Finding a tick on your dog can be worrying as they can pass on serious diseases and they do need to be removed safely, as quickly as possible. They live in long grasses and woodland areas and latch on to your pet to feed off their blood.
Checking for ticks on your dog
It’s important to check your dog regularly for ticks, particularly if you have been out in the countryside or an area with long grass. After every walk, check your dog’s body to see if you can feel any attached ticks.
The areas which are particularly vulnerable are the head and ears, also around the neck, between toes but they can attach anywhere on your pet so always give him a thorough check. You might also notice your dog scratching and biting at an area where there is a tick, but not always. There are some natural ways to treat fleas and ticks, but sometimes you just need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty.
If you notice a tick inside your dog’s ears then take him to the vet, don’t attempt to remove it yourself.
Best way to pull out ticks safely
There are a number of steps to ensure that you remove any ticks from your dog in a way that is safe for both your dog and you as ticks can pass nasty diseases to humans as well.
- Always wear gloves
Never try to remove a tick using your fingers as it could bite you and they carry diseases that can pass to humans as well, so make sure you wear gloves before attempting to tackle ticks on your pets.
- Keep your dog still
You might need to get someone to help you as its important to keep your dog still when trying to remove a tick. If he moves while you are pulling it out, you might leave part of it in him which can cause an infection.
- Part the fur
You need to have clear access to the tick so once your dog is keeping still, you need to part the fur so you can see it clearly. Ticks bury their jaws into your pet so it can’t jump away or anything. Once you have found it, you will need your tick hook at the ready.
- Use your tick hook gently
You can buy tick hooks from your vet or pet shop and even from some supermarkets. These are the only tools you should use to remove a tick as tweezers could just crush it and leave part of it in your pet.
Follow the instructions by sliding the hook under the tick, twisting and moving upwards to pull it out all in one go, without squeezing it.
- Get rid of the tick safely
You need to dispose of the tick in a way that it can’t bite you or your family so don’t just chuck it as it’s still alive and can escape. Make sure to kill it and dispose of it in the bin outside your home to be on the safe side.
- Clean everything
It’s important to wipe the area on your dog with an antiseptic designed for pets, before binning the gloves, washing your hands thoroughly and then cleaning your tick hook for future use.
- Keep an eye on your dog
There is still a chance that the tick has infected your dog so keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms and if you spot anything, take your dog to the vets straight away. Also make sure to use a regular tick repellent treatment on your dog so that you don’t have to remove them.
Now that we have looked at the steps to take to safely remove a tick, here are some of the things you should never do if you find a tick on your pet:
Never remove a tick with your fingers
This one can’t be stressed enough as they can bite humans and cause serious diseases. The only safe way is wearing gloves and using a tick hook.
Never crush a tick
If you squeeze a tick, some of its contents – including infected materials – could be squeezed into your dog’s blood stream which increases the risk of infection and disease.
Never smother a tick
Some people have been known to cover a tick in nail polish or petroleum jelly. This does not necessarily kill ticks and will leave them in your dog longer, not to mention these substances could irritate your dog’s skin.
Never try to burn a tick
This is the worst way people have been known to try to remove a tick from an animal and clearly puts your dog and you at serious risk of injury. The only safe way to remove a tick completely and effectively is by using a tick hook and following all the steps outlined above.