Pet Grooming: The Never Ending Struggle With Ticks

In Singapore, ticks are just like mosquitoes. Even as the weather turns cooler, I’ve still been getting a lot of complaints about ticks lately. Inevitably, I’ve brought a few home from the grooming shop and passed it on to my poor dogs.


Some of you who bring your dogs out for daily walks may often find ticks on them and you may have chosen monthly spot-on treatments as a form of convenient solution. However, based on personal experiences and feedback from customers, it’s effectiveness

on subsequent applications is questionable. Why? I really do not know and neither have I found any answers online. Instead of answers, I found more people complaining about the same problem on the internet.

Bio-X d-Bug Flea & Tick Spray

What I have realised that works though, is using sprays and switching around brands often. Although I do not know why spray works better, but it may be possible that some factors may be preventing spot on treatment to spread evenly throughout the body. So the most obvious advantage of using sprays is that you can make sure that the whole body is evenly treated. Secondly, be it sprays or spot on, the effects do wear out. So with sprays, you are able to give the protection a boost when ever needed with just a spritz here and there.

Resistance is Futile

It could be that some sort of resistance has been formed that made spot on treatments less effective as it should be. Also, I’ve experienced scenarios where I applied the spot on and the same brand of spray a week later, the spray did not work as effectively as before. Luckily, I had another brand of flea and tick spray with me and it worked quite well in the end.

Apart from having a different brand, it’s useful to note that you should have different active ingredients as well. Try switching around Fipronil, permethrins, Pyrethrins, as well as natural alternatives like Etofenprox. Neem and eucalyptus are more of a preventive measure than an insecticide. But if you have the patience and is meticulous enough to give your dog thorough checks, then of course I would recommend using natural alternatives.

I Will Find You, And I Will Kill You

Even after applying flea and tick products, it is still necessary to give your pets a thorough check to remove any dead creepers as well as to see if there’re still any live ones. It would really help if you pet has a short coat. If it doesn’t, I would recommend you bring it to a pet a stylist and get it trimmed short for ease of checking. Don’t give yourself too much credit for being meticulous. I even have problems finding those pesky ticks on my Maltese.  The animals’ health should be of top priority and it’s looks should come later.

If there’s really a lot of ticks on the body, you may request your pet groomer to remove the ticks for a charge. Just make sure the services includes the physical removal of the ticks rather than just soaking your poor dog in a chemical dip and just letting the ticks die attached to Fido. Worse still, sometimes they wouldn’t even die.

As a word of caution, do not let your pet groomer charge you by the number of ticks removed. It’s a good indication that the groomer is a rip-off. Charges for a small dog is usually $20-$30, maybe $40 tops (rarely), if the condition is really bad.

How to remove them

how to remove a tickOther than keeping a keen eye during daily grooming sessions, a particularly good time to groom for ticks is after bathing your dog and its body is still wet. The coat would stick would stick together and close to the skin, giving you a better view of the skin. If your dog’s coat is just a centimeter long, you can use a flea comb and by placing it almost flat against the dog’s skin, comb against the lay of the coat. Remove any ticks you have found on the flea comb with sticky tape.

Otherwise, you can use a strong hair dryer, set it to cool and use it to part the dog’s hair. Remove the tick  by holding the tick at the mouth and pulling straight up. Squeezing the tick or killing it whilst on the skin will risk releasing toxins and pathogens into your pet.

If you do find baby ticks crawling around your house, try to find where they hatched. But unfortunately, fogging your house is usually the solution.

Prevention is better than cure

Ticks usually wait on grasses for animals to pass by and latch on them. But I also have owners who let their pets roam around without having any tick problems. Similarly, I have also found that there are areas around my house where my dog commonly get ticks from. After I change the walking route, my dogs seldom got ticks any more.

For topical prevention, mix water, a few drops of dog shampoo, neem oil and eucalyptus oil into a bottle and apply over their body. Towel lightly and dry them as usual. This method usually lasts two days tops.

Remember, keep your pets away from grass, apply flea and tick spray every 3-4 days and check everyday.

If you find this article useful, please share it and if you like us particular grooming tips, please share them in the comments below!

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