If you want to learn how to remove a tick from your dog, make sure you follow the instructions carefully. Ticks are small, parasitic insects that live in woodsy or grassy areas. You can probably find them in any of the top forest trails in Plano, like Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.
They populate anywhere they can find an animal (or human) to attach to. This includes parks, woods, grassy backyards, hiking trails, and the list goes on.
Image source: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/texas/arbor-hills-nature-preserve-outer-loop
The vast habitable areas of ticks make them difficult to avoid, especially for our dogs. While it’s common to pick up ticks, there’s a misconception that ticks grip on with super-human strength, spreading diseases the moment they take a bite out of your dog. Fortunately for pet owners everywhere, that’s not often the case. Read on to learn how to remove a tick from your dog or make an appointment to see one of our pet groomers in Plano TX.
Did you know there are two types of tick in Plano? Lone Star Ticks and Deer Ticks. The image above is a Deer Tick aka Black Legged Tick.
The Do’s and Don’ts.
Before you begin tick-pulling, there are a few quick pieces of information you should know. Most importantly, removing ticks from your dog must be done slowly and with care. Vicious yanks or twists can pop a bloated tick or separate its body from its head, neither of which you want.
So, go slowly and gradually as you pull ticks free. Be sure to wear gloves during the process to protect yourself from the diseases ticks often carry. Have antiseptic balm on hand to apply to your dog’s skin after removing the tick. You might also want someone to hold your dog during the removal process, as having a still dog will make safe tick removal much easier.
Method 1: Tweezers
Tweezers aren’t the ideal way to pry loose a tick, but if time is of the essence, they can certainly get the job done. If you can, be sure to use a pointed pair of tweezers, as the slant-ended tweezers can put too much pressure on the tick’s body and cause it to burst.
Before you can start tweezing, you first need to find any and all ticks. Run your fingers through your dog’s fur, feeling for any bumps. Be especially thorough around their paws, between their toes, around their face, inside their ears, and their legs. You may have to go slow, as some of the tiniest ticks are only the size of a pinhead. They’ll be tricker to feel since their size decreases, but the smaller Deer Ticks are one of the most toxic.
Once you find a tick,
- Separate and push down the fur around it. This is so you can better see what you’re doing, and to help you get a fur-less grip on it.
- Pinch the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible, without pinching the skin.
- With a solid grip, pull up in a slow and steady motion until the tick pops free.
If the tick is engorged and difficult to grip, a pointed tweezer will help you get down to the smallest part of them, right by their mouth. Pinching here helps you keep a firm grip without risking a burst. After the tick comes out, double-check that you got it all. Make sure that their barbed mouth is still attached to the head and not buried in your dog’s skin.
Lone Star Tick
Method 2: A Tick Tool
Pet stores and other online or in-person retailers sell special tools to remove ticks safely. This eliminates the potential for popping a bloated tick, or anything else unpleasant that comes with the pinch-and-pull tweezer removal. Because of that, special tick tools are the best method of removal.
The tools themselves look like the pronged hook end of a hammer. Different styles are available, but the pronged twist version is popular. It’s a good idea to buy a multi-pack of these tools–one to keep in your car, one in your house, and another in your purse or bag. The key to reducing disease transmission with tick bites is prompt removal, so having a tool on hand at all times is essential.
Here’s how to use one of these tools:
- Separate your dog’s fur and expose the tick.
- Slide the tool beneath the tick, pushing it gently until it can slide into the notch no further.
- Lift slightly and begin to rotate the tool. After two or three revolutions, the tick should pop free.
Check to make sure all of the tick came out. With it free, you can humanely kill it by submerging it in isopropyl alcohol. Veterinarians also recommend snapping a picture of the tick before you dispose of it. If your dog does start to seem ill in the following days, they’ll want to see the tick that bit them.
What to do if the head doesn’t come out
If the mouth doesn’t come out of your dog, don’t panic. Don’t go burrowing for it either, as this just heightens the risk for infections. Instead, you can bring your dog to the vet or allow nature to take its course. Antibacterial ointment spread over the wound helps keep infections at bay while your dog’s body goes through its natural healing course.
The risk of further infection from the mouth is low, and as long as you keep the area clean, your dog’s body should safely and naturally expel the foreign object as it would a splinter. Though it’s not ideal, having the mouth of a tick stuck in your dog’s skin is not cause for panic.
Regularly applying tick ointment to your dog, and all of your pets is the best way to keep ticks from latching on in the first place. Regardless of where you live, a tick ointment is a good idea. Most are dual-purposed because they stave off fleas, too!
If you’re unsure about how to remove a tick from a dog you can always call us at Hound Therapy for some sound advice to bring your dog in and see one of our dog groomers.