Wednesday, 28 April 2010
With spring here and summer right around the corner that means that ticks are out in full force, hidden in parks and other grassy or leafy areas, just waiting for their next meal.
Ticks are parasitic arthropods that feed on the blood of the animal they attach to. They are found in tall grassy areas, mountainous regions, and anywhere that has a lot of trees and plants. Once they attach to their ‘prey’, they will feed on it until full, which could be several days. They usually attach to areas on the animal that don’t have a lot of fur, such as around the ears, between the toes, or in the crevasses of the legs.
The best way to ensure your dog’s health is to check him or her after walks by running your hands over the entire body, paying particular attention to the areas mentioned above, and to take preventative measures to avoid infestation. This can be done with the following methods:
1. Spraying a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar on your dog’s coat before walks. This is great for the skin and coat, but also leaves an acidic film on the coat that ticks are not attracted to. Also, it is all natural with no chemicals or toxins that can be harmful to your dog, and is in fact great for his digestive system should he or she lick some of it off.
2. Ensure your dog’s immune system is strong. A strong immune system is a deterrent for both ticks and fleas. Feeding healthy foods, vitamins, and minerals all help boost the immune system.
3. Add garlic to the diet and feed daily. Feed about one gram of garlic (about half a regular clove) per ten kilograms of dog every day (so a 20 kg dog would get one clove). The Taiwan SPCA has found that garlic is just as effective at keeping fleas and ticks away as spraying with chemical parasiticides.
(For more information on healthy diets please go to www.barftaiwan.com or www.barfworld.com.)
If you do find a tick on your dog it must be removed immediately. Please follow these steps for safe removal:
Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grasp the tick at the base of the skin, pulling slowly and making sure to pull out the head as well. DO NOT squeeze the tick’s body as this could inject diseases into your dog. Once the tick is removed, put pressure on the area to stop any bleeding and clean with warm soapy water. Keep an eye on the area for a couple days to make sure no infection has started. Always remember to keep yourself safe and wash your hands after handling ticks.