Ticks are just one of many disease-carrying pests that target dogs and their humans. Ticks are great at playing hide and seek and even have favorite tick hiding places. In most cases, depending on the region we live in and our lifestyle, it’s not a question of if our pooch will end up with a bloodsucker, but when.
We are all at risk, but our pups need a little help finding and removing ticks. These are some of the top tick hiding places to check on our dogs:
Ears: Around, Underneath, & Inside
Ticks love warm, cramped places. They jump off the tips of branches and tall grass onto their victims. Dogs bound head first through the brush, making their ears a vulnerable first stop for ticks. And anyone with a dog breed that has long ears knows all too well how our dog’s ears can be warm, damp dirt magnets.
Feel around the ears for nodules or bumps. Check the top and bottom of the ear flap as well as along the edges. Then be sure to check inside the ear canal. It can be helpful to use a small flashlight or headlight. We don’t have to spend a lot of time here, but being thorough is key. This is number one on the list of favorite tick hiding places for a reason.
Eyes: Around & Underneath
Ticks can hide in creases and folds. That can end up being many places on our pups bodies, but a commonly overlooked area are the eyes. This will be more of a problem for some breeds than for others, but around the eyes and under the eyelids are places ticks like to latch onto our pups.
Begin by gently resting the palm over one eye to help our dog feel comfortable with our hand near this sensitive area. As we lightly brush our hand along the eye and to the side of their face, their eye will be closed, and we can quickly look for the familiar round tick shape. Repeat this step as needed. Then, without ceremony, gently use the thumb to push the eyelid up for a glance at the underside of the eyelid. This can be a little nerve-racking for dogs and humans, so practicing after every walk will help make it an easy routine.
Clothes & Collars
Some of our fur-babies have safety or visibility vests. Others wear winter sweaters or holiday outfits. And all of our pet pals should be wearing a collar at all times. It can be easy to forget to check in and around these areas.
Remember to check fur and skin, but also check the clothing articles. Take them completely off and look through all folds or creases. On our pups, we can look for bumps where the tick has already take a bite, but on clothes and collars, we’ll need to remember to actually look for the tick. And we need to be careful that we don’t let them jump to us if they aren’t actually attached to our dog yet.
Tail & Groin
Now that we know ticks like warm, dark places, the base of the tail and the groin area make sense, right? This is also where hair can be longest and least disturbed. The upper, inner thigh, the base of the tail, underneath the tail, and around sensitive areas are all important to check.
A surprisingly common misunderstanding veterinarians report among first-time dog owners is to mistake dog nipples for ticks – especially on male dogs. People have been so focused and diligent about removing ticks that they have actually tried to pull or burn off nipples. Just remember, both boy and girl dogs have nipples, and they do look a little like ticks on some breeds. When in doubt, just ask the vet. It’s OK to ask.
Toes & Paw Pads
In active pups, it can seem impossible for a tick to thrive on the underside of our pup’s paw, but it happens. They crawl between toes and into the area around the pad. They can end up around the dew claw. And sometimes they can be found around the carpal pad – the thumb-shaped pad on the back of the leg slightly above the paw.
Remember to move the hair around feel deeply around the paw and between the toes. We can check armpits while we’re dealing with the legs, too.
Prevent & Protect
Vet Organics has introduced an exciting new product – a bug repellent that will help eliminate ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, mites, and more from our pets. EcoBug not only protects our precious pups but protects their human family and household from these pests. Knowing all about favorite tick hiding places will be almost useless once you use this natural, organic remedy.