Ticks can climb to the ends of grass blades or the edges of leaves and crawl or drop onto animals as they brush past. If you find one tick on your dog, there may be more of them hiding in various places on your dog's body. Prompt removal is necessary. Ticks can carry a variety of diseases which they can spread to their host, but usually the tick must be on the host for awhile before a disease can be transmitted. Among the diseases ticks can carry are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and canine babesiosis. In order to be carrying a disease, a tick must have picked it up from another host.
Place a small amount of rubbing alcohol into a small screw-top container or a Ziploc bag. You'll place ticks in this as you pull them off your dog. After removal, the tick can be stored in the container. Keep the ticks you pull off the dog for a couple of weeks, in case your dog becomes ill. If illness occurs, tick identification may be necessary.
Put gloves on. Direct contact with an infected tick can spread disease. Part your dog's hair to see the tick clearly. Move the tick to one side to view the legs at the attachment site. If the object you think is a tick doesn't have legs, it is not a tick. A tick is usually brown or grey.
Treat the bite area with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. Slide the tick remover under the tick to the end of the notch, or squeeze the tweezers almost closed and place the tip between the tick and the skin. Pull the tick straight up with a steady motion. Pulling too quickly or twisting can break off the tick's mouth part and leave it in the dog's skin. If this happens, do not try to remove the mouth part.
Place the tick in the alcohol container. Thoroughly disinfect the skin with rubbing alcohol again. Disinfect the tick removal tool or tweezers with rubbing alcohol. Monitor the tick-bite area and the dog for the next few weeks to detect possible infection or illness.
Remove tall weeds and brush from areas around your home to avoid harboring ticks. Remove leaf litter and move wood piles far from your yard. If ticks still live around your house, have a professional pest expert apply a pesticide. Check your dogs for ticks after they've been in the woods or long grass. Use fencing to prevent stray animals from entering your yard.
Do not squeeze or crush a tick; doing so can spread infectious organisms.
If the tick area becomes red or inflamed, take your pet to the veterinarian.
Keep your dog out of long grass and brush.
Check animals for parasites before allowing them into your house.
Medications or collars prescribed by your veterinarian may help prevent ticks from biting dogs.
Items You Will Need
- Tweezers or tick removal tool
- Rubbing alcohol
- Small container or Ziploc bag
- Cotton balls
- Rubber gloves
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Stop Ticks
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: How to Remove a Tick From Your Pet
- Illinois Department of Public Health: Common Ticks
- Animal Medical Hospital: Tick Removal
- United States Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine: Tick Control Around the Home
- Tick crawling on grass. image by blindfire from Fotolia.com