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How To Remove A Tick From A Dog

Pets : Dogs

If your dog gets a tick, the best way to remove it is to take a pair of tweezers and take hold of the body of the tick while twisting anti-clockwise. This will make sure that the head of the tick is removed completely, as ticks bury in clockwise.


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By: Linda Lawrence on Sat, Jun 8th 2002

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I went away on holiday and when I came back my cat was covered in ticks. Some of the lotions that you put on the back of their necks does work, it kills the ticks, but they still stay attached. I agree that tweezers are the best way of getting them off. Your cat or dog won't like it and it will be quite painful, but ticks suck their blood, so you must get them off. .

Removing ticks with tweezers: Don't EVER!!

Sorry to disagree, but you should NEVER try to remove a tick using tweezers. Absolutely disgusting things, and I can fully understand why you wouldn't want to actually touch one; however, here's the reality:

Ticks are a species of parasitic spider {commonly found in long grass or heather in areas where you find deer, cattle, rabbits, and sheep}, and they attach themselves to anything - animals or humans - which happen to brush against them.

They then burrow into the skin and feed - as already stated - on blood, leaving only the body visible: the part you need to grab to remove them.

This looks like a small brownish skin-coloured nodule or wart, around twice the size of this letter: O

The biggest danger while trying to remove them is if you exert too much pressure and "burst" them - which can force poison into the victims' bloodstream causing septicaemia, or "blood poisoning".

The problem with using tweezers is that you don't have any degree of tactile feedback, meaning that it's almost impossible to tell if you're squeezing too hard or not.

By far the best method {in my humble opinion} is to sit your pet - or yourself, if you've been really unlucky! - over a couple of sheets of newspaper and then, wearing surgical-type disposable rubber gloves, do the following:

1} Gripping the body very lightly as close to the skin as possible, pinch and twist in an anti-clockwise direction while pulling outwards very gently.

2} Chances are you won't get it out first time, so repeat the above using a little more pressure. Do it quickly and confidently - just don't apply too much pressure at first.

The objective is to "pinch" as close to the skin as possible, and release the ticks' grip by twisting and pulling - but without squeezing too hard and releasing toxins into the wound.

3} When you do manage to pull the tick out, there are two things you need to do next:

i} Dispose of the tick by either crushing it inside the newspaper {bit fiddly, and anyway - yukk!}, or by putting it down the sink or toilet, and covering it with bleach.

ii} Clean and disinfect the wound by smearing it with Germolene or Dettol antiseptic cream - you'll find it has left a raised "welt" at the puncture site, but this should clear up very quickly within 12 hours or so.

Several friends {who have picked up ticks while hillwalking} have recommended holding a lit cigarette close to {but not touching} the body until it drops out, but although I've tried this myself, I can't honestly recommend it for removing ticks from pets because of their fur.

The first time I found one on our labrador, I cut a small hole in a piece of cardboard, and "popped" the body through the hole, hoping that the cardboard would protect the hair around it from singeing.

Bottom line: it didn't work. I held a glowing cigarette about a centimetre away from the tick, then gradually moved it closer in small increments; however the end result was simply a carbonised tick - it didn't "fall out" as suggested.

In short, removing ticks is a lot like your first experience of sex: scares the hell out of you just even thinking about it, you definitely won't get it right the first time, but once you've done it once - no problem! :-)

Seriously though: in the UK at least, ticks used to be a seasonal problem between April and October. With global warming though, it seems that they're now prevalent virtually all year round, and they can be found at any time of year except in severely cold, frosty weather.

Some tips which might help:

Allegedly {never tried this myself}, putting a couple of drops of vinegar or garlic into your pets' drinking water will help to repel ticks - it makes the animals' sweat acidic and unattractive.

How anyone would know this is anyone's guess, but seemingly dogs in particular love garlic! {I've yet to find a food substance which dogs don't like, except maybe bananas}.

Secondly, you can buy tick-repelling collars, and small bottles of repellant liquid to rub into your pets' shoulder blade area which it's claimed will keep ticks at bay.

Problem: we have two labradors, and the youngest one {aged two} just LOVES tick collars and tick drops! She literally ate the tick collar we put on our older dog, and licked constantly at the tick drops - obviously very tasty stuff..........

Perhaps not a problem for owners of just one dog, but I also read that tick collars/drops can be harmful or even fatal to cats if ingested - no word on the clinical effects on any small children you might happen to have.

To conclude: this time last year {2005} I didn't even know what a tick looked like, but having removed around a dozen from our two labradors, I now consider myself an expert - two minutes, and they're history.

But tweezers? I honestly wouldn't risk it. If you manage to pull the body out but leave the head, you could end up with a very hefty vet's bill, not to mention an extremely sick pet.

Be cautious about giving garlic to dogs. It's true that some dogs may be fine with small amounts of garlic and dogs do love the taste, but garlic and onions can be fatal to some dogs. This is kind of controversial- It comes down to being your choice and knowing your dog, but I choose to be on the safe side and avoid giving garlic to my dog.

Unless you have a problem using chemicals, you should treat your dog with Frontline or something similar to keep fleas and ticks away.

This was very helpful advice, and I did manage my first attempted tick removal successfully. Surgical type gloves not only made the task less unpleasant, but served the purpose of keeping my hard, sharp fingernails off the tick, so it came out whole. Additional tips - if you can, find someone to hold dog still before you start; even with the essential twisting movement, you still need to pull steadily; and mind you are not trying to pull out dog hair at the same time!

Rubbing the Tick with Savlon cream the tick will fall off after a while.

Tweezers i agree with the last post dont do it but even the last post is not quite right,
My dog had a tick some 15 years ago it was removed by a bunch of people with various ideas i didnt like so i found out afterwards how to do it properly.
Soak a bit of cotton wool with methylated spirits and hold it over the tick for a while this will suffocate the tick once it is dead it will loosen its grip and can be gently pulled out with ease using your fingers (use latex gloves if squeamish) if it is still hard to get out then its not dead yet hold it over for longer and try again never get frustrated and pull too hard or you may burst it or leave the head in, having walked my dogs near cows they have had ticks now and again and i have used this method for the last 15 years and never left the head in yet. (this is ok for dogs but if the tick is on another animal please find out first if methylated spirit is going to harm the animal)

We live in a part of France with a high Deer population ... therefore loads of ticks. I recently found one well embeded in my arm a friend pulled it and the tick came away leaving the head (rostrum) still embeded. A quick visit to the Doctor to remove it and gain the following information. This Doctor has A LOT of tick experience.
Firstly put a drop of vegetable or baby oil onto the tick and leave it for 10 minutes. Do NOT use anything else ... including hot cigarettes.
You can purchase a tick remover which is a plastic L with a V cut in the foot of the L. You push the V each side of the tick until it is locked in. You then rotate it through 360 degrees a couple of times and hey presto you have the tick out with the head. You then put some strong antiseptic on the wound. If it is on a human you should visit the Doctor and take a five day course of antibiotics.
If you can't get hold of the L shaped tick remover in the UK you can email me as they are easily available here in France.I think a packet containing 2 different size removers is around 4 euros.

I followed the twister method on our lab - well my son and I did I felt a bit squeemish!! Our dog had 2 ticks on his head beside his ear. I clamped the dogs head between my knees - there was no way he was going to just sit there and let us get these little suckers!- my son twisted and gently pulled anti-clockwise and they came away no bother. He then had great delight in squishing them in some card and then studied them at great length YUKK!!!! Touch wood, this has been successful and we have not had a trip to the vet!!

Never EVER feed garlic to a dog or add to their water as suggested- it is poisonous and highly dangerous to them!

Too complicated for me. a simple pair of tweezers close to the skin and the head of the tic, held firmly and twist when you pull is enough. Lymes Disease is most threatening to young dogs. Keep putting spot on treatments on your dog and you'll be fine.

Thanks to everyone for the tips. Just had my first emergency tick removal from my son and couldn't remember which way to twist so very useful. A friend told me though to first soak some cotton wool in surgical spirit and apply to the little bugger. It knocks them out and makes the twist removal much easier. Also it ultimately kills them and sterilizes the area. That and the twist works a treat.

I removed one today - very simple as I saw a vet doing it with a previous dog. I used a tick removing tool bought in a vet shop - cost 5 euro (4 pounds) for 2 but this is not necessary. Just dab tick with surgical spirit on a tissue and pull gently and tick comes away without leaving mouth parts. This is what the vet did - no tool.

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You said that feeding dogs garlic help because it makes them excrete acidic swea...
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