This weekend, while picnicking in the garden and caressing Moca, I noticed a strange ‘thing’ on her face. It kind of looked like a mole or wart, a grey mass out of nowhere. When asking Alex to examine this odd growth he was sure it wasn’t part of Moca’s body, but some kind of ‘intruder’.
Distraught on what this may be I called a friend who immediately had a name for it.
Carraça? Isn’t that like a yummy traditional dish? With my limited Portuguese I translated this to some sort of snail, like the one often seen on a local menu – Caracol. Yet googling blood-sucking snails on dogs got me no results.
When I finally managed to put the letters in a correct manner, the answer was clear. Tick!
Of course we hear of ticks all the time, but I never have encountered one on any of our pets and I never imagined them to look like a ‘body part’. Lesson learned. So what are these little buggers?
Ticks are spider-like, egg-shaped, blood-sucking creepy crawlies. They have eight legs and vary in size from about 1mm to 1cm long.
Ticks are common in woodland and grassland, but can also be found in your garden if you live in an area with lots of wildlife. You are most likely to come across them in areas with lots of deer or sheep. (Did I mention we live on a farm with goats and sheep?)
One is most likely to come across ticks between spring and autumn, but they are active throughout the year. (🙏)
Ticks don’t fly or jump, but climb or drop on to your dog’s fur when they brush past the area they are sitting in.
So how do I know my dog has a tick invader?
Ticks are big enough to spot. Run your hands over your pup’s body when you get back from a walk to check for any strange lumps or bumps. A tick will feel like a small bump or wart.
They especially like to attach themselves to areas around a dog’s head, neck, ear and paws. Brushing is a convenient way to help to remove them too.
Ticks can vary in size between 1mm and 1cm, depending on their age. They look like tiny spiders with a silver, egg-shaped body. This body becomes larger and darker(Weimaraner grey) as it fills with blood.
So how to remove these creepies?
I admit I was hopeless in doing this, as I was rather panicked and afraid to hurt Moca, since the bug was nestled so close to her eye and nose. Thanks goes to my husband hero, who did the ‘operation’ in one swift move.
Ticks carry diseases, so it’s very important to remove them as soon as possible.
This can be tricky, as you need to be careful not to squeeze the tick’s body, or allow its head to get stuck inside your dog. Please remember: Squeezing a tick’s body can cause it to expel blood back into your dog, increasing the risk of infection.
Twisting them off is the best removal method, but we used a pair of tweezers. Once removed we could see all the body of that little sucker, trying to make a run, but Alex burned it – just making sure.
Are ticks really dangerous?
Ticks are very good at passing on infections from one animal to another. They feed by biting an animal and feasting on their blood. This may take several days. Once they have had enough, they just drop off.
Ticks transmit microbes that cause diseases, such as Lyme disease and babesiosis.
If you live in an area with ticks or spend much time outdoors, it’s a good idea to use a tick treatment that will either repel ticks or kill them if they attach. Spot on treatments, tablets and collars are available, but it’s best to consult your vet about which method is most suitable for your pet.
At Cooka’s we try to avoid too many harsh chemicals and just purchased amber collars, which are said to naturally repel ticks and fleas. It is said that they start working after 3-4 weeks of wearing them. We will let you know the verdict by next month! Our collars are from Baltic Secret.
We also started adding a cup of cistus tea to our pack’s daily meals, another natural solution known to protect from these little vampires.
BE SAFE EVRYPAWDY,
Love, your Cooka