Ticks are a common problem in most areas, and Toronto is no different. In the spring and the fall, when adult ticks are most active, you may find ticks across Toronto, most prominently including heavily wooded areas. Because dogs regularly need time outside and may come with you on your hiking and trail running expeditions, you should know how to handle dog ticks in Toronto. Here are some tips.

Identify the most common Toronto ticks

Most ticks you come across in Toronto will be black-legged ticks, also called deer ticks. These ticks can be very small, but will often grow to as large as the size of a small jellybean while feeding. These ticks have a reddish-brown body and look a bit like an apple seed.

Ticks are fairly common in Toronto. The moist environment makes it perfect for the black-legged tick to grow and thrive, especially in wooded areas and trails. If you take your dog out with you to more wooded environments, chances are that you’ll have to deal with them eventually.

Beware of tick myths

To remove ticks from your dog, you first need to understand that you’ve likely heard several tick myths over the years. Here are a few truths to counteract some tick myths you may have heard:

  • You don’t need to smother a tick in petroleum jelly to remove it.
  • You don’t need to use a cigarette or match to “burn” a tick out.
  • Not all ticks are carriers of disease.
  • While ticks tend to be less active during the winter, they do not die, and only remain dormant.
  • Ticks do not insert their heads under the skin, so there is no need to try to remove them.

Knowing these truths can help you avoid falling victim to potentially dangerous behavior, like trying to dig out a tick head from a wound or accidentally burning your dog’s skin.

Remove the tick effectively

To remove a tick from you or your dog, take a pair of clean tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Then, lift the tick directly from the skin without twisting. As you increase the tension, the tick should naturally release from the skin. Dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet or placing it in a rubbing alcohol solution, which will kill the tick without crushing it.

Remember to wash the wound, your tweezers, and your hands after removing the tick.

Stay on the lookout for tick-borne illnesses

While using tick medication and removing ticks within 24 hours should keep your dog safe from tick-borne illnesses, you should still be aware of your dog’s health overall. If your dog starts displaying symptoms, like lethargy, a rash, or other worrying behavior, contact an online vet in Toronto to get help, regardless of how long it’s been since you’ve noticed a tick bite.

Check for ticks regularly

Ticks are an unfortunate part of owning a dog in Toronto, but as long as you pay attention to your dog and check them for ticks regularly, you should be able to keep yourself and your dog safe. While certain parts of Toronto are definitely more of a higher risk than others, these tips are important to keep in mind no matter where you live and where you regularly go.