How to Get a Tick off My Dog
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Ticks are parasitic arachnids belonging to the mite superorder Parasitiformes. Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. These parasites not only cause itching and skin irritation, but also transmit dangerous diseases to dogs. We should protect our dogs with tick repellents such as collars or pipettes, especially during the hottest months, and examine them thoroughly after trips to the fields or rural areas. But even if we take preventive measures, a tick may still attach itself to our dog's skin.
Continue reading this AnimalWised article, where we explain step by step how to get a tick off from your dog.
How to remove a tick from a dog with tweezers
Once the tick is found, it must be removed as soon as possible, because the longer the parasite sticks to the dog's skin, the more likely the infection will be transmitted. Ideally, you should have special tweezers for removing ticks, which you can easily buy in specialized stores or veterinary clinics. If you do not have such tweezers, regular tweezers will do. The pointier, the better. Always wear gloves while handling ticks to avoid contact with your skin.
The steps to safely get a tick off from your dog with tweezers are as follows:
- Place your dog in a position where you can work comfortably and get a good look at the parasite. If needed, ask another person to help you hold the animal.
- Before getting off the tick, use one hand to remove the surrounding hair, leaving the skin exposed.
- Grasp the tick by placing the tweezers as close to the dog's skin as possible. Do not put too much pressure on the parasite, because if you crush it, its saliva could enter the dog's bloodstream. You could also accidentally split the head if you press too hard, which may remain fully or partially inside the animal's skin.
- Once you have a firm grip on the parasite with the tweezers, gently pull it back until it detaches from the skin. While holding the parasite with the tweezers, make sure the parasite is complete and its head is not broken off. Anything left behind could lead to an infection.
- Kill the tick to make sure it can not attach to your dog again. To do this, soak it in alcohol, burn it or wrap it well in paper, crush it and put it in a bag before throwing it away. Never crush them directly with your fingers.
Aftercare and cleaning
After you have pulled out and removed the ticks, you need to carefully heal the small wound they caused on your dog. To do this, wash the area with plenty of soap and water, then apply some Betadine with a gauze bandage. If the skin is irritated or the dog is very itchy, the vet may recommend using a special cream or ointment.
Finally, wash and disinfect your hands well. You must also make sure to clean your tweezers with isopropyl alcohol.
In the following days, it is important that you monitor your dog's behavior. Keep an eye on your dog to determine if they are showing symptoms of a tick-borne disease. Symptoms include arthritis, reluctance to move, swollen joints, fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite and neurological problems. You should also monitor the area where the tick was located to see if infection occurs. If you notice any of these symptoms or signs of infection, contact your veterinarian immediately.
As mentioned earlier, ticks are very dangerous to our dogs and can endanger their lives if not treated. If you want to know more about the different diseases that a dog can get from ticks, read the following article, where we inform you about the most common diseases that ticks cause in dogs.
How to remove a tick from a dog without tweezers
Tweezers are the most effective, fastest and safest method of removing ticks from dogs. However, there are other alternatives that can be useful in some cases, such as when ticks are in hard-to-reach places or when you do not have tweezers handy.
How do you get a tick off from a dog with alcohol?
Soak a gauze or cotton ball with alcohol, place it on the tick and apply gentle pressure for a few minutes. After this time, the parasite will most likely die and detach from the dog. If not, hold the gauze for a few more seconds until the tick can be easily removed. You can also do this with acetone instead of alcohol.
Normally this method kills ticks and other external parasites, but it should not be abused because alcohol damages the skin of the tick so that before it dies it can "vomit" fluids into the animal's blood, transmitting disease. The alcohol can also cause pain and irritation in the dog if it comes in contact with the wound.
Natural methods for tick removal
There are other methods to remove ticks from dogs, using natural products that act as repellents. Remember that these methods are not very effective, and you should use them only if your dog has only one or two ticks. In case of a more severe infestation, you should consult a veterinarian so that a professional can apply the appropriate procedures. Learn how to remove a tick from a dog without tweezers using these methods:
- Chamomile: Make an infusion of chamomile, soak a gauze with it and place it on the tick for a few minutes until it comes off the animal. Chamomile has a repellent, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect, so its application will not negatively affect your dog's skin.
- Lemon: Boil a few cut lemons in a liter of water on low heat for an hour. Then put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray the area of the skin where the tick is located to make it come off. Never use this method if the parasite is near the dog's nose or eyes, as this can cause irritation.
- Oil: Sometimes a few drops of olive oil applied directly to the tick can cause it to "drown" and die, making it easier to remove. However, this method is not always effective.
- Vinegar: Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water and soak a gauze cloth or cotton ball with the liquid. Then press on the tick for a few minutes. Remember that the vinegar will leave an unpleasant odor on the dog's hair, which can be very unpleasant for the animal.
Vinegar is an effective method for eliminating fleas from dogs with mild to moderate infestations. Continue reading this other article to learn how to get rid of fleas on dogs with vinegar.
How to remove a tick from a dog's ear?
It is common for ticks to attach to the ears due to their thin skin. Due to the sensitive nature of the ears, it is not recommended to apply any of the remedies previously mentioned if a tick enters the ear canal. Therefore, to get a tick off from a dog's ear, it is best to use tweezers and follow the previous steps. If you have several ticks or the parasite is in a hard-to-reach place, we recommend you go to the vet so that a professional can remove it.
What to do if the head of the tick remains attached to the dog?
When removing a tick from a dog, always make sure that the parasite you just removed is complete and that no part of the body is still attached to the dog. Pulling too hard, twisting or shaking a tick during removal can result in the head detaching from its body and remaining attached to the dog. In this case, it is possible for the dog to develop a secondary infection characterized by an inflammatory reaction in the area, which can be bothersome and painful.
If the head of the tick has become detached, but you can clearly see that it is stuck in the dog's skin, you can try to remove it with the same tweezers or a sterile needle. If you find this difficult, you can not see the head of the parasite, or it's already lodged in the dog's skin, go to the vet, so they can decide how to proceed. Sometimes the head of the tick comes out by itself after treatment, in other cases it may be necessary to have it removed by a professional.
If you want to know more about ticks and their life expectancy, read the following article where we talk about how long a tick lives, how to prevent them and how to properly disinfect your home.
How can I prevent ticks on my dog?
If the dog has been very exposed to the tick bite, it is also recommended that the veterinarian perform an infectious disease test to rule out the possibility that the parasite may have transmitted a disease.
If you or your pets spend a lot of time outdoors, check for ticks regularly. Ticks can be present throughout the year, but are most active during the warmer months (April-September).
Ticks transmit from host to host, so all family members should be checked after outdoor activities in wooded, leafy, or grassy areas. You can also comb your dog regularly with a flea comb, mow lawns where your dog spends time, wash your pet's bedding weekly, and bathe your pet with a pesticide-free pet shampoo to prevent infections in the future.
Using an over-the-counter spot-on medication, which can be purchased from your veterinarian, a pet store, or online, can be a very effective way to control ticks and fleas. There are also tick collars, dips, and sprays that are designed to kill and prevent ticks. Talk about it with your veterinarian to consider what is the best option according to your dog and lifestyle.
If you want to know more about ticks in dogs and their prevention, please read this other article where we talk about tick diseases in dogs, their most common symptoms and treatment.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
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