Ticks look like this creature – they're tiny black, brown, or reddish eight-legged insects about the size of a pinhead. However, when they attach themselves to your pet, they can swell up several times their original size (ick!). The common tick can transmit fatal illnesses like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme disease, and Summer is the time of year to really check your pet to prevent sickness in your furry friend.
Keep reading for removal and repellent tips.
Before heading outdoors there are a few ways you can naturally repel ticks from your pup:
- Ticks dislike the taste and smell of vinegar, so adding a few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to your pup's drinking water during the Summer helps naturally deter the suckers from attaching to your dog.
- Make your own dog-safe tick repellant with ingredients you already have in your pantry and spritz on your pup before heading out for long hikes.
- Rinse your pup with apple cider vinegar after bathing, which coats his fur with the acidic flavor and naturally repels the nasty bugs. So your furry friend doesn't smell like a pickle factory, spray him with diluted essential oils, such as lemongrass, rosemary, or geranium, which also naturally repel ticks.
- Give your dog regular tick massages, brushing and rubbing his mane in search of ticks.
If you find a tick, don't panic! Here's what to do:
- Safety first so put on latex gloves. It's important to avoid direct contact with the tick and contaminated skin, as diseases can be transmitted from tick to pet to human.
- Place your pet somewhere where you can get a good grip and he stays as comfy as possible. It helps to have another set of hands to hold or distract him.
- Try to ID the head or mouth parts of the tick – you'll want to grasp it with tweezers as close to your pet's skin as possible. If you grasp it by the body, it can get crushed and force harmful bacteria into your pet's bloodstream.
- Pull the tick out using a straight, steady pulling motion. It's important to be slow and gentle so its head will not remain lodged in your pet's skin (which can lead to inflammation and secondary infection).
- Safely dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet.
- Apply a pet-safe antiseptic ointment to the bitten area.
- Throw away your gloves and sterilize the tweezers, too.
- Now give your pet a treat – he's been through a lot!