Finding a tick on your dog is one of the most stressful things to face as a dog owner. These ticks tend to carry diseases. And just thinking of your furry friend getting sick is enough to make you spiral downward.
Well, you aren't the only one to go through this, and you don't need to feel alone. Today we'll tell you exactly how to remove a tick from a dog's skin.
In this step-by-step guide, we'll walk you through the tick removal process and the dos and don'ts of tick removal. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you'll be an expert tick terminator yourself.
So, sit back and get ready to gear up to win the fight against ticks. This guide will help you maintain the health and well-being of your beloved pet.
Where do Ticks Hide on Dogs?
Ticks can be found all over a dog's body. But mostly, ticks hide near the feet, neck, head, and ears. Sometimes, they can even hide in the spaces between the toes or stick to the area around the dog's anus.
So, checking your dog for ticks everywhere is super important. For that, give them a good look to ensure no ticks are hitching a ride.
Doing this regularly helps keep your dog safe from tick bites and illnesses like Lyme disease that ticks can carry. So, look closely and carefully at your pet's skin. This will help keep your furry pal healthy and happy!
How to Remove a Tick from a Dog?
Here is how you can remove ticks from your dogs:
1) Gather your tools
Having the correct tools is essential for taking out ticks. It's not a good idea to use your hands directly. Instead, use special tools meant for removing ticks.
When getting rid of a tick from your dog, you can use these dog grooming accessories:
Flea or tick comb
Tick removal tools
It's a good plan to have some dog treats ready too. Removing ticks can be a bit uncomfortable for your dog. So giving them treats or dog toys can help. This way, you can check them, remove ticks, and keep them happy.
2) Remove the ticks
Once you've checked your dog's body and found ticks, it's time to take them off. Removing ticks is a simple process.
After getting the right tools and ensuring they're clean, ensure your dog is relaxed and comfortable.
There are two main ways to remove ticks: using tweezers or a tick removal tool.
Many pet owners use tweezers to get rid of ticks. To do this, hold the tick with tweezers as close to your dog's skin as possible. Once you have a good hold, pull the tick straight up without twisting. This should remove the tick from your dog.
Sometimes, a part of the tick might remain attached to your dog even after you've taken off its body. If this happens, use tweezers to remove any leftover tick bits, following the same method.
Using a Tick Remover
Tick removers come in various shapes, resembling tweezers, nail clippers, or small picks. Follow the instructions that come with your specific tick removal tool.
Generally, tick removers work similarly to tweezers. Gently hold your dog and apply the tick removal tool to the skin or fur. Keep it as close to the skin's surface as possible. Slide the tick remover beneath the tick until it's free from your dog.
Pull upward to completely remove the tick from your dog.
3) Clean up
It is recommended to clean the spot where your dog was bitten using soap and water or rubbing alcohol. Although your dog might not initially like it, cleaning their skin is essential for healing.
Remember to clean and sanitize the tools you used to remove the tick as well before storing them away.
Once you've safely taken off the tick from your dog, it's wise to clean any part of your body that came into contact with the tick. This could be your fingers, hands, or arms. Wash these areas thoroughly with soap and water to ensure you remove any traces of the tick or any potential diseases it might have carried.
4) Get rid of the tick
After taking the tick off your dog, it is essential to handle its disposal correctly. Although you might initially think about releasing it, it's better to kill the tick to prevent future infections for you and your dog.
The quickest way to kill a tick safely is by placing it in alcohol. Wait until the tick stops moving before removing it from the alcohol and getting rid of it safely.
Don't try to flush the tick down the toilet, as this might not kill it. Also, avoid squishing the tick with your fingers, as this could expose you to any diseases it could be carrying.
What to Do If the Tick's Head Is Stuck in Your Dog?
If by any chance you find that part of the tick remains on your dog's skin after removing most of the main body, it's likely the head. It's advised not to attempt removing it on your own. Trying to dig it out could raise the risk of a skin infection, and it's not a pleasant experience for your dog.
The best approach is to let your dog's body naturally handle expelling or dissolving the remaining tick part.
Once the main body of the tick is removed, the chances of infection from tick-borne diseases are low. If you want to be extra cautious, you can apply antibiotic ointment to the site as a preventive measure.
What to Look Out for After you Remove a Tick?
Once you remove ticks, keep an eye on your dog to ensure they don't show any signs of tick-related illnesses. Depending on the illness, symptoms could pop up a few days, weeks, or months later.
Here are some common signs of tick-borne diseases. If you see your dog developing any of these signs, it's essential to contact your vet as soon as possible:
- Not eating much
- Swollen or painful joints
- Swollen glands
- Throwing up
- Runny stools
- Seizures (in rare cases)
Make sure when you talk to your vet, let them know you took off a tick from your dog. They might want to see the tick to determine its type and the possible disease it could have given your dog. So, when you take the tick out, take a picture to document it as well.
How to Prevent Ticks?
Even if your location or lifestyle means you can't get ticks, you can still safeguard your pet from ticks and the problems they bring. To stop ticks from biting your furry friend, the smartest thing is to use flea and tick prevention all year round. Prescription treatments work super well and keep your pets safe from these pests for weeks.
You can also find non-prescription products like Frontline Plus or a Seresto collar to prevent fleas and ticks. But before you try anything, make sure to talk to your vet. They'll help you choose the proper tick treatment and prevention for your dog's needs.
You can also defend your property against ticks by using chemicals that you apply regularly to eliminate any ticks found there. Another way is to create boundaries around your place using materials like woodchips or gravel to naturally prevent ticks without using pesticides.
You can even vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease when ticks are prevalent.
To sum up, learning how to take off a tick from your dog is super important if you aim to be a good pet owner.
Ticks carry diseases and can make dogs and people sick, so getting rid of them correctly matters a lot.
Remember, ticks can be anywhere on your dog's body, so check everywhere. Use specific tools like tweezers or tick removers to pull the tick out wholly and gently, and avoid using your hands.
Throwing away the tick correctly is a big deal to avoid more problems. If, by any chance, the head of the tick is left on your dog's skin, and you can't remove a tiny part of the tick, don't worry. Your dog's body will handle it.
Just remember to keep your dog clean and see the vet if needed. Doing all this keeps your dog safe and prevents tick bites.
How to get rid of a tick from a dog without tweezers?
If you don't have tweezers, just use a piece of fishing line, floss, or thread. Put it close to the skin, loop it around the tick's head, and make the loop tight. Then, gently but firmly pull the thread upward
Just like with other ways to take ticks off, you need to make sure the tick's head doesn't break off and that you get the whole tick out.
How long can ticks stay on a dog's skin?
If you don't find ticks on your dog and remove them yourself, they stick around in your dog's fur until they're done eating and fall off by themselves.
It usually takes them a few days to feed, but it can go on for up to two weeks.
What happens if your dog eats a tick?
A tick bite can make your dog's skin itch, so there's a chance it might swallow a tick while scratching the spot. But there is no need to stress.
If your dog swallows a tick, it might throw up, but it won't catch a sickness from the tick. The stomach lining will keep your furry friend safe.