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  • Kara Dyko

Tick Season Survival

Let's Talk Ticks! These tiny tyrants are starting to come out in great numbers this year, but staying on trails, wearing fitted long-sleeved shirts and pants, and performing "tick checks" will help you and your dog avoid carrying one of these parasites home.

Warning, this blog might make you feel a serious case of... I believe the technical term is - heeby-jeebies!

Here's how to navigate tick season and ensure your dog stays safe and healthy.

What are Ticks?

Ticks are parasitic arthropods that feed on the blood of their hosts. More specifically, ticks are classified as arachnids. Yes, arachnids, as in spiders - as if I needed more reasons to dislike ticks!

Types of Ticks in the Pacific Northwest

The PNW is home to four main types of ticks:

  • Western Black Legged tick

  • Brown dog ticks

  • American dog ticks

  • Rocky Mountain wood ticks

Understanding Tick Behavior

Ticks are most active from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November, and

usually reside in wooded areas, shrubs, tall grass or leafy areas. They can latch onto your dog as it brushes past vegetation, so it's essential to be vigilant, especially after outdoor activities like hiking and camping.  

That being said, ticks can survive in various environments, and that tall grass at your neighbourhood park could also be hosting some unwanted bloodsuckers. 

So how do you check for a tick on dogs? After a day out in high tick risk areas - which unfortunately tend to be great places for walks - be sure to carefully check you and your dog for ticks. They look like a small bump on your dogs skin. Search with both your eyes and hands. Check between toes, inside the ears, between the legs, and around the neck. If you notice a small, unusual bump, pull back the fur back to look closer.

Three Signs Your Dog May Have A Tick On Their Body

  1. Licking and chewing at a particular area on their body.

  2. Red, inflamed skin around an embedded tick.

  3. Head-shaking if a tick has latched onto their ear.

How to Safely Remove a Tick

Removing a tick as soon as you find it is important. To help you properly remove ticks, here are a few tips:

1. Using a pair of tweezers or a specialized tick removal tool, grasp the tick as close to the dog’s skin as possible.

Never twist, press, burn, or apply irritating substances like vaseline to an attached tick because doing so can cause the parasite to expel the contents of its digestive tract. (Yuck!)

2. With light pressure, pull the tick straight out; at the same angle that it burrowed in, if possible. You'll hear a slight pop as it releases.

3. Sometimes, the head and mouth won't release with the body. Let the wound heal with the pieces left behind. Your dog's immune system will dispose of the organic debris as the wound heals.

4. Clean the bite area with three-percent hydrogen peroxide. It's recommended for tick bites because the oxygen it contains destroys the Lyme disease bacteria.

5. Dispose of the tick by drowning it in a container of rubbing alchol or soapy water, or wrap it in tape and throw it away.

It's a process but definitely worth it. Protecting your dog and family from tick-bourne diseases is super important to our Boxer rescue family and we definitely won't let these pesky creatures stop us from enjoying the outdoors!

How do you protect your dogs (and yourself) against ticks?



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