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.
- 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.