It’s tick season here in our neck of the woods, and although summer is winding down, the tick population is definitely not. If your pet spends a lot of time in the great outdoors, you probably know that ticks are a problem to be prepared for.
But have you ever had to remove a tick
There are a lot of common misconceptions about this process, so we thought we’d spend some time going over the basics, as well as things not to do.
Most of us know that tick bites are painful and uncomfortable. They’re also dangerous. Tick bites can transmit debilitating diseases to humans and pets, such as:
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Luckily, you can prevent ticks in your home and on your pets (and yourself) with year round use of a tick preventive, as well as clearing brush and debris (where ticks live and breed) from your yard. It’s also important to examine your pets for ticks on a regular basis and after they’ve been outside, and to learn how to remove a tick should you find one on your pet.
Ticks only transmit disease 24-48 hours after a bite, so learning how to remove a tick can actually prevent disease. You should also talk to us about tick borne disease blood testing if your pet’s lifestyle puts him at risk. These diseases often mask as other problems, and signs can be intermittent and difficult to diagnose. By catching tick borne diseases early, we can treat your pet more effectively and for less cost.
How To Remove a Tick
Here’s a step by step guide to removing a tick.
- Use fine tipped tweezers or a tick removal tool
- Spread your dogs fur
- Gently grasp the tick’s body as close to the skin as possible
- Very gently pull straight upward in a slow, steady motion
- Don’t twist the tick as you might break the body from the head, leaving the head imbedded in your dog
It’s a good idea to keep the tick in a covered container so that if you notice any signs of disease in your dog, you can have the tick tested. Disinfect all tools used to remove the tick, as well as your dog’s skin. Wash your hands well after tick removal (disposable latex gloves are handy).
Observe your dog well for signs of tick borne diseases, and schedule an appointment if you see any of the common signs:
- Body and/or joint pain
- Loss of appetite
4 Common Myths of Tick Removal
There are some common myths surrounding tick removal.
Petroleum jelly, nail polish – a common myth is that painting a tick with these products will cause it to back out of the pet. Remember that your goal is to remove the tick as soon as possible, so don’t wait for it to detach
Freezing the tick off – this method can be risky to your pet’s skin, and is not as effective as removing the tick. What’s more, it simply doesn’t work: usually the head of the tick stays imbedded in the pet.
Burning the tick off – lighting a match and holding it to your pet’s coat and skin is the very definition of playing with fire. Your pet could easily get singed or worse, catch on fire. This is just not a safe option at all!
Our team at Dupont Veterinary Clinic are experts at tick removal, so if you prefer to come in and have us remove the tick, give us a call. We’re also happy to answer specific questions and lend support, and we even carry the tick removal tools in our office (which can really come in handy). Let us know how we can help!