Parasites are pests that feed off of host animals, and ticks are some of the worst. They attach to your pet by inserting their mouth parts into his skin. That's why it's so important to learn how to remove a tick from a dog – so you don't leave the mouth parts behind.
While feeding on your dog's blood ticks can pass a number of very dangerous diseases on to your pet. Some of the most common include:
- Lyme Disease
- Canine Anaplasmosis
- Tularemia (also known as Rabbit Fever)
- Tick paralysis
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
Ticks are most prevalent in the Eastern part of the United States, mainly the area east of the Rocky Mountains. They are also found in limited areas on the west coast. These pests are attracted to warmth and motion, making dogs a great target.
They live in tall plants or grass in and around wooded areas. Therefore, the more rural that the area you live in is, the more at risk your dog is of contracting a tick. Even if you live in area where ticks are not common, you should still know the basics of how to remove a tick from a dog and what to do after the tick has been removed.
There are several preventatives for ticks. I've done an extensive comparison of the three best tick treatments for dogs and how they work, which I recommend taking a look at.
If you live in area where ticks are common, it is best to check your dog daily, especially if he spends a lot of time outdoors. Ticks generally attach themselves to areas of the canine body where there is little to no hair, although that isn't always the case. Be sure to look in around your dog's ears, between his toes, on his face and belly, between skin folds, and around the area where his back legs meet his body.
How To Remove A Tick From A Dog
As I explain in the video guide above, you'll need to have certain supplies on hand to prevent ticks, such as a tick collar for dogs, as well as something to learn how to remove a tick from a dog. It is wise to keep these supplies in your canine first aid kit or in a small kit of their own. That way you won't have to hunt for them if your dog ever has a tick.
- latex gloves
- tweezers or a tick remover for dogs
- rubbing alcohol
- resealable plastic bag
- container with an airtight lid
- antiseptic spray or wipe
Once you have all the supplies gathered, it's time to remove the tick. I recommend using a tick grabber, as they are designed to remove the entire tick (including the mouth piece). You can use tweezers, but the risk of ripping off the body and leaving the mouth piece embedded in the skin is greater when using them.
Before you begin put on your gloves. Since my dog didn't actually have a tick on her, I didn't wear gloves in my video. However, when you're dealing with real ticks it is important to protect yourself from any diseases they may be carrying by wearing gloves.
In the video review above I demonstrate how to pull a tick off of a dog. You need to get the tweezers or tick remover as close to the skin as possible. To do this, pull the skin tight. I used a tick remover, so that's the term I'll use for the purpose of this article.
Place the grabber around the tick as close to your dog's skin as possible. Close the grabber and pull the tick straight out. DO NOT twist as you pull, or you will likely separate the body from the mouth piece. You also need to be sure to use gentle pressure, so you don't crush the ticks body.
Put the tick directly into the resealable bag or airtight container. Do not touch the tick with your hands. Add a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the bag or container. You can also do this before removing the tick if you choose (that's what I did in my video guide).
If you notice that your dog is acting strangely or see any signs of swelling or a rash near the tick bite, you'll need to bring your dog and the tick into your vet's office for testing.
Once the tick is safely stored in the bag or container, clean the bite site with the antiseptic spray or wipe. You'll need to monitor the site daily for 3 weeks. You may notice a bit of redness around the bite for the first few days, but it should slowly go away. The bite site may also scab over, which is completely normal.
You should also keep an eye on your dog for the next 2 months to make sure they don't show any signs of tick-spread disease. Look for:
- swollen lymph nodes
- reluctance to move
- loss of appetite
…or any other strange behavior. If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your vet right away. If you still have the tick, be sure to bring it with you to your appointment.
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