mouthparts of soft ticks are located beneath their body.
They locate their host by a change in odor and environment.
Their nutritional requirement is satisfied by the blood they suck from the bodies of their host. Blood of their host is the key to their development from one stage to other. Although they can stay alive for a long period of time (it is said that they observe fast) they eventually die from the lack of blood.
Moreover, ticks are very particular about the skin they will feed on. Some ticks specifically look for thicker skin, then there are other ticks that will feed on thinner skin, like the skin of the ear.
They follow a definite procedure when they find a skin type they like. On a suitable spot, they grasp on the skin of the host and cuts the surface and then extract the blood by cutting a hole. They manage to avoid the clotting of the blood by releasing a platelet aggregation inhibitor or an anticoagulant. The time of the feeding differs from tick to tick. Some complete the procedure in a few minutes and some can take a few hours.
So, now the question comes, how to find these ticks on the dogs. But before you start looking for ticks on the dogs, first you need to know what exactly you are looking for.
There are three most common types of ticks that you can find on a dog
- – Ixodes or the deer ticks can be of the size of a lentil or a beetle. Their legs, thorax, and head are black in color and the rest of the body is tanned.
- – Rhipicephalus almost looks like a deer tick except it has brown legs instead of black and their tanned bodies are stripped in dark colors.
- – Dermacentor is bean-shaped, otherwise, they look like Rhipicephalus.
How to Find Ticks on Dogs?
1 A Tick in your Home
If you find a tick in places like carpets, covers or any other place in your home, then don’t just remove and forget about it. There is a probability that you or your dog has brought it inside the house. Perform a thorough examination of your house and pet for any possible tick infection.
2 Your Dog Has a Fever
It is a very high probability that if your dog is down with a fever then it is tick infection. Conversely, the most common symptom of tick infection is a fever. Some other symptoms of Tick infection are—unusual panting, shivering, weakness, loss of appetite.
3 Unexplained Scabs
If your dog is nipping or licking at a particular site repeatedly, then it is possible that it is a tick bite that your dog is nipping at. So, inspect your dog carefully if such a behavior is observed.
4 Lots of Head Shaking
If your dog is continuously shaking its head then it is possible that a tick is ticking it in its ear. Favorite hiding sites of ticks on a dog’s body are the places that remain warm and wet, places such as ears, groin or under its legs. Ticks can even crawl up their bodies from these places.
If the shaking of its head is more than usual then get a flashlight, direct it to its ears and look for ticks.
5 A Small Bump on Its Body
This is the first sign of a tick infection on its body. While petting him if you feel a bump on its body then it is confirmed that your dog is tick infected. Don’t ignore the bump, part its fur and see what caused the bump.
It is suggested that you check some obvious places of tick infection from time to time. These places are behind its ears, under the armpits, between the toes of the dog, around the head and its tail. Also, don’t forget to look for ticks beneath the collar. Sizes of the tick will not always be same. Some will be of the size of a pinhead and some can be of the size of a grape. Identifying the ticks from their color is also possible. They are usually black or brown in color but they can turn grayish white when they are full, or when they are in an engorged state.
If you see something you don’t like after your investigation then to be on the safer side, wet the fur of your dog. This way you can part its hair easily and confirm your suspicions.
In addition, if you find the ticks then don’t remove them by your hands. If you do then the ticks can bite you and increase the possibility of infection, it is safe to keep a pair of gloves by your side for this purpose. Along with the gloves, it is safer to have some rubbing alcohol, antiseptic liquid, antibiotic ointment, a tick removing tool or a pair of tweezers. All these things are easily available at pet supply stores.
Also, when you remove the ticks on your dogs, then keep the tick in a bag which you can seal shut. Sprinkle a good amount of rubbing alcohol on it, so that it can die easily. Do not discard this bag for a few days. If your dog is ill then show that tick to your vet. It becomes easier for the vet to suggest the course of medication when they know what kind of tick infected your dog.