Tick season is upon us, and these bloodsucking pests are showing up all over the place. Tick prevention should be taken seriously, and not just because these arachnids make many people squeamish — ticks actually carry quite a few deadly diseases. Some of these diseases are lifelong, with no cure, so being diligent in checking for and removing ticks is important. As always, talk with your veterinarian before using any medication geared toward preventing ticks. But if you’re going to do some searching for ticks on your dog yourself, here are some places you may forget to look.
1. Inside of Ears
Ticks sit themselves on tall grasses and shrubs, waiting for your dog to walk by, so they can attach themselves to him. Dogs are often curious creatures, sticking their heads into everything, so it’s not uncommon for ticks to find their way into a dog's ears. Since most ticks start out very small, it can be difficult to spot them when they first climb onto your dog. With so many crevices and hiding places, the ears make a perfect home for a hungry tick. When checking your dog, make sure to look deep into the ear, because the ticks can get attached and go unnoticed for a long time. If your dog is shaking and scratching at his ear, it’s a sure sign that something is off, and you’ll want to take a look.
2. Between Toes
Since ticks like to hide in places where they won’t be found, crawling in-between your dog’s toes and attaching there is a common occurrence. Checking his feet regularly will help you find these uninvited guests hitching a free ride on your pup. You can find them in-between the toes or even on the bottom of the foot near the pads. Again, if you notice your dog licking or chewing his feet, there might be something bothering him, and that something could be a tick.
3. Under the Tail
Ticks like dark, moist areas, so the underside of the tail makes a great home. Since most owners aren’t regularly checking the underside of the dog's tail, especially near the base, a tick can go unnoticed for quite some time. If your dog has thick fur, you’ll want to make sure to comb through it and search thoroughly. A fine comb will likely catch a tick that’s attached itself under the tail.
4. In the Genital Region
Most dog owners aren’t keen on checking their dog’s genital regions. However, this area is another dark, moist region on the body that ticks really like hanging around in. Ticks can become attached and stay hidden by the dog's coat and tail for a long time.
5. Around Eyelids
A lot of ticks go unnoticed near the eyelids because they’re mistaken for skin tags or eye discharge. Unfortunately, by the time many owners realize there is a tick on their dog’s eyelid, the tick has been attached for quite a while. This isn’t ideal, because the longer a tick stays attached, the more likely transmission of disease is to occur.
6. Under the Collar
Many dogs rarely have their collars taken off, and with good reason — it’s important to keep proper identification on your dog at all times. But when it comes to bathing and checking for ticks and fleas, removing the collar is important. Ticks can become attached underneath your dog’s collar without anyone noticing, usually until the tick is large enough to be seen — which means it’s been there for a while. Sometimes, removing and checking the collar itself will prevent a tick from attaching if it's just crawling around underneath. Whatever the case, removing the collar to do a thorough check for ticks is important.
If you do find a tick on your dog, make sure to check out how to safely remove it, along with if and when to call your vet.