Do you know how to remove a live tick from your dog’s skin? It’s a skill every pet owner should have. It’s especially important if you live near wooded areas or have a year-round pest season.
Here are our tips for tick removal…
Ditch the home remedies
You may have heard a few remedies for handling ticks, including using a lit match or petroleum jelly, among others. But these remedies don’t always work and may even make things worse. If the tick gets stimulated, it could release more (possibly infected) fluids into the bloodstream-the opposite of what you want to achieve.
Your mission: speedy removal
While ticks can infect their hosts, this usually occurs after an infected tick has been feeding for 12 to 24 hours. This is why speedy tick removal is crucial to avoiding tick-borne illnesses.
The tick-removal process
- First, put on latex or rubber gloves to avoid contact with any infected fluids.
- Using tweezers or a tick removal tool (see below), grab the tick as close to the skin’s surface as possible.
- Pull the tick upwards with steady pressure until it’s removed. Don’t twist while doing this as it may break off the tick’s mouth parts and leave them embedded in the skin.
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- Don’t squeeze or crush the tick’s body to avoid secreting its body fluids, which may be infected.
- Keep the tick in a jar or container of rubbing alcohol with a lid and hold onto it for a few days. If your pet becomes sick, you can take the tick to the vet for testing.
- If the tick’s mouth parts are left behind, try to remove them. If you can’t, disinfect the area and let the skin heal.
- Clean up by disinfecting the site, washing your hands with soap and water (even if you wore gloves) and sterilizing your tweezers.
- Watch the site for signs of infection or growing redness and inflammation. If this happens, take your dog to the vet with the tick.
Tick removal tools: Make sure you’re ready to handle any ticks safely. New tick removal tools are generally better than tweezers at removing the entire tick and are inexpensive. They’re also easy to keep at hand if you live in a tick-infested area.
Visit your local Pet Supermarket store, which carries two new products: The Tick Key, an easy tick removal device, and Resultix, which can be sprayed on pets to kill ticks on contact.