How to Remove a Tick From Your Dog
Summer is here and so are the ticks! Make sure you protect your dogs with tick preventatives, but if you do need to remove an attached tick, from yourself or your dog, here is how to do it.
To remove an attached tick, use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or a special tick removal instrument. These special devices allow you to remove the tick without squeezing the tick body. This is important because you do not want to crush the tick and force harmful bacteria to leave the tick and enter your pet's bloodstream.
I really like a little device called “Ticked Off”. It is a plastic spoon-like device with a V shaped slit in the cup that slides over the tick, trapping it in the tapered V slit. All you have to then do is pull it straight out. I keep one of these little devices on my keychain in the summer. That way I always have something handy to remove a tick as soon as I find it.
- Grab the tick by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin. Do not grasp the tick by the body.
- Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward. Do not twist the tick as you are pulling.
- Using methods such as applying petroleum jelly, a hot match, or alcohol will NOT cause the tick to 'back out.' In fact, these irritants may cause the tick to deposit more disease-carrying saliva in the wound.
- After removing the tick, place it in a jar of alcohol to kill it. Ticks are NOT killed by flushing them down the toilet.
- Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant. If you want to, apply a small amount of topical antibiotic ointment.
- Wash your hands thoroughly.
Please do not use your fingers to remove or dispose of the tick. You do not want be in direct contact with a potentially disease-carrying tick. Do NOT squash the tick with your fingers. The contents of the tick can transmit disease.
Once an embedded tick is manually removed, it is not uncommon for a welt and skin reaction to occur. A little hydrocortisone spray will help alleviate the irritation, but it may take a week or more for healing to take place. In some cases, the tick bite may permanently scar leaving a hairless area on your dog. This skin irritation is due to the irritating and destructive tick saliva. It is not due to the tick losing its head, literally. Do not be worried about the tick head staying in; it rarely happens. The swelling is due to toxic saliva, not toxic heads.
Enjoy a great summer with your dogs!
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