During tick season it’s important to check your dog for ticks several times a day.
Even if you’re using tick preventatives, tick checks should be done regularly because no tick product is 100% effective.
Tick talk is my least favorite talk to have.
I’m equally grossed out by them as I am hyper-focused on learning why they exist and how they operate.
Two of my favorite unique facts about ticks are:
- Ticks use their gross little arms to smell their victim. They have what’s called a Haller’s organ on their forearms to sniff out their host. This organ can detect chemicals like carbon dioxide, ammonia, or pheromones. It can even sense humidity and infrared light, which includes body heat. If you’ve come across a tick before sitting and waiting on a tall blade of grass, you’ve probably seen them waving their little arms like they just don’t care because they’re trying to smell you or your dog. If you smell good, they’re going to climb aboard.
- Ticks don’t grab on and start feeding on their host’s blood right away. They wander across the body looking for dark places to bite and did their mouth in.
Ticks can actually wander around on your body or your dog’s body for several hours which is why it’s so important to check yourself and your dog immediately after a walk or hike.
Thankfully, there are several ways that you can check your dog for a loose tick so let’s take a look at a few of them that have worked well for me over the years.
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Why Should You Check Your Dog For Ticks?
If you live in an area that is prone to ticks, you should definitely make checking yourself and your dog for ticks a top priority in your day.
Ticks carry a lot of nasty diseases like Lyme Disease and that can lead to major health problems.
Even if you have your pet on a tick preventative, you should still do a tick check on your daily because no tick preventative is 100% effective.
All of my dogs are on tick prevention but I still always check them for ticks several times a day and especially right after a walk.
I like to check my dogs for loose ticks after every walk and then at night before we head off to bed, I give each of them a more detailed check in case they picked one up and it’s attached to their skin.
My tick check protocol goes a little something like this:
- Spray dogs with a safe tick spray before each walk. (I’ve been using Kin+Kind Lavendar tick spray for about 2 years now)
- After a walk but before we go inside, I use a lint roller to check for any loose ticks that might be wandering across their topcoat
- When we get inside I use one of my fine-toothed dog combs
- Finally, before we head to bed for the night, I use my fingers to go over each dog, paying close attention to areas where ticks like to hide on dogs.
How To Check Your Dog For Loose Ticks
I feel like most people check their dogs for ticks that have already been bitten but in reality, everyone should be checking their body and their pet’s body for loose ticks first.
When you’re checking your dog for loose ticks, remember that ticks don’t jump or fall onto a body, they grab on.
They’re usually hiding out in dark places such as tall grass, weeds or bushes so if you or your dog brush up against some tall grass, that’s the tick’s chance to climb aboard.
That means for me, a tick would usually climb on right about at my calves and for my dogs, it would be their upper leg and along their rib cage.
To me, it seems like people are more inclined to check their dog for embedded ticks but since ticks don’t embed right away on their host, they’re missing a big opportunity to remove the tick before it becomes a problem.
While ticks can hide out anywhere on a dog, some more common areas that ticks like to be on a dog’s body are:
Important Areas To Check Your Dog For Loose Ticks
Regardless if your dog is black, white, brown or grey, you’ll still want to check them the same way.
Ticks normally hide in the same places on a dog’s body no matter what their color and it’s equally as hard or as easy to find them if you know to look in these common places:
- In and around the ears
- Around the eyelids
- Under the collar
- Under the front legs
- Between the back legs
- Between the toes
- Around the tail
Tools That Can Help Remove a Loose Tick Are:
There are many tools that you can check your dog for loose ticks immediately following a walk, hike or after being outdoors.
Some of the most common tools that people use are:
- Dog comb
- Lint roller
- Tick Mitt
- Dog dryer
- Your hand
A fine-toothed dog comb is an easy way to check your dog for loose ticks and fleas.
You just run the comb through their hair paying close attention to areas like the ears, groin and legs.
I don’t use this method a lot because it’s very time-consuming when you have a giant breed dog,
Using a lint roller to check my dogs for ticks immediately after a walk has been my go to the last 2 years.
It’s easy to do and it works well for us.
I prefer to use Evercare Lint Rollers because I believe they have the best sticky power.
This tick-protection product is new to the market and was recently featured on The View.
It’s a microfiber mitt that you use to go over yourself and your dog.
I’ve actually been testing this product out for the last week and I like it.
It comes with a dryer bag so if you get a tick, you toss the mitt in the included dryer bag, toss it in the dryer and then dispose of the dead tick.
I think the TICK MITT is going to be a BIG hit in the fight against ticks.
If you want to try out a Tick Mitt you can use code NEWFIES for 10% off your purchase.
High-Velocity Dog Dryer
If you have a dog dryer, blast those blood-sucking disease-spreading creatures into outer space with your dryer.
Not only will you blast out any loose ticks but you’ll also remove loose hair, debris and dander.
I saved this one for last because I scream if any part of my hand touches a tick.
I also think it’s hard to find a loose tick with your fingers on a dog with a double coat.
Loose ticks are small because they haven’t dug in for a blood meal yet and they can easily be missed with your hand.
It’s still an extra way you can check your dog for ticks, it’s just not my first choice.
I’ve also seen people use packing tape or anything sticky that is safe to use around pets.
Finding a Loose Tick On Your Dog
If you find a loose tick on your dog or on yourself you have 2 options:
- Properly dispose of the tick
- Place the tick inside a container, seal the container and then have it identified.
If you find an embedded tick on your dog, check out this article on how to safely and calmly remove a tick.
How To Properly Dispose of a Tick
The CDC states that you can dispose of a tick by flushing it down the toilet.
You can also place the tick in a sealed bag or container and throw it away.
It’s not recommended to smash the tick because they can still survive or lay eggs.
If you or your pet has been bitten by a tick, it’s recommended to save the tick for about 30 days in case you develop any illnesses.
When we adopted Odin he tested positive for Ehrlichia, an infectious bacterial disease transmitted by tick bites.
While he isn’t showing any clinical signs, it still shows up in his lab work so it’s still present in his body.
My goal is to protect and prevent to the best of my ability.
I use a tick spray with a scent that they don’t like and if they do get to us, I try my best to stop them before they have a chance to transfer any tick-borne diseases to us.
It’s also a wise idea to speak to your veterinarian about other tick-prevention products that could work for your dog.