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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've started to do some dog walking and pet sitting on the side to earn some extra money. So far I have a couple of clients for Canada Day weekend. My problem is the newest "in my home" pet sitting of two mini schnauzers. I'm met with the owner the other day who needed someone urgently to look after their dogs for 4 days because they has some work to do outside of the city. The dogs seemed alright, and I saw no problems to start (other than some behavioral ones), and the owner let me know there was no medical issues or anything. I offered to bathe the dogs and trim their paws as a complimentary service, little did I know I would find something so much more worst: TICKS!!

Apparently, the two pups (one 8 month male and the other 7 month female), were infested with ticks! It wasn't until I got my hands on them and dug through their fur did I find the nasty vermin! It was so bad I rushed them into the nearest groomer I could find to get them professionally removed. Over 30 ticks where ripped off of them, and I pulled off and killed 10 more when I bathed them again when we got back to my place.

I am just completely dumbfounded right now on what to do. It cost me $45 to get the ticks removed off of both dogs. I would of gotten them completely groomed, but it was way too expensive for me to afford. If it was for just one dog, then yes I would of gone for it, but two was too much. Did I make a big mistake for not thoroughly inspecting the dogs? How do I approach the owners about this? I'm definitely going to bring it up, but it is unreasonable to ask them to pay the cost of the de-tick-ing? The ticks were really bad and I couldn't just let them stay with me all ticked up. Is this just a lost I have to take for entering this kind of field of work? If it was just a couple of ticks I wouldn't have cared, but I actually had to spend my own money in this case. I offered a bath, not a whole de-tick-ing, but does a bath mean I have to de-tick the dog that is infested? Should I try to call the owner? I don't even know if I can reach him at this moment.

The two pups are from a low income family, and like I said before, they urgently needed a dog sitter for work. I lowered my price for them a little bit so they could afford my service, which I didn't mind at all. The family lives really close to me, and the dogs are small and do not take up much room. They seem get along alright with Wicket (my dog), but they do not have free access to my place. Since they are still puppies, I am treating them like puppies in my home when it comes to space restriction.

I'm just having a MAJOR freak out right now because this is my first long term (more than a day) pet sitting and the dogs were infested with wood ticks. I even think the female might be going into her first heat. Her genitals are swollen and I spotted a couple of drops of blood on my floor (though it could of been from a tick wound). OMG what do I do?! >.< What should I do about the grooming tab? Should I continue to dog sit these dogs? The family asked me if I could dog sit again for another weekend later on. What should I do if I find loose ticks in my home, on me, or my dog? What is the best way to kill these nasty things? If I find one on me, is it best to go to a walk-in to get it removed by a doctor? Vice versa with my dog and the vet? How do I deal with a young dog in heat?

Thank you so much for any suggestions and advice, I really appreciate it. I'm pretty sure I know exactly what to do (except for a good way to kill ticks), but I just need to talk it out with people who've been there and gone through the motions. I don't want this to spoil dog walking and pet sitting for me, my other clients are very nice with great dogs. But with this incident... I'm afraid :( I have a sinking feeling I'm going to have to take a big lost on this particular incident. I just hope I can make up for it in my other jobs.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Caught and killed 5 more. I've been grabbing them with tissue and then smashing them to bits in the tissue. I wash my hands after each killing. Is there a more efficient way to kill these buggers? Thankfully, none spotted on Wicket. Caught one crawling up my jeans though. Oh man, I hope my home isn't infested now!
 

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1. Have a bill of sale for the grooming. Charge them for it.
2. Tell them you will continue to pet sit for them if they go and get a tick treatment for them, otherwise you will continue to take them to the groomer and put their name on the bill so you don't get stuck with it. If they refuse to pay or get them treated tell them you can not be held responsible because of all the illnesses ticks carry and you do not want to be blamed for an illness that is easily prevented.
3.Ticks are a part of life, don't freak out over them, pull them straight out with a pair of tweezers right at the base of their head, put removed ticks in a pill bottle with rubbing alcohol and they will die.
4.IF she is in heat, and the male is un neautred don't keep them together unless you have direct supervision over them. An opps litter that young is not good. Tell them that you think she has gone into heat and they can decide what to do about it.
 

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You may have to cut your losses and just not sit for these particular dogs again :/ I would still ask to be compensated for the tick removal, but more importantly, I'd try to educate them on tick prevention as it sounds like these dogs live in an area that are running wild with them! Is Lyme disease a concern in your area at all?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you so much for responding so quickly. This is the first time I've even encountered ticks, so it's a really big whammy. I hope one doesn't attached to a particular private area >.<

1. Have a bill of sale for the grooming. Charge them for it.
2. Tell them you will continue to pet sit for them if they go and get a tick treatment for them, otherwise you will continue to take them to the groomer and put their name on the bill so you don't get stuck with it. If they refuse to pay or get them treated tell them you can not be held responsible because of all the illnesses ticks carry and you do not want to be blamed for an illness that is easily prevented.
3.Ticks are a part of life, don't freak out over them, pull them straight out with a pair of tweezers right at the base of their head, put removed ticks in a pill bottle with rubbing alcohol and they will die.
4.IF she is in heat, and the male is un neautred don't keep them together unless you have direct supervision over them. An opps litter that young is not good. Tell them that you think she has gone into heat and they can decide what to do about it.
I'm definitely keeping the receipt, but I'm not sure if I should wait until they get back to bring it up or try calling right away and let them know what is going down. Thanks so much for the rubbing alcohol advice. I have 99%, I hope that strong enough. I had them separated from the very beginning, just being intact (both are) kinda flicks on my highest of prevention measures. I've never experience a dog in heat before, should I make her wear panties with a pad? (story from family member's dog experience) Or is the mess really minor? Lady, the female, is about 8-10lbs, but could stand to put on a little bit. Charlie, the male, hasn't tried to hump anyone yet, but I'm not taking that risk.

You may have to cut your losses and just not sit for these particular dogs again :/ I would still ask to be compensated for the tick removal, but more importantly, I'd try to educate them on tick prevention as it sounds like these dogs live in an area that are running wild with them! Is Lyme disease a concern in your area at all?
I think this is something I'm going to do. The owner and wife sort of seem like they're willing to learn, but I'm a really bad judge of character. Ticks aren't too bad here in the city, but I'm not too sure about Lyme disease. It's here, but I don't think it's as bad as some other places. Not much information is passed out about lyme disease, and most city dog owners don't vaccinate their dogs (or this is what I learned from my vet when he was talking about vaccines for Wicket). The two schnauzers where previously at some reserve park place that I assume would be really woodsy and naturey. Before that, they were in Montana in who knows where. They have a lot of old scars from ticks (that's what the groomer told me), so I would assume for a long time the owners weren't using tick prevention or anything. I want to be a responsible dog sitter, but I think this is going beyond what should be expected from me. Their tick wounds are going to get infected, and they're both kinda underweight (too light for me to feel comfortable with). The groomer and a pet store owner told me the pups were really thin, but it's not quite malnourished thin.
 

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I pet sit a lot and I just watched a dog covered in fleas!!!! To me fleas are worse than ticks. I was raised in the country and we had outside dogs so I am used to picking ticks off I hate fleas though. My mom took the dog to the groomer to get rid of the fleas then to the vet to get treated for the rest of the fleas. The dog had been outside for a month or so, so it didn't surprise me. It was a family members dog but we still put it on there payment. I would tell the owners about the ticks and charge them for it. If they can't pay it on the spot and you trust them do like a payment plan.
 

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If you are worried about a tick on yourself, just check yourself over carefully twice per day. Ticks need to be attached for awhile to transmit Lyme disease. If you find one attached, you can remove it yourself and either discard it (while being aware that if you have any illness later you may want to tell your doctor you had a tick bite) or remove it and kill it and tape it to a piece of paper and place in a ziploc bag and store if you may want it tested later. Personally, living in an area with ticks, I wear repellent and just check myself after being in the woods.

For any of their tick bites, just clean like a normal scratch. Sometimes dogs react to a tick bite with a bump, like a pimple, that goes away after a week or so. Even if the head was left in, the dog's body will treat it like a splinter and force it out.

I would charge them for the tick removal. that is an very excessive amount of ticks, I have never even pulled that many off a HORSE (who gets no tick preventatives at all) or off a friend's farm dogs (who did get a regular topical flea/tick med but spend all day outside in the woods around deer etc)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you to every one for responding. Today is a new day, a better day. I'm not as worked up now. I called the owner last night and he got back to me really late (around 12). He seemed shocked and concerned. He said that their previous pet sitter when they were on the reserve or Montana (can remember which he said), probably let them get tick infested because they were in a really wooded area. Well, however they got tick ridden, they're with me now and hopefully this can be resolved soon. The owner is going to call me back to day sometime after 3 to talk more about it, because it was really really late when he was able to call me back. It sounded like he would be willing to pay the $45, but didn't say directly that he would.

I'm not sure how to tell him, but I want to tell him that I cannot continue to dog sit for them. I just am not sure what would be the more straight forward but not too harsh way to do it. I was thinking about telling him that I cannot keep them in my home anymore and sit them in the future because the dogs are so heavily tick infest and the chances of them having Lyme disease are really high. I am going to tell him I don't want to put my boyfriend, my dog, and myself at risk, and it poses a threat to my entire building if the ticks were to get loose into the building. Hopefully this sounds straight forward and direct enough. I'm also going to tell the owner to take the dogs to a vet ASAP and get them checked over and have what ever tests and shots done on them.

The dogs seem like they have joint problems and are stiff as if they have Lyme disease, but that could be attributed to their behavioral problems. I've tick check Wicket and myself, and so far no embedding ticks (cross fingers). Unfortunately, a really big fat tick just fell off of Charlie this morning. Killed it in rubbing alcohol, bagged and tagged it. I scanned a image of it too and have it for my records. I just wished I was bagging and tagging the ticks sooner. I'm pretty sure Charlie and Lady still have a fair number of ticks, we'll see, I'll keep checking and ripping them out as I see them. On a good note, I think I've almost gained full control over Charlie on walks. Lady is a perfect walker with the exception of growling and trying to chase squirrels and joggers. Charlie on the other hand, yesterday he was all pull pull pull and very anxious and nervous; essentially he was all over the place. Today, he's like a completely different dog, I'm really shocked. It's amazing how a change in environment and a different handler can do to a dog. Sadly, I don't think his owners will be able to keep up with my structure of walking, it is very strict and requires a lot of patience. I just hope some good comes from the owner's phone call later today. I hoping he is not only willing to pay the bill, but pick them up earlier. He was debating having them stay with me Monday as well, but that was up in the air.
 

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I would keep Capstar on hand for emergencies - kills fleas (not sure about ticks) - Petsmart does this in my area. I'd charge the owners for the tick removal cost at the groomers, or refuse to watch these dogs again, if they refuse.

I would also put in your requirements for the future that all dogs must be regularly treated for fleas, ticks, and heartworms. Most boarding facilities require this, so you wouldn't be out of line. I'd even ask what they're treating them with when they call to schedule a stay, to make sure it's an effective one (IMO, a monthly treatment). No regular treatment - no dog sitting.
 

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yikes. I hope he'll pay you for your cost but unless you have a contract with this all written out, he may not.
 

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If he pays for it and agrees to keep his dogs tick free in the future I don't see why you shouldn't dog-sit for them again... Also, dogs rarely show symptoms of Lyme disease so I would leave that diagnosis up to a vet. Ticks aren't really that big of a deal to me... They might get loose in your building but I don't think they would be able to have a breeding population or anything if that's what you're worried about. People would kill them before that could happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So I just found a tick attached to Wicket and 5 more on the two schnauzers, aguh it won't end! I really really hope Wicket got the tick because she keeps getting near the two that are penned up. If she got it elsewhere, this means they're traveling and seek out new hosts, AHHH!!!!


I would keep Capstar on hand for emergencies - kills fleas (not sure about ticks) - Petsmart does this in my area. I'd charge the owners for the tick removal cost at the groomers, or refuse to watch these dogs again, if they refuse.

I would also put in your requirements for the future that all dogs must be regularly treated for fleas, ticks, and heartworms. Most boarding facilities require this, so you wouldn't be out of line. I'd even ask what they're treating them with when they call to schedule a stay, to make sure it's an effective one (IMO, a monthly treatment). No regular treatment - no dog sitting.
Yep such a big learning experience, I'm definitely going to have treatment and prevention program as a requirement next time I dog sit. Don't want this to ever happen again. I'll check the dogs myself inch by inch if I have to gosh darn it!


If he pays for it and agrees to keep his dogs tick free in the future I don't see why you shouldn't dog-sit for them again... Also, dogs rarely show symptoms of Lyme disease so I would leave that diagnosis up to a vet. Ticks aren't really that big of a deal to me... They might get loose in your building but I don't think they would be able to have a breeding population or anything if that's what you're worried about. People would kill them before that could happen.
I have mixed feelings about dog sitting for these people again. This is such a bad incident that I am really surprised they didn't noticed engorged ticks attached to and falling off of their dogs. That one big one this morning literally flew off of Charlie when he shook and bounced right in front of me. I have a really bad feeling that they will not take care of their dogs' tick problem or put them on some sort of prevention program. I really hope they take them to the vet at the very least. These dogs have great potential, but I'm pretty sure they were subjected to pretty harsh punishment by the way they act. Thank you so much Kayota for giving me that tidbit of info about the ticks getting loose. It makes me feel better. I just don't want other people have to suffer for the one bad pet sitting incident I received :(
 

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Could you dip the dogs in something like Adams flea/tick dip to kill the remaining ticks? Just make sure you're not pregnant, b/c it's very poisonous. You can get it at Tractor Supply, I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Could you dip the dogs in something like Adams flea/tick dip to kill the remaining ticks? Just make sure you're not pregnant, b/c it's very poisonous. You can get it at Tractor Supply, I think.
I don't think that's necessary anymore, the owner called and he is going to try to get his wife to pick up the dogs later tonight. He is going to to take them to a groomer and to the vet :D In the mean time until that happens, they're taking the dogs to friend's place with a yard to keep them there until they're treated. But I'll remember Adam's flea/tick dip in case for the future I do need to treat a dog. Thank you :)
 

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Glad to hear that your misery with these dogs is coming to an end - what a nightmare! Also glad that the people are going to get their dogs treated properly!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Tick infested dogs are gone!! There was another tick on Wicket, aguh.... Thank you all for your support and advice. Do you guys think there still could be ticks running around in my place? What can I do to clean up and make sure there are no more ticks? I'm going to bleach everything just to sanitize to start, what else do you guys suggest I do?
 

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Ticks really aren't like fleas.. they latch onto the host and stay put until they a) fall off or b) found and picked off. I would think it's highly unlikely that you would have any loose milling around your place (but I could be wrong). I grew up with camping and living out on the farms in SK and MB and we would never end up with ticks in the house - only on us!
 

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You really don't need to bleach anything either... Honestly when my dog gets ticks I pick them off, flush them down the toilet and forget about it.
 

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I would also put in your requirements for the future that all dogs must be regularly treated for fleas, ticks, and heartworms. Most boarding facilities require this, so you wouldn't be out of line. I'd even ask what they're treating them with when they call to schedule a stay, to make sure it's an effective one (IMO, a monthly treatment). No regular treatment - no dog sitting.
This. You can ask the owners for the dates of their last frontline or whatever. I can't imagine not doing this, since you have your own pets to think about.

And you could tell the owners in advance that if there are parasites, you will treat them and they will be billed for it. Same thing if they need veterinary care. Are there sample contracts online that you could use for this? It seems like some kind of contract is in order.

Did you put something on these two schnauzers to kill the ticks?
 

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Ticks really aren't like fleas.. they latch onto the host and stay put until they a) fall off or b) found and picked off. I would think it's highly unlikely that you would have any loose milling around your place (but I could be wrong). I grew up with camping and living out on the farms in SK and MB and we would never end up with ticks in the house - only on us!

That- They can get off a dog and onto a bed or something like that, but they don't go far or set up house. When stuck inside, they feed if they can, then they die. They're not an indoor pest. I check my dog on the way inside if he's been anywhere near overgrown grass or bushes while we were out. One time, I checked, but not thoroughly enough and found one on my bed. Now I'm really cautious about letting him in my room for about 12 hours after we've been out. If there are any left on him by then, they're digging in just outside his ears and I can pick them off before they start to feed and transmit lyme.


I can't imagine finding anywhere near that number on a dog at once. Are they outside-only dogs at home?

ETA- Oh, I just noticed, you're a 'pegger :p Tick season in MB seems to have died down a great deal now. They were all over Carman until a couple weeks ago and now I have noticed absolutely none on Wembley and none on the outside dog across the alley from me, so don't worry too much about your household, just wash any laundry the dogs were near or using in hot water if you can. Other than that, you're good. There's not a lot of need for tick treatment around here unless your dog lives outside, or plays in tall grass everyday. Otherwise, checking them over when you bring them in during tick season and checking them again a couple hours later (they move up and are easily found in areas with soft skin, like around the ears) should be sufficient. They don't begin to transmit lyme until they feed and deer ticks (the ones that carry lyme) take about 24 hours before they settle in and start to feed, so you have loads of time to find them. Pick them off at the lowest point you can get a grasp on (grab as much of the head as you can), don't squeeze hard, just enough to get a grip, then pull straight out (usually takes a chunk of skin with it, that's better than leaving head parts). Then, disinfect the area and forget about it. If you've missed head parts, disinfect and keep an eye on it for an infection. Lyme won't transmit from the head though, the body needs to be attached for that.
 
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