What do I need to know about Ticks in the home.
August 7, 2016 1:43 PM   Subscribe

My dog and I were in Missouri last week and I didn't even think about pest control as we do not need it in Colorado where I am. He became covered in tiny (what I think are) dog ticks and few dear ticks. I was driving back to colorado and didn't know what to do. So I put advantix on him. Now what?

I haven't lived in the midwest for a very long time and completely forgot about treating my dog with a preventative while visiting. Before I left Missouri I noticed ticks on his ears and a few fell off when he was just sitting there. There was lots of chaos on the way back - a flat tire, etc. - long story short, I put advantix on him and drove home to Colorado (I didn't even think of giving him a bath.) It has been 24 hours since I applied the medicine. I went through his whole body this morning and didn't find that many but still whenever he lies down four or five ticks are left behind. I've been vaccuming them up. What else can I do to protect myself? Any idea of how long I'll be battling this?
posted by turtlefu to Pets & Animals (10 answers total)
I don't think you need to worry about protecting yourself at all. By now, any ticks that got onto your dog should have attached and started feeding. They'll feed until they've gotten the blood meal they need, then drop off. They won't move from the dog to you. If they're adult females, they would like to lay eggs after they drop off, but since you're outside their natural range I wouldn't expect them to succeed in starting another generation. They don't become established in houses like fleas. Your dog should be free of ticks soon (within a couple of days) and that should be the end of it. (But keep in mind that it's possible he was exposed to a tick-borne disease, in case he eventually shows any symptoms.)
posted by Redstart at 1:57 PM on August 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

Respectfully, I disagree with Redstart. Tick-borne diseases are no joke, and are a danger to both you and your dog. You should remove as many ticks as you can from your dog as fast as you can; evidence suggests that ticks do not transmit disease for the first 24-36 hours hours they're attached. For the dog, I'd brush carefully and remove any ticks with tweezers or a tick key; if there are too many ticks or they're too small to get this way do a flea/tick insecticide dip.

As for yourself, check your body all over carefully twice a day for the next few days.

Redstart is correct on this: ticks will not infest your house like fleas will. Once you deal with your current crop of ticks, you are unlikely to see them again.

Source: I live in Tick Central pdf warning. We have so many ticks here I find them walking around the interior walls of my house. We take them very seriously, use prophylaxis on our two dogs and check each other over daily in the summertime. Ehrlichiosis is more common here than Lyme but the odd case of alpha-gal allergy keeps me vigilant.
posted by workerant at 2:34 PM on August 7, 2016 [8 favorites]

Give you car a check as well and/or check yourself after being in the car. If he's dropping them in those quantities now, no doubt some dropped off in there during your drive home. Do remove the ones you find on your dog as instructed by workerant. We use a Tick Key too, but there are other home remedy removal methods you can find online (please avoid the match one though as you're likely to burn your dog!). You want to get the head. If the nasty thing is moving post-removal, you have the head.

They are tied in my mind with roaches and silverfish on the highest end of the disgusting scale, so you have my sympathies.
posted by cecic at 2:51 PM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've always found the easiest way of checking dogs for ticks is to sit down with them and basically scatch/rub them down. You'll quickly notice bumps that feel out of the ordinary. I imagine your dog having longer fur, given that he is still dropping them? If you have a softer brush, you can brush him down as well. Be careful if you are using those metal wire brushes: you don't want do pull tick bodies off his skin and leave the head. The tick won't jump from your dog if they have attached themselves. And even if they do - they are not too hard to remove.

It always shocked me how many I would find on my terrier after being in the woods... Careful removal, and vigilance, always took care of it.

I'd probably vaccum the car as well, but that is also to alleviate any nagging fears.

Be a bit skeptical of some of the home remedies out there. (why did we ever think butter would work?) We had the best removal success with blunt, "curved in" tick tweezers. Gently grip the head of the tick with the tweezers, and twist carefullly back and forth until you can pull it out.
posted by troytroy at 3:03 PM on August 7, 2016

You can use flea and tick bomb in your car and it'll kill them. It'll definitely stink up your car and you should clean it after but I've done it twice with no regrets.

As for the dog I would get a good medicated shampoo and let it sit on him for the full 10 minutes to kill the remaining ticks. Then vacuum a lot and spray around his favourite sleeping spots too.
posted by fshgrl at 4:04 PM on August 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Agreed with everyone else here. To add a suggestion: Give your dog a bath and inspect him carefully to find any attached ticks. Remove the ticks with whatever method makes the best sense to you (we've always very carefully used tweezers) and drop them in a bowl/cup/dish/whatever of alcohol (Listerine works too) to kill them immediately.

Do you have someone who could do the same for you? You need to check your own hair and body for ticks, and it helps to have someone who can check places you can't easily view, like the back of your head, behind your ears, your back, and.. uh... we'll just leave everything else at "etc." But please find someone to help you with it. Tick-borne illness is no joke.
posted by erst at 5:02 PM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses so far. A few clarifying points - the groomers I've called have said not to use medicated shampoo because it will be overdosing on the chemicals since I applied the advantix. (has anyone done both?)

Also, I know how to remove a typical deer tick as to get the head but these things are tiny. I took a picture to show how tiny they are. There are three ticks in next to my finger (https://goo.gl/photos/WLN7wAHxHCQs6WLE6) and here is a close up (https://goo.gl/photos/VSN4DLScZ96RGz2W7). The largest one is still smaller than the average deer tick I remember.
posted by turtlefu at 5:04 PM on August 7, 2016

I've done both for lice: shampoo first then the Frontline per the vet. Ask your vet. Groomers don't really know much about the specifics of the medication.

Also that's a pretty normal size for deer ticks. You might want to get him tested in a while for Lymes, unfortunately.
posted by fshgrl at 7:09 PM on August 7, 2016

Looks like nymphs (immature ticks.) When they're that small, they're practically impossible to find on a dog. People freak out about leaving the head behind, but it's not that big a deal. It doesn't usually lead to infection or increase the risk of disease transmission. (And it's really just the mouthparts, not the whole head.)
posted by Redstart at 7:22 PM on August 7, 2016

I 100% agree with workerant. We rescued a dog from the shelter that had been covered in ticks. They treated him at the shelter, we brought him home and he was as happy as could be. We lost him two years ago to a tick-born illness - ehrlichiosis. He never had another tick after we brought him home, but the disease lied dormant in his body until he was around 10. We did everything medically to save him, but the disease was just too powerful. We were devastated. Now, we are hyper vigilant about tick preventative.

Use a tick puller to remove the ticks. Don't use tweezers unless you are sure you can pull them off and get their heads. Don't leave any tick remnants behind.

Take the dog to the vet and explain the ticks. They may put your pup on antibiotics to kill the bacteria any ticks might have transmitted to your dog. Better to be safe then sorry!
posted by ATX Peanut at 6:08 AM on August 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

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