Tick Infestations in Dogs: How to Remove Ticks Safely from Your Dog
There are many tips out there to sort through for the removal of ticks from your dog. An attached tick can easily transmit diseases from one animal to another. The biggest concern is Lyme disease, so when removing ticks you need to be careful how you go about it.
What Not to Do
Using petroleum jelly, fingernail polish remover, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, or other such substances to smother the tick will not reduce the chances of infection or disease. A tick that is coated or smothered still has enough oxygen to live long enough to continue what he is designed to do, feed. It is during this feeding that the transmission of diseases and possible infections can occur. More drastic measures like burning the tick or killing it in some way can actually increase the chances of more fluids being released into the host of the tick parasite.
What You Should Do
The proper way to remove a tick is fairly simple but will require some patience. You will need some rubbing alcohol, gloves, and tweezers for the process. Wear gloves to protect your hands from coming in contact with any fluids that may cause disease. With the tweezers you will want to grab the tick by the head or mouth right near the entrance point of the skin. You may have to spread the dog's fur or hair to get a better visual. Without jerking the tick, pull firmly outward and be sure not to twist while pulling outward. You want to pull out as straight as possible. You may find it easier to remove the tick from the side rather than straight from the top. If the tick doesn't seem to budge try a gentle side-to-side motion. This is where the need for patience comes in. Be gentle but also be as firm as possible. After removing the tick place it in a jar of alcohol to kill it and prevent it from jumping up to bite again. Ticks are not killed by flushing and you do not want to squash them for this can cause you to come in contact with possible diseases. Once an embedded tick is removed, it is not uncommon for the area it was attached to become irritated or red. There may even be a welt that might take two weeks to completely heal. Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant and check the dog for other infestations around the head, neck, and ears. If there are a number of ticks you may want to use a flea and tick shampoo. An all natural non-toxic pet shampoo called Defendex is a good choice to wash away fleas and ticks, while keeping your pet safe from harmful side effects. Be sure to wash hands thoroughly after handling ticks.
Lyme disease, as mentioned previously, is probably the biggest concern when it comes to ticks. It is a bacterial infection that is carried by a few different types of ticks and is more concentrated in certain parts of the country. New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Minnesota and California are states that are endemic for Lyme disease. If you do have to face a tick infestation problem, don't be scared. Take action, follow these instructions with care, and you should have you and your pet infestation free in no time.
Photo Credit: mplonsky