Sunday, March 29, 2015

How to Deal With Ticks

Charlie: "Do we have to talk about this? Ticks are yucky."

In our part of the world, they're inevitable. I've become nonchalant about picking them off both Charlie and myself. I'm scared to death of spiders, but I can pick ticks off us like it's nothing.

Most of the trails we hike are pretty "natural" and I know that ticks are just a part of the "nature" that we're out there enjoying.

And since this is a risk that I accept, I also take as many precautions as possible, because ticks sometimes carry diseases.

  • All the research I've done about vaccinating Charlie from these diseases leads me to believe that a relatively healthy dog whose dog-mom is keeping an eye on her health will be better off being treated for such disease if it ever presents itself rather than the risks involved with over-vaccination. So I've opted to NOT vaccinate her for Lyme's Disease.
  • I apply monthly tick-meds (basically pesticides) to Charlie only for the absolute necessary months during peak tick-season. While I loathe doing this to her, I feel it's worth the trade-off of keeping her mostly safe from tick bites.
  • After hikes, I brush Charlie thoroughly and give her a good rub-down, inspecting for ticks the whole time. Her light-colored fur is a blessing for this!

Even so, some ticks still end up biting and attaching to her.

Charlie says "YUCK!" to ticks!

I used to use regular tweezers to pull them off, but unfortunately this method sometimes left parts of the tick still embedded in her skin. I also read somewhere that squeezing a tick's body can actually push diseases into your dog!

So I looked into getting a tool made specifically to remove ticks. And I found one that works great for me! You'll likely find many styles and brands of these on the market, so it's important to find one that works well for you.

My top choice is the Tick Twister. It's small enough that it fits in our hiking first-aid kit and it's easy for my small hands to use. I also like the twist-off method and feel that it gets the tick off Charlie more quickly and easily than other tools, which means less pain for her.

On the first weekend of Spring this year, Charlie happened to pick up a tick that I didn't notice and it attached to her. A few days later while I was petting her, I felt the bloated tick on her neck and immediately went into action! It's important to remove the tick as soon as possible to prevent it from passing any infection or disease to your pet.

Here's a video of me using the Tick Twister on Charlie... you can see how quickly this works!

VIDEO (best viewed in Chrome or Firefox):

Remember to watch for ticks on yourself as well. I wear light-colored pants with my socks pulled up over the cuffs, I also check myself for ticks after a hike and all my clothes go into the hamper when we get home.

Tick season is definitely here, so if you happen to live in a part of the country where they are prevalent, take caution and be safe out there!

Charlie likes the Tick Twister.

Disclaimer: We were not paid for reviewing the Tick Twister; it was purchased with my own money for my own purposes. My opinion is all my own.