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If you spend time outdoors with your best furry friend, checking him for ticks should be a part of your daily routine. Not only are ticks nasty to look at (and even worse to touch when you pet your pup!), they can transmit deadly diseases to your dog within 24 hours – so it’s important to remove them right away.
Here’s how to check your dog for ticks and, should you happen to find one, how to remove it safely.
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If you find a tick on your dog, don’t panic. You can safely remove it using the following method:
• tweezers or tick remover tool
• antiseptic wipes
• Isopropyl alcohol
You’ll want to wear gloves when you remove the tick from your dog, as they can transmit diseases to humans, too. Then, using tweezers or a special tick removal tool, grasp the tick by the head – as close to your dog’s skin as possible without pinching your dog’s skin – and pull the tick straight out, slowly and firmly. Be extremely careful not to squeeze the body as this can force the tick to expel blood and potentially dangerous diseases back into your dog’s skin. And, you don’t want to pull the tick’s body apart while you’re removing it.
Some old methods of tick removal include burning the tick with a match or applying something to your dog’s skin to force the tick to “back out.” Don’t use these methods. They do not work!
Once you’ve removed the tick, drop the entire bug into a container of Isopropyl rubbing alcohol to kill it. You should save the container, so if your dog does become sick with tick-borne illness, your veterinarian can identify and test it.
There will likely be a small wound on your pup’s skin where the tick was removed. Clean that area with an antiseptic wipe and keep an eye on the area to make sure it doesn’t develop any signs of infection. A small raised bump may appear which can last up to two weeks, this is perfectly normal but the bump should not be red, swollen, or intensely itchy to your dog.
Also, keep an eye on your dog over the next few weeks for signs of tick-borne illness, like fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, joint pain, and reluctance to move. If you see any of these signs, make an appointment with your veterinarian right away.
Or, consider proactive testing of the tick. Instead of waiting to see if your dog becomes sick, the removed tick can be tested right away. The Cutter Lyme Disease Tick Test Pet Kit includes all the supplies you’ll need to remove a tick from your dog’s skin and mail it to a lab for testing.