6 Easy Steps for Removing a Tick from a Dog in Canton, GA
If you spot a tick on your dog, it’s crucial to remove it as fast as possible. The sooner you remove ticks from your dog, the less likely they will be to spread disease. However, removing a tick from a dog can be challenging, especially if you’ve never done it before.
In this article, you’ll find out some basic steps to help you remove ticks from your dog. Brush up on this information so you can respond quickly and effectively if you see a tick buried up on your dog’s skin.
1. Gather Your Equipment
First, you’ll need to get all your equipment within arm’s reach. Gather some tweezers, soap, water, a washcloth, rubbing alcohol, and cotton balls. You might also choose to bring a chew toy, or some treats to distract your dog while you work.
If your dog is very nervous or has a lot of trouble sitting still, you might also need to get some assistance. Another capable adult or an older teenager should be able to help you distract and hold your dog still while you manage the removal of the tick.
2. Use Fine Tweezers
Be sure you use fine tweezers when removing the tick instead of blunt ones. If you have tweezers intended for plucking nose hairs, for example, these are probably blunt. You should look for first aid tweezers instead of personal hygiene tweezers, as these will be more likely to be the type you need.
Tweezers should be used to grasp the body of the tick. The body may be partially buried up along with the mouthparts, or it may still be sitting on top of the skin. Either way, you’ll need to grip it, and you may pinch your dog’s skin in the process, so be prepared for a nervous pup.
3. Pull Straight Up
Once you have a good grip on the tick’s body, you’ll need to use the tweezers to pull straight up. Make sure you don’t pull at an angle, as this may cause the tick’s mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. The mouthparts can continue biting and spreading disease, so you must be careful to fully remove them.
Pulling straight up causes the mouthparts to disengage from the skin and makes it easier to get the whole tick out on the first pass. Double-check afterward to be sure nothing is left behind.
4. Clean the Bite
After you’re sure the tick has been removed fully, including the mouthparts, make sure to clean the bite thoroughly. First, wash it with a little soap and water. Then follow this up by cleaning it with rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball.
Your dog may not like the feeling of rubbing alcohol on the bite, but this will help fully disinfect the bite and prevent the spread of disease as much as possible.
5. Wash Your Hands
After handling a tick, you must always wash your own hands. Be sure you’re finished treating your dog before you do this. Wash your hands with hot water and plenty of soap to remove any risk of disease being spread to you from the tick. This step is for your safety as well as for your dog’s.
During this step, you should also fully dispose of the tick. Don’t crush it, as this can spread disease to you or anyone else who touches it. Instead, throw the tick in the toilet and flush it. If you prefer not to do this, you can also put the tick in a plastic baggie and seal it shut before throwing it away.
6. Monitor Your Dog
Finally, monitor your dog for any signs of illness. If the tick had been buried up on your dog for a long time and had become engorged, it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and book a vet appointment for a full checkup. If you removed the tick fairly quickly, however, you can just watch and wait to see how your dog does.
If you notice any signs that your dog may be sick or in pain, it’s time to head to the veterinarian as well.
Call Your Riverstone Animal Hospital Vet with Any Concerns
By following these steps, you can more easily treat and care for your dog following a tick bite. If you can retrieve the tick and you’re concerned it might be the type of tick that carries Lyme disease, contact your regular Riverstone Animal Hospital vet for an appointment right away by calling (770) 479-7141 or using the online form. You can then bring the tick and your dog for a full examination.
If the tick has not buried up on your dog’s skin yet, you don’t have to worry about the risk of disease. Ticks can only spread disease after they break the skin, so if it’s just crawling around, your dog is not at risk—but you still need to remove the tick.