How Do I Safely Remove a Tick from My Dog?

Skylar Dial
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How to Spot a Tick on Your Dog

Since dog ticks are flat and very small, spotting them quickly can be a bit challenging. The general rule is to walk the dog from head to tail and check the ears and the posterior. To make the experience easier for you, it’s also a good idea to run your hand from head to tail as you walk the dog, so that you become accustomed to feeling for ticks in the fur.

The best time to check for ticks is when you’ve taken off your dog’s field of vision and he isn’t allowed to go in this high pitched frenzy of activity. This is the best way to keep the distractions at bay and it also ensures that he’s calm. Attaching a long leash to an immovable object like a tree or a concrete pole helps keep your dog in one spot and make it easier to check.

Steps to Safely Remove a Tick from Your Dog

What Happens If the Tick’s Head Stays In?

First, you must identify the type of tick. Deer ticks are most commonly found in the eastern part of the United States, while lone star ticks are prevalent on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

To remove a deer tick, first remove it with tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Dip the tweezers in rubbing alcohol to disinfect it. Wipe the area with an antimicrobial ointment and bandage it.

To remove a lone star tick, coat it with a silicone based spray so the tick will release its hold on the skin. Then, use tweezers to remove the tick as close to the skin as possible.

If the tick’s head stays in the skin, it may cause an infection, but the dog will not die. However, dogs don’t react to the tick-borne illness the same way humans do. Humans develop symptoms because of the tick’s saliva, while dogs develop symptoms due to the part of the tick that burrows into their skin. Dogs rarely have severe reactions to tick bites. Signs can include lethargy and a fever, although it can take a few weeks for signs of an infection to appear. If signs occur, it’s best to take your dog to your veterinarian for monitoring. He or she can prescribe antibiotics if necessary.

Prevent Future Tick Bites

Ticks that are feeding on your dog can cause a multitude of problems if not dealt with safely. The health problems can vary from minor to major and from local to systemic. The best place to locate the ticks for the removal process is on the ears and in the hindquarters of your dog.

The dangers associated with tick removal are related to incorrectly disposing of ticks. If the tick is not immediately killed, it can continue to secrete saliva and neurotoxins that can be transmitted to your dog or even to humans when the tick is accidentally crushed or manipulated.

There are risks associated with improperly removing a tick. An incorrectly removed tick can continue to secrete saliva and neurotoxins into your dog's body. It is essential to promptly remove a tick from your dog using a safe and proper technique to avoid the risks. The most important time to check for ticks is after a walk or a hike as ticks will be more likely to grab hold of your dog.

It is important to be pro-active in removing ticks that are feeding on your dog. These ticks can cause a variety of problems, such as:

Do not crush or squeeze the ticks body as this will cause the tick to release the saliva and neurotoxins that it may have injected in your dog.