When your dog doesn't seem interested in eating his food, do you know what to do? When your dog vomits often, could there be something serious wrong with him? If he struggles to get up the stairs, does he need to see a vet? Having never owned an older dog, I knew nothing about the things that can begin to go wrong when dogs age. I adopted this guy when my neighbor moved into a nursing home and had to learn a lot about how to care for an older dog. My blog is filled with the many things that I have learned over the last year through the help of my vet.
When your dog comes in with a tick attached to his or her skin, it's normal to be a bit alarmed. After all, ticks can transmit all sorts of diseases, including Lyme disease and babesiosis, and the idea of a bug sucking your dog's blood is not too appealing, either. It's important to remember that finding the tick is a good thing -- it's not going to sit there unnoticed, and the sooner you remove it, the lower your dog's risk of infection will be. Follow these steps to remove the tick and address any illness that arises in the days that follow.
Step 1: Remove the tick.
There are a lot of folklore remedies when it comes to removing ticks. Some may recommend that you hold a hot match against the tick or try to remove it with petroleum jelly. The CDC recommends against these methods for removing ticks from humans, so it stands to reason you should avoid trying them on your dog, too.
The proper way to remove a tick from your dog's skin is to grasp it with a pair of tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Pull upwards on the tick -- don't jerk it. The goal is to detach the tick and keep it in one piece. After you've removed the tick, flush it down the toilet intact. You do not want to crush it, as doing so may contaminate your hands or the area with any bacteria or viruses the tick is carrying.
Step 2: Apply an antiseptic solution.
Once you have detached and disposed of the tick, apply a little povidone-iodine solution (available at most drugstores) to a cotton ball, and wipe it over the injured area of your dog's skin. This will help kill any bacteria left behind by the tick. If you do not have iodine, you can use rubbing alcohol in the same manner; but, keep in mind that it will sting your dog a bit. You may want to have someone hold the dog while you apply the alcohol, so you don't accidentally get bit or scratched if the stinging surprises your dog.
Step 3: Watch for symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
The sooner you remove the tick from your dog, the lower his or her risk of actually contracting Lyme disease or another tick-borne illness. Keep in mind that Lyme disease can have a very long incubation period. Your dog may not show symptoms for months, but if you notice the following symptoms, you should contact a vet, like Gettysburg Road Animal Hospital, as there is a chance your dog has Lyme disease:
You should also contact your vet if your dog vomits or experiences diarrhea in the days following the tick bite, or it he or she develops a fever. These may be signs that another tick-borne disease, like babesiosis or ehrlichiosis, is developing.
If your dog is frequently being bitten by ticks, you may want to talk to your vet about tick repellents or a Lyme disease vaccination.