Are Ticks Feeding on Your Dog?
Frolic through the woods with your furry friend lately? You better check him for ticks.
Ticks commonly live in tall grasses and densely wooded areas, and jump onto dogs that walk through their home. A tick feeds on your dog by drinking his blood and can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, which it can then transfer to your pet within 24 to 48 hours of attaching itself to its host.
If you notice a tick on your dog, use these tips to remove it as quickly as possible.
Grab a tool for tick removal
First, find something you can use to remove the tick. A pair of tweezers works well. You can also buy a tick remover tool at pet stores for about $5.
You also need a pair of gloves to protect yourself from catching any diseases the tick may transmit.
Fill a small container with rubbing alcohol to keep nearby. Dropping the tick in quickly kills it, whereas flushing it does not.
Keep antiseptic nearby to use on your pet after tick removal.
Find a helper to remove a tick
While you're trying to get rid of the tick, your dog might squirm. If you can, grab a friend to help hold your pet still.
Remove the tick
Tick removal tools come with different instructions, depending on their design. When using tweezers, gently grab onto the tick as close to the dog’s skin as you can, and pull straight upward, applying steady pressure.
Don’t squeeze the tick, because its bodily fluids, which may contain bacteria, can spill out and infect you or your pet. Be sure that you also don’t twist the tick or tear it away too quickly, or its mouth could remain embedded in your pet’s skin.
Clean up the remains
If the tick's mouth parts get stuck in your pet, don’t panic. As long as the area isn’t red or inflamed, don’t try to force them out. Digging at your dog with the tweezers will only hurt him and increase the potential for infection.
Disinfect the area and put a warm compress over it to help expel the tick’s remains. Once you’ve removed the tick, drop it in the jar with alcohol and keep it until the tick bite heals.
Wash your hands with soap and water to get rid of any potentially harmful organisms from the tick.
Keep an eye out
Make sure to watch your pet for the next few weeks — both at the bite site and how the dog behaves. If anything seems off, take your pet to the veterinarian to have him checked. Take the tick with you for the vet to evaluate.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally published on June 23, 2014.