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Keeping your dog tick-free

Keeping your dog tick-free
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How do ticks find my dog?

Ticks are parasites that dwell in grass and dense vegetative areas. They bury their heads into a dog's skin and gorge themselves on its blood. Ticks can cling to skin, fur, or fabric when your dog brushes up against vegetation, and you may not notice them until they have already begun to feed.

a. Keep your dog away from known tick habitats.

i. Ticks engage in a behavior called "questing": they climb low shrubs and grass until they're 18-24 inches off the ground, and they lurk in wait for animals--like your dog--to brush against their perch. Be especially wary if you're passing through an area with a profusion of low, thick underbrush.

ii. Ticks have heat sensors that can detect the body heat emitted by a dog.

iii. The tick uses its legs to grab onto your dog's fur as the dog passes by or hang on the spaces between his paws. It worms its way through the fur toward the skin. The tick begins to gorge itself on the dog's blood in order to fertilize its eggs.

iv. Once ticks enter a house they hide in nooks in the wall , under the bed, in carpets or other fabric. The moment a dog settles down, they start running towards him.

Once they are going to lay eggs, the female starts climbing the wall and at the top she lays her eggs. When these hatch the ticks come crawling down.

v. Dogs can carry ticks in that do not latch on immediately, but instead spread throughout a home. Keep your eyes peeled for small, eight-legged, spider- or mite-like creatures.

How do I keep him away from ticks ?

Check his body and specially his paws and inside his ears every day and pull them out with tweezers in the direction that they are attached.
b. Make your dog an unappealing host for ticks. It is safest to keep your dog away from wooded areas and tick habitats, but if you do decide to take him for a hike, you can make him less appetizing to these bloodthirsty bugs.

i. Try applying a topical insecticide directly to your dog's skin for long-term protection. This may be the easiest solution. A one-time dose will protect your dog from fleas for anywhere from 30 to 90 days.

ii. Try fitting your dog with a tick collar. Tick collars need to be changed every 3 to 4 months, but they are relatively non-intrusive and they will kill ticks. Many tick collars contain a dog-safe pesticide--an acaricide--that kills ticks without poisoning your dog. Some acaricides kill ticks on contact; others are absorbed into your dog's bloodstream, over time, and kill ticks that attach and feed.

iii. Try using tick sprays. Tick-repellent sprays are typically designed for a one-time use, and they tend to wear off more quickly than the other options.

iv. Tick sprays are often made from natural ingredients, whereas many other tick repellents are based on pesticides and insecticides.
v. Be careful not to mix medications.

i. Bathe your dog in flea-and-tick shampoo. These products are primarily designed to rid your dog of the ticks that he already has on him, although some shampoos have a lingering anti-tick effect.

To properly use a flea and tick shampoo, you must be sure to work the shampoo in over your dog's entire body, and then leave it on for at least 10 minutes before you rinse it off. Remember to protect your dog's eyes and ears.
Consider placing a white towel beneath your dog while you bathe it. Ticks may fall off of your dog and onto the towel, making them easier to spot.

(Send your questions tomanekaanimallove@gmail.com)

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