Tick season lasts throughout spring, summer and fall, with May, June and July being the peak months on Cape Cod. The key to your dog’s safety on the Cape, or anywhere else, is prevention. Ticks are commonly found on Cape Cod in the woods and grassy areas. Ticks can infect your dog and may carry lyme disease. Here are some good tips for avoiding infection from ticks.
- Use a tick preventative.
- Ask your vet for a tick screening at your next checkup.
- Talk to your vet about diseases such as lyme disease from ticks.
- Check your dog after going outside.
- If possible, stay away from tick infested wooded or grassy areas.
- Discourage tick harboring animals from entering your yard with a barrier or fence.
- Watch your dog for changes in appetite or behavior.
How to Check for Ticks
Ticks are like a creeping, crawling, jumping pharmacy. They release numbing agents and other substances that aid in their survival and make it hard for your dog to detect their presence. This is where you come in.
- Brush your fingers through your dogs fur feeling for bumps. If you feel a bump, separate the fur and inspect closely.
- Look in the ears, between the toes, under the belly, and around the tail and head. Check everywhere.
- If the tick is embedded, it may be appear to be pin-sized. If it has been feeding for a while, it may be the size of a grape. Look carefully.
Ticks need somewhere between 24 and 48 hours to spread infection, so if you spot one, remove it immediately. Here’s how:
- If possible, put on latex gloves.
- Use tweezers to grasp near the attachment point and pull back.
- Clean and disinfect the bite area, your hands and the tweezers.
Identify the Tick
Black Legged Deer Ticks are the primary transmitters of lyme disease. The chart below will aid you in identifying Deer Ticks.
Place the tick in rubbing alcohol and mark the date.The alcohol will kill and preserve the tick. Mark the date and save the tick in case you need a test later to determine if the tick was infected with lyme disease.
Watch the infected area for a small red ring or rash. A rash could mean that a part of the tick remained inside the skin and will work it’s way out. A red ring could indicate possible lyme disease. Fluid could be a sign of an infection.
Remember, the tick will not back out. You must pull it out. Also, do not use other methods to remove the tick such as burning the tick, using nail polish remover or petroleum jelly. These methods do not work and can cause the tick to release more pathogens into your dogs epidural layer.