Infestation of seed ticks in dogs mostly occurs in spring, and requires immediate treatment. If identified in the early stages, the problem can be controlled with certain effective methods.
Ticks are ectoparasites that feed on the blood of the host organism. Basically, there are two types of ticks that infect dogs, namely, the American dog tick and the brown dog tick. These ticks are also vectors that transmit various diseases, including canine jaundice, lyme disease in dogs, and rocky mountain fever. The term seed tick denotes the larval stage of a tick. However, at times, seed ticks are also used for referring to smaller types of ticks. They resemble the size of a pinhead, and look like seeds, hence, the name.
Seed ticks are predominantly found in lawn grass, shrubs, and other outdoor surfaces. Upon contact with a dog or other host organisms, they attach themselves with the help of their mandibles and feeding tube (hypostome). Infestation is not necessarily harmful. To be precise, the extent of severity depends upon the duration of the feeding and the number of ticks that are feeding on the dog. But, if left untreated, they can cause tick borne diseases, resulting in symptoms like a runny nose, lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss. A whole range of diseases can also be transmitted by dog fleas.
Infestation is common during the spring season. Considering this, it is very important to follow certain precautions for protecting your pet from these blood sucking parasites. These are small-sized bugs, slightly brown in color, and appear like poppy seeds with three pairs of legs. After sucking blood from a dog, they turn bluish in color. Some tick species detach themselves from the dog after 3 – 6 days, while others tend to spend their whole life on a single host.
How to Get Rid of Seed Ticks
Since seed ticks are very tiny, you may find them very difficult to identify, until they are present in a huge number. As already mentioned, infestation occurs mostly in spring. Hence, make sure that you keep a close eye over your pet’s skin (particularly the neck, ears, and feet) during this time of the year.
After identifying these parasites, you can remove them from the dog’s skin with the help of pointed tweezers. Younger ticks do not cling tightly to the dog’s skin. Thus, their removal by hand is easy for younger ticks as compared to that of the adult ones.
Shampoo Your Dog
Squeezing out the ticks or removing them with your hand is not a practical solution when they are present in large numbers. In such a case, you can immediately bathe your dog with an over-the-counter tick shampoo. If necessary, you can shampoo your dog with this product on consecutive days, in order to kill all the tick eggs and larvae.
Clean Dog Bedding
There is a very strong possibility of the ticks still being present in the dog bedding. So, for effective treatment, you can clean those areas where your dog sleeps and plays, not to mention vacuuming the carpet.
Spray Correct Insecticide
Last but not the least, use an appropriate insecticide to control breeding of the ticks in the infested areas. While spraying, make sure you go through and follow the instructions carefully as provided on the bottle.
It is of utmost importance that you get rid of these pests as soon as possible. However harmless they may be, they are still carriers of viruses which can infect your dog and you.
After following the above mentioned tips, if you still suspect infestation on your pet dog, get him checked by a qualified veterinarian. During a severe infestation, your pet may show signs of itching and biting.