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Sticking it to Ticks
You and I and our four-legged friends aren't the only ones frolicking in the long-awaited spring sunshine. Bloodthirsty ticks are, too - and they happen to be out in full force. These stealthy, tiny parasites are pros at avoiding detection, so it's important that we always stay one step ahead of them - particularly when it comes to our pets.
We all know that ticks spread deadly Lyme, but did you also know they can be formidable carriers of some lesser-known, tongue-twisting diseases like Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Bartonellosis, and Hepatozoonosis? True story! But don't stress. Your trusted vet can assist you in selecting the optimal preventative monthly treatment for your dog. If treating a cat, never, EVER cross-use cat and dog meds as the consequences can be fatal.
Even if your dog is currently medicated or collared, play it safe and keep your dog away from popular tick hangouts like heavy brush, bushes, woods, shady vegetation, and ground ivy. Thoroughly inspect your dog when he comes in from outdoor playtime. Part the fur and give his skin a precursory visual once-over for any reddish or irritated spots. Then, using your fingers like a comb, run them over the entirety of your dog's body from head to tail in search of bumps or snags. Flea combs can be useful, too. Don't neglect your dog's ears, groin, underside of the tail, and in between the toes, as ticks are naturally drawn to damp, dark areas. Dense or long fur can be more challenging, so be sure to give your shaggy friends a little extra time and attention. (And as for yourself, it's advisable to recruit a human "tick buddy" to help check areas of your body - back, head, etc. - that aren't easily self-accessible.)
If you do find a tick attached to your dog, don't panic. Opt for fine-pointed tweezers to avoid ripping the tick's body apart, spread your dog's fur, and grip the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull upward in a steady, slow, gentle motion. If you have a tick twister, follow the instructions on the packaging - the tick should detach itself after several rotations.
For more info on keeping your canine happily tick-free this season, visit https://www.petmd.com/dog/