There are times when you notice your pets, especially if you have a pet dog, are being uncomfortable because of the itch they’re feeling.
Sometimes they would even make sounds to let you know that they are having a hard time dealing with it. As owners, you’ll help them by scratching them or giving them a bath but still, the itch just won’t go away. You now start to wonder why your pet is itching in the first place and we’re telling you, probably because of ticks.
Ticks are small, parasitic insects that live by feeding on the blood of pets like dogs, birds, and other mammals, amphibians and reptiles. They are considered as external parasites or ectoparasites, and is a problem of pet owners throughout the world, especially on warm and humid regions. Like other insects, it has a life cycle which involves four stages. From being an egg, it turns into a larva, nymph, and then into an adult tick. A type of this parasite called ixodid ticks require 3 places for them to turn into an adult. A mother tick would lay her eggs on small birds or mammals and when they turn into larvae, they would feed on the blood of their host. After that, they would detach themselves from the hose to fall into the ground where they will turn into nymphs, and look for a bigger target to feed on their blood so they would evolve into an adult.
Although ticks are commonly found on animals, there are rare cases when they even attacked children, specially 10-year-old girls and below with long hair. After feeding on the girl’s blood for a long time, the child would then experience a feeling of paralysis. Tick paralysis happens after a tick injects its toxic saliva into the blood of a person. Within a week, the victim will start feeling tired from his legs, trunks, arms, until his entire body gets paralyzed. If not treated immediately, it can result into a failure of the respiratory system and even death.
There’s also a type of tick that can make you lose your appetite on red meat. It’s called the lone star tick which has alpha-gel in its saliva, a substance that will give you allergic reactions if you ever eat such meat. Once injected into the bloodstream, the immune system will see it as a threat and will release antibodies to contain it. Alpha-gel is also present on mammal meat so when you eat it after being bitten by a lone star tick, the body already recognizes it as a threat and you’ll have allergic reactions.
If you don’t want to remove red meat from your food plan, you must make sure to stay away from lone star ticks. To do that, you must recognize it first. Typically, this kind of tick has a more rounded body than the others. It’s usually reddish-brown in color, with its female having a white or cream single spot on its back. On the other hand, its male specie often displays a bright colored pattern in its body. Once you see these characteristics to an insect you’re not familiar with, don’t approach or touch it and just stay away.
Thankfully, there are several ways on how you can avoid having ticks to cling on your pets. For example, you should check your pets often to see if its already hosting these parasites. Knowing immediately give you the edge to remove them early. Just make sure to leave no traces behind and remove every part of the tick’s body so they won’t come back. Also, when bathing your dogs, you can use a kind of shampoo that is specialized to kill those pests. But you don’t have to do it every day, though. Twice a month is enough, just once every two weeks.
There are other products that are specialized to kill ticks. Example of that is tick powder which guarantees to remove these parasites from your pet’s skin. The powder can give an uncomfortable feeling to people so it’s important to just put the right amount on your pet so you won’t end up inhaling it. You should also be mindful of the powder you are using and see if it’s appropriate for your pet and its age. Applying tick powder must be done once a week, especially when your pet is already having too much hard time dealing with them.
Veterinarians may also suggest your dog or other pet to take a tick dip. It is a mixture of chemical substances that are put together to repel ticks. Just put this in water and use a sponge to rub it in the back of your pet, but don’t rinse it off. And because it is made of chemical compounds, pets that are too young and pregnant should refrain from using this. It can be very dangerous so be careful when you use it.
Another that will surely get rid of ticks is tick spray. But just like tick dips, it also contains strong chemicals so extra precautions must be made when using them. Be careful not to spray on your pet’s face, or on other animals that don’t have ticks. Also, don’t use the spray on a confined or closed room because the chemicals will stay in the air, which can be bad for your health.
Next on our list is spot-on treatments. These are the medications that veterinarians prescribed on your pets. Very effective, yes, and will keep those parasites away for at most a month. There are also spot-on treatments that can be bought online and in pet stores but before you apply them, make sure to consult a vet first. It’s better to have it checked by experts first to know if it won’t have any bad effects later.
You can also ask oral medications from veterinarians if your pet is suffering from ticks. These pills work effectively against ticks and disrupts the life cycle of fleas so they won’t mature into adults. It’s like killing two “pests” with one stone. The good thing about oral medication is that you won’t have to worry about having chemicals stay in the atmosphere, which is a big concern when you use tick sprays. As it will be directly consumed by your pet, contact with children and other animals will be avoided as well.
There is also a special collar designed to keep ticks away from the neck and head of dogs. Tick collars has chemicals that can kill ticks in them, and they have to make contact with the dog’s skin in order to release the chemicals. If you are going to use this, however, make sure that you don’t put it on your dog’s neck too tight so it won’t choke and will still have space to breath. But don’t put it loosely as well, an allowance of two fingers is enough.
Lastly, and perhaps the easiest method that you can do is to just keep the dogs or indoors. You may think it’s impossible because pets also like taking walks. But don’t worry, we’re talking about at night. When the sun sets, keep your dogs inside the house to prevent ticks from clinging onto them. When taking walks in the day, avoid going through grassy and woody areas because that’s where ticks are usually hiding.
Dogs, cats, and other house animals, they aren’t just pets. They’re also part of the family so as owners, you need to make sure that they are well taken care off. If they ever have a hard time because of these parasites, just follow any the ways to deal with ticks that are mentioned above and you will surely get rid of them. Share this article to spread this knowledge to your family and friends!