Ticks are creepy. They’re also a reality of life in the summertime, especially if you have pets. But while they may look like demons sent from the pit of hell to ruin your barbecue, ticks are actually pretty easily dealt with—and totally harmless if removed correctly. So take a deep breath, and let me walk you through how to remove a tick from your dog (or yourself) without losing your mind or hurting anyone in the process.
There are many myths about ticks; you may have heard that they can transmit disease, or that they’re a sign of something more serious. But the truth is that ticks are not dangerous; in fact, most of them are harmless and will be removed by your dog himself. The only time you should worry about a tick is if it’s attached for longer than 24 hours and your dog becomes severely ill as a result. For most dogs, ticks aren’t much more than an annoyance—and luckily for us, removing them isn’t difficult at all!
Don’t Burn It Off
It’s tempting to grab a match and torch that tick, but don’t do it! If you do, the tick will release its saliva into your dog’s bloodstream and your pooch could end up with an infection or worse. The best way to remove a tick from a pet is by using tweezers. However, if you accidentally burn one off (or if it falls off), there are ways to treat an animal for ticks without putting your little pal through too much pain or discomfort.
Don’t Kill It with Petroleum Jelly, Alcohol, or Nail Polish Remover
Please don’t use petroleum jelly, alcohol or nail polish remover to remove ticks. These methods can cause a tick to release more saliva into your dog’s skin, which can cause irritation and even infection. Some ticks carry diseases that are transmissible to humans (and vice versa), so it’s important that you remove them properly by following the steps below.
Just Pull It Out
The best way to remove a tick is with tweezers.
- Use your hands to grab the tick’s body as close to the skin as possible and pull it straight out.
- If you’re worried about getting too close, use a tick key (like this one) or some other kind of tool that can help you get the job done without endangering yourself or your dog.
You can also use a tick remover, which looks similar to tweezers but has a curved tip specifically designed for removing ticks from their hiding spots under fur and skin. These tools are usually equipped with lighted tips so you can see exactly what’s going on when removing the unwanted parasite from your pet’s body. Some brands may even come with magnifying glasses so there are no worries about missing any parasites during removal!
If You Have One Dog, Ask a Friend to Help You Tick-Proof Your Home and Yard
If you have one dog, ask a friend to help you tick-proof your home and yard. Ticks are a problem for dogs and their owners. They’re also a problem for people who are allergic to them, or who get bitten by ticks themselves.
If you have two or more dogs in the yard, then there’s another thing to consider: ticks can easily jump from one dog onto another when they’re out playing together. When they do so, they spread diseases such as Lyme disease that may affect both animals’ health—even if one doesn’t seem bothered by them at first glance!
Removing ticks can be done easily and safely
No matter what removal method you choose, remember that ticks are not known to carry diseases that can infect humans. But if you are concerned, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian. The general consensus among tick experts is that the best way to remove a tick is by using fine-tipped tweezers or an insect-grabbing tool designed specifically for this purpose.
When using a pair of tweezers, carefully grasp the mouthparts as close to the point where they enter the skin as possible. Pull up gently but firmly until it releases its grip on your dog’s fur and falls away from him/her entirely (don’t worry—this won’t hurt him/her). If necessary, repeat this with another set of tweezers if one isn’t enough; just be careful not to squeeze too hard!