Ticks is a problem in Singapore, year round. Luckily we don’t have too many types here, the one we have to worry about being the brown dog tick. In the three years we lived here the first time round, we never once had any problems with ticks with Blackspot. Now that we have a Goldie (longer hair), especially one who likes to walk in tall grass and dig her nose in just about anything, we have had a two encounters with them already. Both times we found the tick fairly quickly, still small and not yet swollen.One of the best ways to keep an eye on your dog’s health is to have a baseline, to know what is “normal”. This way, new or unusual behaviours are more quickly detected. Daily and regular interaction with your dog, through brushing and petting, is a great way to know the contours of your dog’s body – bumps, texture of the hair, skin condition, etc. By running your hands through your dog’s coat, especially in areas like the armpits, ears, and anal areas, you can easily check for signs of ticks. Black spots in the hair may indicate the presence of fleas.
Prevention comes in different forms such as collars. There are also flea and tick medication that you can apply monthly (more frequently in the summer months), such as Frontline. This comes in a drop form which you apply along the spine. Watch out for counterfeit Frontline! Buy only from your vet or other reputable shops.
We like to use more natural remedies as Frontline is chemical. We have friends who use only natural bug repellent, every time before going for a walk. Their dog is an Italian Greyhound and with a shorter coat, it’s a little easier to spot any ticks. We are now using biospotix which is supposedly to be chemical and insecticide free, instead using geraniol, a part of rose, palmarosa, and citronella oils. As a booster, we also use Young Living’s purification oil mixed in water as a spray. Essential oils are natural and powerful and can help with a variety of conditions.
No medication, chemical or natural, is 100% proof. It’s still a good idea to regularly check your dog for ticks as tick fever can be serious, and even fatal. We are lucky in Singapore that we don’t have the deer ticks that carry lyme disease. We also don’t have the American dog tick or lone star tick which can cause paralysis.
If you find a tick, you’ll need to remove it. If you are uncomfortable, be sure to see your vet immediately. The key to properly removing a tick is to make sure that the whole body is taken out and not breaking the head off, leaving it still embedded in the skin. Use a tweezer to pull with a firm steady pressure, without twisting. If the mouth part does break off, remove it if possible. If not, just leave it and let it heal or see a vet. Be sure to clean the area and monitor for any inflammation. I like to put some purification oil on the tick and hope that the grip loosens somewhat first, before attempting to remove it.
I have a dog who loves to comb through long grass. It’s a joy to see her bounce through the greenery. I just have to be more vigilant with checking her after each walk. If you are seeing ticks on your dog try to see if the route you are taking can be avoided. If not, remember to take preventative measures as well as a good regular check!