Spring has sprung, and along with it the likelihood that your dog will pick up a tick here and there as he enjoys the great outdoors. Keep a sharp eye out for this. These tiny predators will bury themselves in your dog’s hair, clamping onto his skin at the root and wreaking all kinds of havoc on your dog’s health (ticks carry pathogens).
These uninvited guests must be removed or there could be issues further down the line, as far as your dog’s health is concerned. Let them stay indefinitely or fail to remove them properly and you’ve got a little blood-sucker that could take so much blood over time that your dog becomes anemic. Just from feeding a tick all that blood!
That sounds terrible (and it is!), so good thing there’s a quick and easy method for removing ticks yourself, at home. It’s important that you know how to remove a tick from a dog in the right manner. The most common mistake when removing ticks occurs when uninformed dog owners follow instinct and simply pull on the blood-filled tick body to remove it from the dog.
That won’t help, as it’s the tick’s head that’s firmly dug into your dog’s skin. Unless you remove the head, you haven’t solved your dog’s problem. Plus, you risk popping the body and what’s inside is not only completely disgusting but full of very bad germs as well.
Here’s the right way to remove a tick from your dog, in four easy steps. Follow them when you’ve spotted a predator on your dog’s skin, and you’ll be preventing future problems for both you and your dog.
You’re going to need the following items:
- a jar with a tight lid
- rubbing alcohol
- latex gloves
- an assistant
How To Remove a Tick From a Dog – Step #1
You’ll need a place to put the tick after you’ve removed it. There are two reasons for this:
- A jar with some rubbing alcohol is the best way to kill a tick. Don’t try and flush it, throw it outside, or crush it in a tissue.
- If your dog later develops health issues and you think it’s because of the tick, won’t it be handy to be able to still have that tick for veterinary analysis?
Gather your forces: get your assistant, who should be someone the pet trusts. The assistant will have the lucky job of holding or soothing the pet so it stays still while you perform the removal procedure.
How To Get a Tick Off a Dog – Step#2
Safety and precaution get their own step because it’s easy to forget what can happen when you’re so concerned about removing that ugly tick from your dog’s skin.
Put your latex gloves on. Remember what you read earlier about pathogens in ticks? You don’t want an exploding tick to spill its contents into a hangnail or a cut on your finger. Wearing gloves also prevents you from spreading infectious agents through mucus membranes later, by touching your eyes with the same finger that removed the tick.
You’ll also be washing your hands thoroughly after performing “tick surgery”…that’s how important it is not to expose yourself to the contents of the tick.
How To Remove Ticks From Dogs – Step #3
This is the actual tick removal part of the procedure”:
- Prepare the area. Part the dog’s hair and swab the tick area of the skin with the rubbing alcohol.
- With tweezers, grab the tick as close to the point of contact as possible– as low as you can without tweezing your dog’s skin. Don’t grab the body: grab the head or the mouth, depending on what type of tick it is and how deeply the head is buried. Be very careful here, because one accidental pinch to your dog with those tweezers and your assistant will have a handful as the dog squirms or tries to get away. He won’t trust this strange situation any more and your job will he harder, too.
- If the there’s not much head to grab onto, slide the tweezer under the body and lift. This is the “prying” method and works with the types of ticks that really bury their heads deep. It helps here to have pointy tweezers- insert one arm of the tweezer under the tick and pull up with stead pressure, holding down the skin if necessary.
- Do everything in your power to remove the head along with the body. Be very careful to pull straight up, not at an angle and not with a twist, both of which may separate the head from the body. You don’t necessarily want to hurt the tick yet because when he’s distressed he may vomit, and when that happens, all that nasty infectious junk will come up and may infect your dog. For the same reasons, be careful not to crush the bloated, blood-filled body. Even worse things live in there, like the actual pathogens it may be carrying. Plus, you’ll have a mess.
How To Remove a Tick From a Dog – Step #4
If you did leave the tick’s head behind, do not try to gouge it out with the tweezers. You could be starting a whole new round of trouble if you do this, since you’d essentially be creating an open wound where lots of infectious fluid has recently been spilled.
Instead, disinfect the area then apply a warm compress. The dog’s body may push the head out on its own.
You’re all done, except for keeping an eye on the area for the next few weeks for signs of trouble (keep the jar handy). Now’s when you wash your hands and sterilize the heck out of those tweezers with the rubbing alcohol.
Tick Prevention For Dogs
Knowing how to remove a tick from a dog is obviously important, but even more important is preventing the tick bite all together. So… Why not pick up an all natural flea and tick prevention tag?
Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea & Tick Tag – $59.99
A safe, chemical-free way to keep harmful pests off of your pet that utilizes your pet’s own energy to create a natural barrier to fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.