I’m sure all of you are aware that ticks are a danger to our health, as well as the health of our pets.
Ticks are certainly one of the many banes to canines as well as to their owners. They not only carry horrific diseases but cause discomfort to our pets. A tick infestation can cause anemia and death without removal in a timely fashion. Ticks also transmit many diseases that could also prove to be catastrophic.
Find… and Destroy
Dog owners must be diligent in checking for ticks. The ears, underbelly and tail are usually concealed, so you’ll have to play hide and seek with ticks. Long-coated dogs are more of a problem as the coat must be completely gone over to find these blood-sucking parasites.
Most often, you’ll discover ticks on warm days, no matter what season of the year. Your dog can pick up a tick in the woods, in fields, even in your yard. Among a tick’s favorite places on your dog are behind the ears, between the toes and on the underside of his belly.
Checking your dog often (and thoroughly) on warm days may result in your being able to remove the tick before it digs into the skin and becomes embedded.
How to Remove Ticks From Dogs Safely
For those of you who don’t know how to remove ticks from dogs safely, the following steps are involved in tick removal, according to the website for Drs. Foster & Smith:
- Sterilize a pair of blunt tweezers. This is best done with rubbing alcohol. Then, using the tweezers, grab the tick by the head or mouth. Do not try grabbing the whole body.
- Try not to twist the tick as you are pulling it off. Pull firmly and steadily. Hold the tick tightly but do not crush it. Crushing it will leave the tick’s head embedded in the flesh. This will result in a trip to the veterinarian.
- Do not use alcohol or petroleum jelly to entice the tick to back out. Besides not doing the trick, these things may cause the tick to put more disease-carrying saliva into the wound. (Yuck.)
- Once you’ve removed it, place the tick in alcohol to kill it.
- Clean the wound and apply a small amount of triple antibiotic ointment. Wash your hands thoroughly after the mission is accomplished.
Go over the dog’s body with a comb to be sure there aren’t more freeloaders. Check inside the ears and near the anus very carefully as hidden ticks are more dangerous.
Watch this quick video for more on removing ticks from dogs safely:
Remember, ticks carry disease. To prevent transmitting disease, do not press into the tick.
Sometimes after a tick has been removed, a welt may appear on the skin of your dog. While it may take a week or longer for this to heal, hydrocortisone (affiliate link) will help with the irritation.
Deer ticks are are very small. They often carry Lyme disease. If you suspect a tick to be a deer tick, put it in a plastic storage bag. Be sure that it is sealed completely. Label the bag with your pet’s name, the area that the tick was attached to the dog and the date. Take this to your veterinarian to have it checked.
Tick-related illnesses can take a while to show up, so if you find a tick of any kind on your pet, write down the date of the bite. According to Dog Lover’s Daily Companion, ticks are difficult to kill, so be sure you remove the head and body to prevent your puppy from getting an infection.
A cotton ball soaked in citronella and placed in your vacuum bag will help kill ticks in the house. Meanwhile, the pet med Frontline will help keep ticks from infesting your dog. One drop monthly, between his shoulder blades, should work help keep him tick-free. These preventive medicines for ticks are usually not needed in the winter months.
It is also important to keep yourself checked for ticks. Learning how to remove ticks from dogs safely (and also from humans) could help save a life.
- Vet Medicine: How to remove a tick
- WebMD: Dog ticks and fleas Q&A
- D for Dog: The best way to remove a tick