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.
A walk in the woods can be a relaxing bit of exercise for both you and your dog, but in the spring and summer it can also put your dog at risk of tick exposures. These blood-sucking arachnids can transmit illnesses like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, or anaplasmosis to your pet. One of the best defenses against these diseases is to check your dog thoroughly for ticks every day. The following tips can help you check for ticks more successfully.
Tip #1: Get a Summer 'Do
Dogs with long or thick hair can be particularly hard to check. All this extra fur can also be hot and uncomfortable in warm weather. Solve both problems with a trip to the groomer. Have the groomer shorten and thin your dogs hair. Depending on how quickly your dog's fur grows in, you may need to have this done every six weeks or so throughout the summer months.
Tip #2: Gather the Right Tools
A few tools help make a tick check easier:
A light colored sheet
A dog comb
A tick removal tool
A bowl filled with peroxide or alcohol
Tip #3: Get Comfortable
The best place to work is right on the floor. Place your dog on the light colored sheet. This sheet is a must because it allows you to spot a tick if it falls off of your dog during the check. If the ground is too uncomfortable, you can sit on cushion or stool. For smaller dogs, you can place the sheet on a table so you can stand and check. The key is not to have the dog on your lap, since that just exposes you to the tick if it is dropped.
Tip #4: Keep It Methodical
Start at the head and work your way down your dog's body. Push the fur up against the grain, using the comb to help separate it as needed. Although you should be looking for ticks, you also need to use the pads of your fingers to feel for the small bumps that could indicate a tick. If you find one, separate the fur and check. If you see the small black or reddish brown bump of a tick, use your tick tool to pull it off and then drop it in the bowl of peroxide to kill it. Dab the area with an alcohol pad and continue your check. Just proceed carefully on your dogs stomach and make sure any dark bumps are actually ticks and not nipples!
Monitor your dog throughout the tick season, especially if you do find ticks. If you notice a loss of appetite, lethargy, or any other health issues, take them in to the vet right away to get tested for a tick borne illness. To learn more, contact a clinic like Elizabethton Veterinary Clinic.