How to Safely Remove Ticks from Pets

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If your pets likes to frolic outside in the warm summer sun (and let’s face it, most of them do) they’re probably going to get a tick or two, especially if you live in a tick-prone area.

If you find ticks on your pet, it’s important to remove them immediately. It usually takes 24 to 48 hours for a tick to infest its host (your pet) and you want to nip that in the bud right away.

Found a tick on your pet? Stay calm and don’t panic. You may cause more damage rushing to remove it and leave part of the tick attached to the skin.

Take a deep breath, grab some tweezers, and follow these 5 steps to safely and easily remove ticks from your pets:

Step 1 - Take necessary safety precautions and wear gloves.

Before you touch the tick and bite area on your pet, put on rubber or latex gloves. Never touch a tick with your bare hands! There are over 800 species of these little parasites and some carry Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other nasty diseases. A tick could transmit the disease through your bloodstream, especially if you have cuts or breaks in your skin.

Step 2 - Prepare your tick removal tools.

To properly remove ticks, you’ll need:

  1. A clean pair of tweezers or a professional tick remover tool
  2. Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
  3. A glass jar or container
  4. Antiseptic (to clean your pet’s skin after tick removal)

Use a sturdy glass jar or container with a lid and pour the alcohol into the jar. Have the jar nearby so you can immediately drop the tick into the jar.

Step 3 - Gently remove the tick.

If your pet has long hair or thick fur, part the hair out of the way. With the tweezers or tick remover tool, gently grasp the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible without pinching your dog’s skin. With a steady hand, slowly pull the tick out of your pet’s skin. If you grasp close to the head, there’s a better chance you’ll remove the tick’s entire body without releasing its infectious secretions into your pet’s skin.

Once it’s out, drop the tick into the jar or container filled with alcohol and seal the lid tightly. Never try to crush a tick in a paper towel or flush it down the toilet or sink. The alcohol will immediately kill the tick. Make sure you mark the date on the outside of the jar/container and don’t throw out the tick.

Step 4 - Thoroughly clean the skin and tick removal tools.

Clean the area where you removed the tick with antiseptic. Make sure to thoroughly wash your tweezers or tick remover tool with soapy water and then sterilize them with rubbing alcohol. Even if you wear gloves, it’s important to thoroughly wash your hands.

Step 5 - Reward pets for their patience.

Removing a tick from a dog or cat can be a frustrating and nerve-wracking experience. Make sure to reward your pet with extra treats and lots of love.

Additional Tips

  • Never use a hot match, petroleum jelly or nail polish to remove ticks from your pet. These methods don’t work and cause more harm than good.
  • Keep a close eye on the bite site on your pet’s skin and watch for any signs of redness or inflammation. If your pet becomes sick or the bite site looks infected, immediately take your dog to the vet. Don’t forget to bring the jar/container with you. Your vet can test the dead tick to see if it carries disease.
  • Use collars, sprays or topical treatments that repel or kill ticks. Talk to your vet about the best tick treatment to use for dogs or cats. Cats tend to be extra sensitive to chemicals so don’t apply any treatments directly to their skin without first checking with your vet.

No one likes to think of their pets getting sick, but it unfortunately happens. Get your pets the treatment and care they deserve with a Pets Best pet insurance plan and get up to 90% of veterinary bills covered. And, as a Farmers customer you’ll save 5%.

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