Removing ticks from dogs is something owners must know how to do. It is vital to keep your dog’s coat and skin healthy and free from infections. Unless a tick is removed from your Lab, it may cause skin problems that have a potential to transmit to other pets and even humans. Ticks also result in fatal diseases, such as the Lyme disease, and certain types may end up resulting in paralysis in your Lab.
Labradors love spending their time outdoors. With their love for adventure, it is no wonder they make good hunting dogs. However, enjoying the great outdoors brings the risks, including picking up ticks, fleas, and other parasites. But dogs who spend time outdoors are not the only ones at risks, even an indoor dog who only spends a brief period of time outside may pick them up too and have similar skin issues linked to parasites.
Ticks are ectoparasites that live on the blood of other animals. These eight-legged creepers are seen in different colors – brown, black, or tan. They catch hold of a dog or cat and live on his skin sucking the blood of your pet. Removing ticks is very important, as these crawling pests can be a source of diseases that can potentially kill your Labrador or render it unhealthy for a long time.
How Do Ticks Affect the Health of a Labrador?
Aside from feeling itchy, your Labrador can get diseases when they are caught by ticks. These parasites attach themselves to your Labrador’s coat by inserting their mouth into the inner layer of the skin. Many ticks also develop a glue-like substance in the mouths. This allows them to stick to the skin of a dog and remain attached to the hosts. When ticks remain attached, they start to feed on their host’s blood. Their physical structure allows them to suck blood by crossing the skin barrier.
If there is severe tick infestation, the affected dog may experience anemia. It is because these parasites are able to draw blood from the dog to grow. There are also female ticks that can cause paralysis in dogs. However, such ticks are limited to various geographical areas, such as the Rocky Mountains.
Ticks can also result in potentially fatal diseases, such as
- Lyme disease
- Ehrlichiosis that kills white blood cells
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Removing Ticks from Your Labrador
If you are thinking of removing ticks from your Labrador yourself, then you will need the following tools to successfully accomplish it.
- Clean tweezers or tick remover
- Isopropyl Alcohol
- Small disposal cup or container
- Disinfectant or antiseptic cream
Put on your gloves. It is important to protect yourself from tick bites, as these parasites can transmit diseases to humans too.
If you are using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your Labrador’s body as possible, but make sure you are not pinching his skin. Pull the tick in a straight motion and make sure that you were able to pull out the whole tick – including its head.
If you are using a tick remover, press it against the skin near the tick and slide it – with the notch of the remover facing the tick. Once the remover gets a hold of the tick, turn the tool. Ticks usually let go after 2 to 3 rotations. Pour alcohol into the cup or container and soak the tick in it. Make sure to take note of the date you found the tick so that if your Lab shows signs of tick-borne diseases, you may inform the veterinarian about the infestation.
Clean the bite spot with cotton and antiseptic. Do check the bite spot after a few days to see if there is an infection. If there is, take your Labrador to the vet.
Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet. Take off your gloves and wash your hands. Be alert and take note of the following signs of tick-borne diseases.
- Swollen joints
- Neurological problems
- loss of appetite
Preventing Tick Bites on Your Labrador
There are different products that can help prevent tick bites in dogs. Several tick and flea repellents, such as tick and flea collars, spot-ons, and powders, are available in the market. But your vigilance and regular fur checkup are key to make sure your Labrador remains free from ticks.