Ticks are visible parasites that attack your dog by biting his skin and consuming his blood. This can lead to problems like anemia and skin irritation, as well as the serious threat of Lyme disease. Once a tick embeds itself in your dog's skin, it doesn't die -- it feeds for hours, giving it plenty of time to transmit diseases to your pet. For this reason, prompt treatment is critical when you find a tick.
When a tick bites your dog, it latches on and stays in one place. Unlike fleas, which bite and move around throughout your dog's fur, ticks bite and stay embedded in the skin. While they remain in one place, this doesn't mean they're dead -- it means that they're continuously feeding, potentially spreading disease to your dog. To stop the tick, don't smash it while it's on your dog -- carefully remove the entire parasite with a pair of tweezers and drown it in rubbing alcohol or smash it. Don't use your hand to smash it, as doing so can transmit its diseases to you. If you aren't prepared to remove a tick yourself, get your dog to a vet immediately -- it may take up to 12 hours for diseases like Lyme disease to transmit, so time is of the essence when seeking treatment.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.