Hanford Veterinary Hospital Blog
How to Check Your Dog For Ticks
If you have pets, chances are you know something about ticks. These parasites are everywhere, and unfortunately they can survive in almost any weather (especially when they overwinter in your garage, house, or shed). What’s more, they carry diseases that can be serious and even deadly for your pet, and some of these diseases are transmissible to you, too.
Ticks Are Everywhere
Ticks generally like moist, damp and shady places in which to breed. This could mean a pile of mulch in your yard, or a grassy hillside. To reduce tick habitat in your yard:
- Remove leaf litter
- Cut back grasses and brush around homes and walkways
- Place a 3 ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel in between wooded areas and yards to mitigate tick migration into recreational areas
- Mow the lawn frequently
- Stack wood neatly in a dry area
- Keep playground equipment and decks away from yard edges and trees
- Use fencing to discourage wildlife from entering your yard
How To Check Your Dog For Ticks
If your pet is outdoors for any length of time, they are at risk for picking up a tick, even with the best yard maintenance. Once ticks bite you or your pet, they need to be attached for between 24 – 48 hours before the disease can be transmitted. So it’s important to remove ticks before they can transmit disease.
This means, of course, that you will want to check your pet for ticks at least once a day, and each time he goes outside, ideally. Part your pet’s hair to get the deepest and closest look, and look at the skin as well as the hair.
Here are some spots to check:
- Between the toes
- Inside the ears and the ear folds
- Under the collar
- Around the tail
- Around the eyelids
- Under the chin and neck area
- Groin and armpits
Any place that looks like a good hiding place probably is. If you do find a tick, remove it right away (we can show you how) and save the tick for testing just in case your pet shows signs of a problem.
Steps to Prevention
In addition to yard maintenance and knowing where and how to check your pet for ticks, a great tool for your arsenal is preventive medication. Tick medication is specific for cats and dogs, meaning you should never apply medication to your cat that has been prescribed for your dog. There are oral and topical alternatives, so talk to us about year-round tick prevention for your pet.