Knowing how to remove ticks from your pet is one of the things dog owners absolutely need to know how to do. However, a surprising amount of dog owners still don't know how to properly remove a tick from a dog's body. The process is annoying, but simple. Here's how to do it.
- a match or lighter (anything that produces a flame), or small jar of rubbing alcohol
1. Locate the tick and figure out which end is the head and which end is the body.
2. Using the tweezers, carefully and firmly grasp the head of the tick, but don't squeeze too hard, as you risk making the tick inject more disease-filled saliva into your pet. You want to grab the head of the tick as close to your dog's skin as possible. DO NOT grab the tick by the body, or you risk removing the body but leaving the tick's head in your pet's skin.
3. Gently begin pulling the tick directly from the skin. Be careful to NOT twist or pull the tick out at an angle, making sure the tick's head is directly perpendicular to the skin. Do not pull forcefully all at once either. Pull in gentle tugging motions until the tick is completely removed. Don't worry if the tick has such a strong hold on your dog that when the head comes out, some of your pet's skin or flesh comes out with it. Better that a minuscule amount of skin is removed from the dog than the tick's head being left inside of your pet. Remember to rub some anti-bacterial medication on the site of the bite after you've removed the parasite.
4. To kill a tick, hold it over an open flame until you hear it pop, then you know it's dead. You can also kill it by putting it in a small jar of rubbing alcohol. DO NOT rinse it down the sink, flush it down the toilet, or wrap it in tissue and throw in the trash. Ticks are incredibly resilient. Not only are you unable to kill ticks using those methods, but the tick may actually find a way to crawl back out and onto your pet.
This is the best way that I know of to remove and kill ticks. There are products out there designed as special tools to help pet owners remove ticks easily, but I personally find a pair of tweezers are more than enough for me to get the job done. However, if you're not great at handling a pair of tweezers, then maybe investing in a tick removal tool is better for you.
Also, don't believe any of those myths that say putting nail polish, rubbing alcohol, vaseline or any other number of things on an offending tick will help it pull out of your pet's skin on its own. Doing any of these things may cause more harm than good by irritating the parasite to burrow deeper, regurgitate and inject more of its poisons into your pet. Always remove the tick and kill it. That is the only way you know for sure it won't continue to hurt your pet.