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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Dr. Michael Dym
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How to Remove a Tick from a Dog

When it comes to ticks, you can never be too careful. Ticks are one of the most dangerous animals that can come into contact from our pets because they carry diseases that can be transmitted to your pet through feeding. The American dog tick, black-legged tick, lone star tick, and brown dog tick are among the many ticks across the U.S. that like to feed off of mammals like dogs. Unfortunately, these ticks can carry deadly diseases including lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, powassan virus disease, borrelia miyamotoi disease, Borrelia mayonii disease, rocky mountain spotted fever, and tularemia. That's why using Flea and Tick preventatives and constantly checking your dog for ticks is so vital to their health.

If or when you do find a tick, it's very important not only to get it off as soon as possible, but to safely remove it so as not to increase the chance of deadly pathogens being transferred into your pet's body.There are many tick removal myths like using petroleum jelly, burning or freezing the ticks off, or using nail polish removal; however, the best method of safely removing ticks from your pet's body includes using tweezers.

Step 1: Protect yourself

Make sure to put on gloves to protect yourself. The tick's infectious agents can get into a human's bloodstream through tiny breaks in the skin. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Step 2: Secure your pet

It's important to keep your pet still and calm when removing the tick. If possible, have someone help hold your pet to keep your pet relaxed and steady.

Step 3: Grab the tick

Using the tweezers, grip the tick as close to your pet's skin as possible without pinching your dog's skin. Try not to squeeze the tick with the tweezers, doing so may cause the fluids inside the tick to enter your pet's body, increasing the risk of infection.

Grab the tick

Step 4: Remove & kill the tick

In one motion, pull the tick straight out. Don't twist or wriggle it out because it can cause the tick's head and mouth part to detach. As soon as you remove the tick, drop it into a container with rubbing alcohol to kill it. Keep it in a container with a lid until you're sure your pet has not been infected. If your pet starts displaying symptoms of disease, your vet can test the tick and see if it is carrying a disease.

Note: If the head and mouth part do detach, DO NOT try and fish it out with the tweezers or your fingers. That will only cause more damage to your pet. Instead, let nature take its course. Your pet's body will treat it as a splinter and expel the remains. It will fall out on its own in a few days' time.

Remove the tick

Step 5: Clean the bite

After safely removing and killing the tick, disinfect the site of the bite with antiseptic spray or wipes. Contact your veterinarian if the bite becomes inflamed or remains red.

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