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What's ticking them off this spring?

Ticks are small arachnids, belonging to the order Parasitiformes. They are ectoparasites, meaning they live on the outside of their host, and they feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians.

Ticks are attracted to dogs for several reasons:

  1. Warmth and Carbon Dioxide: Ticks are sensitive to the body heat and carbon dioxide emitted by mammals, including dogs. These signals help ticks locate potential hosts.

  2. Access to Blood: Ticks need blood meals to progress through their life stages and reproduce. Dogs, being warm-blooded mammals, provide a convenient source of blood for ticks.

  3. Activity and Environment: Dogs often roam in environments where ticks are commonly found, such as wooded areas, tall grass, and leaf litter. This increases the likelihood of dogs encountering and picking up ticks.

  4. Body Fur: The fur on dogs provides a good hiding place for ticks, offering protection from being noticed and removed quickly. It also makes it easier for ticks to attach and feed without being disturbed.

  5. Chemical Cues: Ticks are attracted to specific chemicals present on the skin of their hosts. These chemicals can vary between species and even individual animals, making some dogs more attractive to ticks than others.

Ticks are opportunistic feeders and will attach to any suitable host that crosses their path. Dogs, with their behaviors and environments, often provide an ideal target for these parasites. To protect dogs from ticks, regular tick prevention measures and performing routine tick checks are essential.

K9 Anytime Grooming offer both a full body check during every bath or groom, as well as a natural Flea & Tick repellent bath treatment

Ticks can cause several health issues for dogs:

  1. Blood Loss and Anemia: Ticks feed on the dog's blood. Heavy infestations can lead to significant blood loss, which may result in anemia, especially in puppies or smaller dogs.

  2. Skin Irritation and Infection: The bite of a tick can cause irritation, redness, and swelling. Scratching or biting at the tick can lead to secondary bacterial infections.

  3. Transmission of Diseases: Ticks are vectors for various diseases that can affect dogs, including:

  • Lyme Disease: Caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, it can lead to symptoms such as fever, lameness, and swollen joints.

  • Ehrlichiosis: Caused by the Ehrlichia species, it can cause fever, lethargy, weight loss, and in severe cases, bleeding disorders.

  • Anaplasmosis: Caused by the Anaplasma species, it can lead to fever, joint pain, and lethargy.

  • Babesiosis: Caused by the Babesia species, it can result in fever, anemia, and jaundice.

  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: Caused by Rickettsia rickettsii, it can cause fever, lethargy, and neurological signs.

  1. Tick Paralysis: Certain female ticks can produce a toxin that affects the dog's nervous system, leading to weakness and potentially life-threatening paralysis if left untreated.

  2. Local Reactions: A tick bite can cause localized pain and inflammation. In some cases, a granuloma or a hard lump might form at the site of the bite.

Do not use tweezers to remove ticks!

If a tick is found on a dog, it should be removed promptly and properly to minimize the risk of disease transmission. Regular tick prevention and control measures are essential to protect dogs from these potential health issues. This can include tick preventatives, regular grooming and checking for ticks. Ask the K9 Anytime Grooming team for advice on your dog's flea and tick prevention this summer.


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