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Removing Ticks from Dogs

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Authored by Crystal Crowder in Dogs 
Published on 10-08-2009

Spring and summer are well known for tick bites on dogs. Removing a tick properly is extremely important. Simply pulling the tick off can leave the mouth still attached, which prevents the wound from healing properly. No matter how much you try to prevent a tick from biting your dog, odds are any outdoor dog will receive at least one bite in its lifetime.

Consider purchasing a tick removal device or a pair of tweezers. Tick removal devices can be found in pet stores and resemble a pair of tweezers with grips on the sides. If you don’t have either of these, you may also use your fingers. Please note that you should use gloves or wash your hands immediately after removing the tick to prevent spreading bacteria and possible disease. If you have any open wounds on your hands, use gloves.

Place your fingers or tweezers as close as possible to the head of the tick. Grasping the tick by the body often results in leaving the tick’s head attached. You may need to ask a friend or relative to help hold back the dog’s hair if you have a long haired breed. Ensure you have a firm grip before continuing.

Pull straight outward, slowly. Don’t jerk or twist the tick. If you need to reposition in order to remove the tick, do so. Twisting will only aggravate the bite and make the wound worse. Don’t squeeze the tick as you pull. This is probably the hardest part. Keep your fingers or tweezers on the head to prevent accidentally squeezing the body. Squeezing can release bacteria from the tick into your dog’s bite. Don’t try to use a chemical or any other product to remove the tick as this will worsen the bite.

Kill the tick immediately after removal. They may be killed in one of two ways. The first method requires a small cup of rubbing alcohol. Place the tick in the cup. Pour the cup of alcohol down the sink or toilet after the tick dies. The second method requires a fire proof plate and a lighter. This method is mainly for small ticks and not swollen ticks. Place the tick on the plate and burn it with the flame from the lighter until you hear a pop.

Clean the wound on your dog with any type of skin disinfectant. Rubbing alcohol is often used. You may also use antibiotic ointment to aid in the healing process and to prevent itching.

Take steps to prevent future tick bites. Many flea medications you purchase from your veterinarian, online pet stores and many department and pet stores also repel ticks. Read the packaging to determine which types of ticks are repelled. Sprays, drops, shampoos and pills are available to help prevent fleas and ticks on your dog.

Remove ticks as soon as you see them on your dog. Be sure to remove them correctly and to clean both your hands and the wound immediately after removing and killing the tick. Take steps to prevent future ticks as soon as the current one has been removed. This will keep both you and your dog happy and healthy.

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