Updated: Sep 22, 2020
As you know, we recently went on some hikes with Athena. However, we failed to prevent ticks from getting on her. It was about two weeks later we noticed a tick on the back of her neck. That little buggy was quite gross the way it had dug his/her head into Athena's skin and was mooching off her blood supply. I felt incredibly sorry for Athena that we had not discovered this sooner. After a quick rubdown, we decided to act quickly. Athena not only needed the tick removed, but she needed to be treated for further tick infestation.
Removing ticks, especially from a panicked dog, is not simple. It is not recommended to do the old tricks such as light the end on fire, place chapstick on it, etc. According to our quick web search, the best way is to take tweezers with a steady hand and get as close to the head as possible. Don't wiggle the tweezers but pull straight out. We then tried to make sure the head wasn't left behind, and the area was swabbed with alcohol to help prevent infections from developing.
A quick call to the vet was made, and then we were off for a bath. Athena loves the water at the lake. She DOES NOT like baths. I don't know why the rain is okay, the lake is okay, even when I'm taking a bath, she has tried to get in (or maybe save me?), but her taking a bath is not okay. She squirms and whines, which is very unusual behavior for her. After a tick and flea shampoo (this link will lead you to the one we purchased at the dog store), we let her dry and relax before applying a topical flea/tick treatment as well. If your puppy has difficulties with bathing, I recommend using Pet Supplies Plus self bathing. It helps reduce the mess, and it allows you the opportunity to secure them in the tub for safety and efficiency to use both your hands. Follow all directions for using any treatments to ensure safety as well as effectiveness. This includes weight limitations!
While we were bummed that Athena had gotten ticks, we were glad we caught it before she developed any issues or a further infestation. What we learned from this was that prevention is better than treatment. Monthly topical applications are cheap and easy to use to prevent infestations or bites. Before we go on a hike, we will make sure she has had a recent topical application and thoroughly checked her after the walk. Remember, prevention is critical, and checking common areas between their toes, neck, underarms, and ears for ticks is essential.
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