Tip of the Month

12/4/2013 How To Remove A Tick

How to Safely Remove a Tick from Your Dog’s Skin

How to remove a tick

Ticks Are A Year Round Threat

There is a common misconception among pet owners that once the weather cools down, ticks go dormant and no longer pose a threat to their pets. This, however, is not always the case. If you live in an area that has mild winters, ticks can be a year-round problem. If your dog spends a lot of time out in areas where long grass and brush are common, there is a very good chance that Buster could pick up a tick or two. No need to panic, though, as removing a tick is actually quite easy and with a few simple steps you can have it out in no time.

Use Care During The Tick Removal Process

First off, do not agitate the tick by pouring alcohol on it, smothering it in petroleum jelly or putting a recently lit match on it. While these methods might cause the tick to pull its head out of the skin, or even kill it, it will also regurgitate what is has already devoured, spreading bacteria into the open wound it created. The best method is to manually pull the tick out. Do this with great care as you must remove the head of the tick or it will cause the area to abscess.

Tick Removal Tools

Removal can be done in a couple of ways. There are tick-pulling products such as a “tick key” or “tick twister.” These ensure that not only do you remove the head but also never have to come in contact with the tick. One could also use hemostats or gloved fingers to complete the extraction. Just be sure not to squish the tick while using these.

Carefully pull the tick straight out of the skin, avoid any twisting motion as this can cause the tick’s head to break off. Once the tick is removed, place it in a container of rubbing alcohol. This will kill the tick in a short amount of time. Smashing the tick will also kill it but be warned; some ticks have very tough bodies and can be near impossible to squish. Avoid using methods such as washing it down the sink or flushing it down a toilet. This will not kill the tick and it will likely crawl back up the out of the drain, leaving it free to wander through your house.

Keep Your Tick

Once the tick is dead, you might want to keep it in a plastic baggie for a couple days; if your dog falls ill, you can bring it with you to the veterinarian’s office for species identification and proper treatment for your dog if needed. .

Disinfect the wound left behind from the tick’s bite with peroxide or an over the counter antiseptic. Then, be sure to give Buster a treat for being such a brave boy.

While dealing with ticks is never a pleasant experience, it is a common problem pet owners face. The more prepared you are to handle the situation when it arises, the better it will be for you and your dog—and the worse it will be for that pesky tick.

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