Ticks can appear in many places on a dog's body, but there are some areas that are particularly prone to tick infestation. It is not uncommon for a tick bite on a dog to go unnoticed. Ticks can hide in thick animal fur and are often difficult to detect. In fact, 30 to 60 percent of tick bites on dogs go unnoticed, which can lead to a significant risk of infection.
Regular tick protection is important
Unfortunately, the tick protection measures that many dog owners take often do not help to minimize the risk of tick infestation. Two studies from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna have shown that Almost every second dog had a tick-borne infection in the year examined. One reason is that many Dog owners do not refresh the tick repellent regularly or only use it if you have already found a tick on your dog. It is therefore important that dog owners regularly check their dogs for ticks and find out about effective tick protection measures. In addition to the use of tick collars, drops or sprays, this also includes the use of special tick removers. This way you can ensure that man's best friend is protected from tick infestation and the associated risk of disease.
Check the dog for ticks
Checking a dog for ticks is an important part of regular pet care. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to check your dog for ticks and which areas are particularly popular for tick infestations.
Examine your dog immediately after the walk. When it comes to ticks, speed is of the essence. Many pathogens are only transmitted after some time, which is why it is important to remove the tick quickly. Start at your dog's head and work systematically through his body. Use your fingertips to gently run through the fur to check for any protruding knots. Search especially in the following areas:
- head and neck: Ticks are often found in the ears, around the mouth, on the forehead and on the dog's neck.
- Belly: The abdominal area is often covered by grass and other plants, which are a perfect habitat for ticks.
- armpits: Ticks love moist and warm environments, so the armpits are another favorite location for tick infestations on dogs.
- groin area: The groin area is often covered by tall grasses and bushes that can harbor ticks.
- paws: The spaces between the toes and the pads of the paws are also places where ticks are common.
Once you find a tick, you should remove it as quickly as possible. Use tick tweezers to do this. You can find instructions on how to properly remove a tick in our blogs. Grab the tick as close to your dog's skin as possible and pull it out straight and evenly. Be careful not to crush or squeeze the tick when pulling it out, as this can cause it to release pathogens into your dog's body.
After removing a tick, you should your Observe dog for at least a few days, to make sure he doesn't show any signs of infection. If you notice any redness, swelling, or spreading redness around the bite site, you should see your veterinarian.
Tick infestation according to the study
In the Vienna study, 90 dogs in Austria were examined to see when different species of ticks become active and which parts of the dog's body they prefer. The dogs were divided into three groups: “untreated,” “treated with an acaricide/repellent” (permethrin), and “treated with acaricide only” (fipronil) and were examined for ticks in their natural habitat. The number and type of ticks appearing during and outside of protection were recorded over an 11-month period and the locations where the ticks bit on the dog's skin were noted.
The favorite places for ticks to bite were: Head, the Neck, the shoulder and the Breast of the dog. This distribution on the dog's body was not affected by the use of medication, although overall fewer ticks (22.5% of all ticks) were found in dogs with protection. Interestingly, there were differences in infection rates over the year between the treated and untreated dogs. The acaricide-treated dogs had a higher infection rate in April, May and September, while the dogs in the acaricide/repellent group had a higher infection rate in March, July, October and November.
Overall, the study showed that different species of ticks become active at different times of the year and prefer different parts of the dog's body. The use of acaricides leads to a significant (p < 0.01) reduction in the number of tick infestations, but does not affect the distribution of ticks on the dog's body.
- Duscher GG, Feiler A, Leschnik M, Joachim A. Seasonal and spatial distribution of ixodid tick species feeding on naturally infested dogs from Eastern Austria and the influence of acaricides/repellents on these parameters. Parasit Vectors. 2013 Mar 19;6:76. doi: 10.1186/1756-3305-6-76. PMID: 23510263; PMCID: PMC3621693.