How to Find and Remove Ticks from Your Pet

Ticks are small bugs that can cause serious problems for your dog.

No matter where you live, check your pet for ticks every day if they’ve been in a grassy or wooded area. While these pests are more common in some areas of the country, such as the Northeast, they can be found in every state in the continental United States.

Ticks feed on blood. When one of them bites your dog, infections like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever can be spread. Both can result in stiffness, joint discomfort, and other health issues.

In order for a tick to infect an animal, it must feed for 3 to 24 hours. However, if you know where to look for them and how to get rid of them quickly, you can reduce the odds of your dog being sick. You can also prevent them from bringing one of these insects into your home, where it could attach to you and make you sick.

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How to Remove One

  1. Check them before going inside, or just inside the door, to reduce the chance of a tick entering your home.
  2. Use your fingers to comb through their fur. Gently press the skin to feel for any bumps. Ticks can range in size from a pinhead to a grape. Check their feet (particularly between their toes), their ears, and the area around their face and neck.
  3. Part your dog’s fur so you can view their skin if you notice a bump. Look for a bug that is black, brown, or grayish-brown in color. You may simply observe the tick’s body, or you may also notice its legs.
  1. Grab the tick with tweezers as close to your dog’s skin as possible and pull upward. Remove it in a single motion if possible. Jerking might cause a piece of your pet’s body to break off and become stuck in his or her skin.

Put the “forked” part of a tick removal instrument under the bug, near to the skin, if you have one. Pulling straight out isn’t a good idea. This, too, can result in a break, leaving a piece of the bug behind. Instead, turn the tool many times in a clockwise direction. Your dog will be free of the tick.

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  1. Place the tick in a glass jar, plastic bag, or other container that can be closed. Add a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol to the mixture. The bug will be killed by the alcohol. Keep the container in the fridge for a few weeks. Take the tick to your veterinarian if your dog appears to be sick. They’ll look at it to see what sort it is, which will help them determine if it caused your pet to become ill.
  2. Apply antiseptic to the bite and the area around it, or dab it with antibiotic ointment. Alcohol should be used to clean the tweezers or instrument, as well as your hands.
  3. Throughout the next two weeks, keep a close eye on the bite area. If it becomes inflamed or infected, contact your veterinarian. Make an appointment with your veterinarian and bring the tick with you if your dog appears tired, has problems walking, or doesn’t eat or drink as much as usual.

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If You Aren’t Sure You Can Remove a Tick

Make an appointment with your veterinarian. You can bring your dog in and they will remove it for you, or a vet tech will. They can also show how to remove the next one so you can do it yourself.

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