Tick season is here: How to protect your furry friend
Would you know how to spot a tick – and how to remove it safely – if you found one on your pet? All year round, but especially during the warmer months, ticks pose a significant threat to our furry friends. As a pet owner, it’s important that you know how to identify, prevent and treat tick bites in order to keep your pet safe and healthy.
Common types of ticks found on pets
There are lots of different types of ticks that can harm pets in Australia, with the two most common culprits being the paralysis tick (Ixodes holocyclus) and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus).
The paralysis tick is often found along the eastern coast, particularly in bushy landscapes and humid areas. Their colour can shift from reddish-brown to grey, and they are about the size of a match head when fully engorged.
Brown dog ticks are more widely spread out across the country, generally brown or reddish-brown in colour and, as the name suggests, usually found on dogs.
Health risks associated with tick infestations
Ticks can cause severe health issues in pets and in some cases even death. Paralysis ticks create toxins that work to paralyse animals, starting with a wobbly gait and potentially leading to respiratory failure if left untreated. Brown dog ticks can transmit diseases like ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, causing symptoms like fever, lethargy and a clear loss of appetite.
5 effective preventive measures
Ticks are not just a pest – they are a major health concern for our lovable animals. Therefore, it is essential that you are proactive about tick prevention and awareness. Here are some actionable steps you can take to protect your furry friend this summer:
- Tick repellents: Use tick products that have been specifically designed for pets. You can buy them as spot-on treatments, collars or sprays.
- Medications: Speak to your vet about tick-prevention medications. There are oral drugs available that can provide long-lasting protection against ticks.
- Grooming: Regularly wash and brush your pet, especially if they spend lots of time outdoors. Brushing them can help you spot and remove ticks before they become a problem.
- Tick-resistant beds: You might want to buy some tick-resistant bedding to provide your pet with extra protection, especially if you live in parts of the country that are prone to ticks.
- Spot checks: After your pet has been outside, thoroughly check their fur, ears and skin for ticks. Pay close attention to under their belly and between their toes.
Proper tick-removal technique
If you find a tick on your pet, you’ll need to remove it correctly to avoid infection. Using fine-tipped tweezers or a tick-removal tool, latch onto the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Then gently pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don’t squeeze the tick, as this can release its toxins. After removal, clean the area with antiseptic straight away.
If you don’t feel confident enough to remove ticks safely yourself, or you simply don’t have the tools to do it at home, then make sure you visit your vet as soon as possible.
Don’t forget: Regular check-ups with the vet
Doing a tick screening with your veterinarian will allow them to closely examine your pet for ticks. They can also offer their expertise on tick prevention and treatment options for your furry friend. While doing your own research is always a good idea, vets are skilled professionals who will be able to recommend the most effective tick-prevention products and let you know about any recent outbreaks in your area.
While ticks pose a threat to our furry family members, with proper awareness and by taking preventative measures, you can protect them from potential harm.
Another way to support your pet’s overall wellbeing is through high-quality food. Learn more about our Grain Free and Whole Grain products and visit Paw Pantry to ensure your pet is getting the diet they deserve!