Removing ticks is probably the most disgusting task that you will ever have to do as a pet parent, at least I think so! Safely removing ticks is an important skill for you to know not just for your dog’s health, but yours as well! Ticks are evil little parasites that gross out even those with a high constitution. They live absolutely anywhere and can survive the harshest climates. Which means the likelihood of coming across one is high during one’s lifetime. Even dogs on prevention aren’t 100% protected from getting bitten, since many prevention treatments kill the tick AFTER the bite. Every good pet parent needs to know how to safely remove a tick from their poor pet. It is so important to remove the tick from the animal as quickly as possible to lower the risk of disease transmission.
Like I said before, and will probably reiterate 10 thousand more times, TICKS ARE EVIL! Of course, being members of the arachnid family how could they not be. These pesky parasites can’t run, jump, or fly, but for everything they can’t do they make up for with patience and determination. Ticks developed a sly strategy of “questing” for their food. They climb up to the top of vegetation and lay wait with their forelegs outstretched. They can tell a meal is on its way from quite a distance through a keen sense of smell, vibrations, and changes in temperature! If the potential host passes closely by the tick will grab hold and seek out a prime feeding point.
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Where Do Ticks Like to Feed?
Technically, a tick could attach itself anywhere on the dog’s skin, they do, however like areas that are dark and moist. There are 8 areas where ticks are primarily found, although they can be found elsewhere.
- Inside and around the ears
- Between the toes
- Under Tail
- Around the genital region
- Under collars
- Pits of forelegs
- Around the elbows
- Around the eyelids
Can’t We Just Go to The Vet?
Unless they can get you in right away, this is probably not the wisest choice. Granted ticks are slow, they move slow they even eat slow the problem is you don’t know how long it’s been latched on for. When not engorged, ticks can be as small as a pin head (depending on species), and the longer they feed the bigger they get. It does take time for a tick to infect its host with any one or multiple of the tick-borne diseases it is carrying, so the sooner it is removed the better. Unfortunately, this most likely means your scrubbing in!
How to Safely Remove Ticks!
Ticks carry a multitude of diseases that it can infect you and your dog with. Because of this you want to make sure that you use the proper technique. never want to grab a tick with your bare hands and just pull! This is a big no no! If you squeeze the tick while it is still attached to your dog it can actually cause it to regurgitate and substantially increases the risk of transmitting diseases. Once you have it removed DO NOT crush the body either! Crushing will cause all that infective goo to spurt out and if it gets into an open wound your liable to contract something bad. There are A LOT of home remedies flying around the internet that encourage covering the tick in various oils, nailpolish remover, rubbing alcohol. However, these methods can also cause the tick to regurgitate.
Tools Needed for Safely Removing Ticks from a Dog
First and foremost, you might need an extra set of hands to help hold your dog still. You definitely don’t want them struggling and causing one of the million tick-tastrifies I have playing in my head right now. Having a set of tick hooks or fine tip tweezers in your medical kit exactly for this purpose. Normal everyday tweezers do not work well for safely removing ticks because of their blunt tips. You will need some type of disposable rubber or medical gloves as well.
Procedure for Safely Removing Ticks
1.First, fill a shot glass or other small container with enough rubbing alcohol to submerge the tick’s body.
2. Then, put on your protective gloves and wash your removing tool in rubbing alcohol. Grasp the tick with your tweezers (or tick hook) as close to the dog’s skin as possible. Remember you want to make sure that you remove the whole tick.
3. Clasp on to the tick and pull straight upwards with even force. Do NOT twist or yank this might cause the mouth parts to snap off before removal.
4. Once removed place the tick in the container of rubbing alcohol and set somewhere safe.
5. Return to the bite spot. Inspect to make sure there is nothing of the tick left behind under the skin and clean the area thoroughly with rubbing alcohol.
6. Flush tick and alcohol down toilet. Ticks do not need to be sent out for testing. Commercial labs do offer the service, but it is not recommended as you will likely see symptoms before the results are in.
7. Clean tools with a disinfectant and dispose of gloves.
8. Wash hands thoroughly with either rubbing alcohol or hot soapy water.
I Broke IT!
As much as we try to no break off the mouth parts it sometimes happens. Whatever you do DO NOT try to dig it out of the skin! Call you vet and follow their advice. Each clinic will handle it a bit differently. Some will have you come in to have it examined others may prescribe a course of antibiotics to prevent the area getting infected.
As gross as they are ticks are things as pet parents we have to deal with. Just like our kids coming home with lice or ringworm. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it. Learning how to safely remove a ticks may spare you some agony in the long run.