How To Check a Cockapoo For Ticks

Ticks are pesky little things. They’re spider-like parasites that live in tall grass and like to nibble on our pets for a nice easy meal. They attach to their fur on walks and then crawl down to the skin to bite and suck the blood from them. These tiny little vampires aren’t only a nuisance but they can carry secondary diseases too. Ticks will bite almost anything, including our pets and if you’re not careful, they can try to latch on to you too.

While ticks are worrying regardless of what breed of dog you own, if you have a short-coated pup, as you can imagine, they’re pretty easy to spot. Unfortunately, the luscious locks of our beloved Cockapoos make for great hiding places for these pests.

Why you Should Check for Ticks Regularly

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Ticks are sneaky little things when they’re full of blood they can be quite easy to spot but they start off much smaller and almost white so are easy to overlook. Ticks can spend some time in your dog’s coat before they manage to attach to their skin so the only way you can be sure that your pooch is tick free is by combing through their fur with a fine-toothed comb and running your fingers over their skin.

The more you can find in their coat, the lower the chance your dog has of being bitten which is always the best option when it comes to this parasite.

What Harm Can a Tick do?

While a tick bite isn’t dangerous considering the amount of blood they can take is fairly low, your dog is only at risk of losing large amounts of blood if they’re absolutely infested with them.

The greatest cause for concern where ticks are considered is the secondary diseases they carry with them that your Cockapoo is at risk of contracting if bitten.

Those diseases include:

  • Lyme disease
  • Babesia Canis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Anaplasma

Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, lethargy and lameness. The good news is, a tick needs to be attached for at least 24 hours to pass on most diseases so quick removal of them can reduce the chance of your dog becoming infected. If not treated, Lyme disease can progress into kidney disease or heart failure.

All diseases associated with ticks tend to have the symptoms of lethargy, anaemia and anorexia. They’re all quite rare but if you’ve had ticks removed from your Cockapoo recently and they don’t return to their normal self quickly or start to lose weight, your vet should be consulted.

Where do you Usually Find Ticks?

Ticks can be found just about anywhere but they thrive in damp places with high humidity. While they are found all across the UK, they are a bigger risk in the south where it’s a little warmer. You’re also far more likely to run into them in rural areas but that isn’t to say they don’t pose a risk if you live in the city.

Ticks are most commonly found on marshlands, in tall grass or in wooded areas. Areas with long grass and thick foliage mean they have a much easier time attaching to your Cockapoo while they run around without a care in the world.

Places you need to check on your pooch are anywhere that can come into close contact with their environment. If you consider them running through long grass then you’re most likely to find ticks on their legs, stomach and anywhere else the grass might reach. Ticks enjoy attaching to places where your dog’s skin is thin like their ears are a prime location where they can access their veins without too much effort. I’ve found a tick on my Cockapoo’s head from her running through tall grass so you can’t be too careful. Check everywhere after a walk just to be safe.

How to Remove Ticks

Ticks are a little awkward to remove and it can be a bit daunting if you’ve never done it before. Most owners will already know that you can’t just pull a tick out. By doing this you often pull the body away from the head which can lead to a nasty infection if it remains attached.

There are a whole host of do-it-yourself ways to remove ticks including coating them in vaseline so they can’t breathe and are forced to let go. The problem with methods like this is, it takes time to work and the more time a tick is attached, the greater the risk of disease transfer.

You can buy tick-removal tools that come in different sizes depending on how large the tick is. You slide the tool around the body to grasp it and slowly turn until it releases. As you pull it upwards, you should see that its head and little legs are still attached.

Not everyone is comfortable using this method so if you’re not sure, it’s always best to check with your vet who can have them out in a matter of seconds using the same technique. They can even teach you to do it so you feel better prepared if it happens again.

How to Prevent Ticks

As ever, the route of least resistance is usually prevention. If the option is available then prevention is always better than treatment after your Cockapoo has suffered a tick bite. Just like fleas and worms, you can get a treatment that prevents ticks. The way this medication usually works is by disrupting the tick’s nervous system and eventually killing it. While this means your dog is still at risk of being bitten, the tick will fall away quickly once it bites and doesn’t get the chance to transmit any diseases which is the more worrying risk of tick bites.

Many treatments like Frontline also work against ticks so you might even already be protecting your Cockapoo against these pests without knowing!