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How to Remove a Tick

Take Those Pests Off Your Pet

By Madeleine Burry. January 01, 2011 | See Comments

How to Remove a Tick

Removing a tick from your dog is easy with these simple, but important, guidelines.

If you spot a tick on your pet, remove it carefully and promptly to avoid spreading disease.

What You'll Need

  • Tweezers or a tick removal device
  • Latex  or rubber gloves – wearing gloves will help prevent you from getting any tick-borne illnesses yourself.
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • A helper – grab a friend to assist you holding your cat or dog steady.

Steps for Removing a Tick

  • Have your helper hold the animal steady to prevent your pet from squirming.

  • Use a cotton ball or tissue to place rubbing alcohol around the tick bite area.

  • Put on gloves, and use either a tick removal device or tweezers to grasp the tick firmly by its head. Aim to get as close as possible to your pet's skin, without pinching the skin itself.

  • Pull the tick away from the skin in a slow, upward movement. Avoid crushing the tick’s body, since that can lead to bacteria getting inside the puncture wound.

  • If you were unable to remove the entire tick apply a warm compress to get the mouth out. Do not use tweezers to dig it out; just leave it in place if the compress does not draw it out.

  • Apply rubbing alcohol over the area again.

  • Place the tick in a small jar with rubbing alcohol or on a piece of tape. However you store the tick, label the date clearly, in case symptoms occur in the future.

  • Wash your hands.

  • Sterilize the tweezers with rubbing alcohol or by running them through a flame.

 

What Not to Do

Ignore email forwards and various old wives’ tales recommending other methods of removing ticks. Some popular, but ill-advised, suggestions include drowning ticks with dish soap or Vaseline, or using a match to burn off ticks. It’s quite likely that drowning or burning ticks will actually cause more saliva to go inside the bite area, increasing the likelihood of an infection.

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