What You Need To Know About Dog Hot Spots?-An Overview
One of the great joys of dog guardianship is spending time in the great outdoors with your best buddy. The sunshine, the fresh air, sight and sounds - what could be better. But tread carefully, there's danger up ahead. No, I'm not talking about bears or snakes or even wolves. I'm refering to ticks! These gruesome little critters are arachnids, like spiders. But unlike spiders, they're not hunters, they're parasites who feast on the blood of an unwitting host. For whatever reason they seem to have a particular liking for dogs, and if your dog spends time in open fields or woodlands, he's likely to attract these freeloaders. These little suckers are pretty clever too. They climb onto a long stalk of grass and wait for a likely host to come by. Then they hop on, hide themselves under the animal's fur, sink their teeth in, and start feeding.
They even provide their own anestetic, a numbing agent injected into the wound, so the dog doesn't feel a thing, while they drain up to 100 times their own bodyweight in blood from the wound. It is therefore important that you check your dog for ticks whenever he's been "in the field". In fact, you should make this part of your regular grooming routine. You'll be looking for one of two kinds of ticks. The first type is round, hard bodied, brown in color, and looks a bit like a small spider. The other somewhat resembles a leech, it is greyish, and may be flaccid or distended depending on the amount of blood it has consumed.
Ticks are a serious threat to your dog's health, spreading some pretty nasty diseases like Lyme disease. They are also known to attack humans and I should know. I've been bitten by a tick and I can assure you, it is very unpleasant, with severe headaches, nausea and pain. Bottom line, if you find a tick on your dog, remove it immediately. So how do you get rid of these leeches? Everyone has a theory but unfortunately few of them work. For the record, avoid burning the tick with cigarettes and matches, or using petroleum jelly, or alcohol.
The right way to do it is with a fine-tipped pair of tweezers. Get a grip on the tick's head as close to the dog's skin as you can, then pull back gently, giving a gentle twist as you do so. Slow and steady does it, you want to remove the entire tick in tact, not leave the head behind in the wound where it will cause infection.
You should also use a hydrocortisone spray on the bite spot to relieve any irritation. Place the tick in a bowl with some undiluted household bleach to kill it. Of course, if you're squeemish you could just flush it down the toilet, but it will probably just go on to prey on some other poor animal. If your dog is often outdoors in fields or woodland I'd recommend that you treat him with a preventartive, like Frontline or Revolution, one a month. This will kill any ticks already attached and prevent other freeloaders from using your dog as their personal buffet.