Safely Removing a Tick from your Dog

ticksTicks feed on your dog’s blood when they attach to his/her skin. Once they grab hold, they are difficult to remove. Removing ticks promptly is essential for keeping your pet healthy as they carry numerous diseases–some of which can be deadly. But there is more to removing a tick than just pulling it out. Unless you do it correctly, your pet may remain in danger.

Even though it’s important getting a tick off your pet quickly, veterinarians advise staying calm and not rushing getting a tick off your pet. Moving too fast when removing a tick could potentially create more problems for your pet and for you. It may be a good idea to have someone to help you to distract, sooth, or hold your dog still to prevent your pet squirming and trying to get away before you’re done.

Also, be aware that the whole tick removal process may be scary for your dog so not only is it a good idea to stay calm, but it’s also a good idea having some treats ready to give your dog as soon as the procedure is over. This may make it easier removing any future ticks.

•Put on latex or rubber gloves and use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers or special tick-removal instruments to remove an attached tick. These special devices allow one to remove the tick without squeezing the tick’s body. This is very important as you don’t want to crush the tick–leting harmful bacteria enter your pet’s bloodstream–and you don’t want to have direct contact with the tick or your pet’s bite area either. Ticks can transmit diseases that may also enter your bloodstream through breaks in your skin or through mucous membranes so avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

•Using the tweezers or other instrument, grab the tick by the head or mouthparts right where it entered the skin. Do not grasp the tick by the body. Pull firmly and steadily directly outward keeping a steady hand. Do not twist the tick as you are pulling.

•Do not use your fingers to remove or dispose of the tick and do not squash the tick with your fingers. Do not apply petroleum jelly, a hot match, or alcohol as this will not cause the tick to back out as commonly thought. In fact, these irritants may cause the tick to deposit more disease-carrying saliva in the wound.

•Do not flush the tick down the toilet as that doesn’t kill it. After removing the tick, be ready with something to put the tick in–the best option is a screw-top jar containing some rubbing alcohol. It’s actually best to hold on to it for a while in case your pet falls ill from the bite and the tick has to be tested by your vet for certain diseases.

•Clean up thoroughly by disinfecting the bite site and washing your hands with soap and water even with wearing gloves. Sterilize your tweezers with alcohol or by carefully running them over a flame. Closely monitor the bite area for a few weeks for any signs of localized infection. If the area is already red and inflamed, or becomes so later, please·bring your pet and your jarred tick to your veterinarian for evaluation.

If you don’t want to be bothered with constantly removing ticks from your dog but feel topical medications are too expensive, consider getting a tick collar for your dog. However, tick collars are not as good as topical medications. Consult your vet for product recommendations.

To keep your dog healthy, examine his skin for any signs of ticks on a regular basis. Removing ticks from your dog is not complicated; to prevent any complications, you have to do it correctly by following the suggestions above!

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