Finding and removing ticks is very important, but don’t treat the last step of the process -- disposing of the tick -- casually. Ticks are extremely hardy survivors: crushing them between your fingers generally has no impact, and somewhat incredibly, ticks have even been found to survive a spin in a washing machine through hot water. Throwing a tick in the garbage isn’t a good strategy since ticks are strong crawlers and could travel to freedom.
Destroying the tick is quite important, since it ensures that it will not be able to bite you, or your pet, again. Below are some safe and recommended ways to dispose of a tick:
- Flush Them: Flushing ticks down the toilet will thoroughly destroy them. Just check carefully to make certain the tick is flushed, and is not stuck to the side of the bowl.
- Alcohol: You can submerge the tick in alcohol -- doing this will drown and destroy the tick. The advantage to using alcohol is that it also will preserve the tick. If any symptoms develop in the future, having the tick’s body on hand to show to a doctor will be handy. After drowning the tick in alcohol, just place it in a sealed plastic container or plastic Ziploc bag for preservation.
- Garbage: Do not throw ticks directly into the garbage, since they are intensely resilient and good crawlers -- a tick could escape from the garbage and be free in the house to find potential hosts. If you are going to put a tick into the garbage, place it within a securely closed plastic bag first. You can seal the bag with tape for an extra secure fastening.
Saving the tick for identification will allow you to show the tick to your doctor or veterinarian if symptoms of Lyme's disease develop. If you save the tick, note the date of the tick bite as well.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.