Step One when it comes to ticks is Prevention. Talk to your vet about getting your animals onto a tick medication. There are a few out there and your vet will be able to help you decide what is right for your family. We currently are on a monthly topical medication that both our dogs receive. It helps to kill existing ticks they may have plus any larvae. It also helps to repel any future ticks. This helps give me peace of mind as we love to be outdoors and ticks still give me the creeps. The second thing, that is a must, is you need to be vigilant in checking your pets for ticks. Even if you use a tick repellent as nothing is fool proof! Starting at your dogs head, run your fingers over them feeling for any bumps (typically about the size of a small pea). Ticks tend to like dark moist areas so don't forget to check inside their ears, their armpits, the groin area, between their toes and under their tail. This is where good grooming manners comes in very handy. Also be sure to watch your dogs, if they have recently begun to scratch or shake at their ears they may have a tick in the ear canal. Same if you notice them biting or scratching at a specific area - check to make sure there is no tick.
Now, what do you do if you happen to find one of these critters? There is many different Facebook posts and information floating around and we highly recommend you do your research first. One that is very prevalent at the moment is to put peppermint oil on the tick causing it to remove itself. While this is a nice idea, there is research to show that this may cause the tick to regurgitate the blood it has been feeding on, increasing the risk of Lyme disease. As directed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) it is best to use tweezers and grasp the tick firmly as close to the skin (at the head) as possible and firmly pull straight out. Do not twist or jerk it and avoid grasping the body.
From us here at Canine Coaching - Be aware of ticks but don't let that stop you from getting out there and enjoying your summer!