How to Remove a Tick from a Dog
By Mary Casey
Your dog comes in from a romp in the woods and settles down on your lap for a belly rub when you feel gasp a bump on your dog’s soft fur. When you look closer you find the bane of many a dog and dog owner’s life the tick.
Male brown dog ticks and nonengorged female ticks are flat and brown. Deer ticks are tiny; you can barely see them if they haven’t had their ‘drink’ yet. As the female ticks fill up on your dog’s blood they start to look like gray beans about a quarter inch long. They have four small legs on each side near their mouth. The deer tick is know to carry Lyme disease and can be harder to find than the dog tick because it is so small.
How do you safely remove the tick? First you need the right tools, then you need a steady hand. First, get yourself a fine-tipped tweezers or you can use one of the new tick removal instruments they sell at your local pet supply superstore. The new instruments let you remove the tick without squeezing the tick’s body so you don’t introduce harmful bacteria from the tick into your dog’s bloodstream.
1. First, grab the tick by the head or the mouth parts right where they enter the skin. This can be hard if the tick isn’t engorged with blood. Don’t grab the tick by the body.
2. Now you have a firm hold on the tick’s head. Pull firmly back and out in a straight motion. Don’t twist the tick as you are pulling it out.
3. Look at the ugly thing wriggling around in your tweezers. Then stick it in a jar of alcohol to kill it. Ticks don’t die when you flush them down the toilet.
4. Just in case some bacteria were released during the tick removal, dab your dog’s skin with a disinfectant ointment.
5. Wash your hands too.
Some old wive’s tales about tick removal are not effective, and can be dangerous. Do not burn the tick with a hot match, you could burn your dog, or you. Sticking petroleum jelly on the tick, or dabbing it with alcohol won’t work either. You need to pull out the tick with the tweezers.
What happens if part of the tick’s head stays in your dog? Don’t panic. Your dog’s skin will inflame and break the pieces with time. Sometimes your dog’s skin will react after you pull out a tick because the tick’s saliva can be irritating to the dog. You may notice swelling or even a scar with a hairless area after you remove the tick. You could use some hydrocortisone cream to help if the skin looks really irritated, but it will calm down naturally, with time.
Of course, the best thing to do is prevent ticks from biting your dog in the first place. Use anti- tick medicine as prescribed by your vet and keep your dog out of high grasses and leaves. Remember, you need the right tools and a steady hand to win the war against the tick.
Important: Please consult your own vet or pet professional before using any advice!
Mary Casey is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Writers.
This article has been submitted in affiliation with http://www.PetLovers.Com/ which is a site for Pet Forums.
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