Fact checked by a Hello Ralphie expert veterinarian
Finding a tick on your furry friend can be surprising and somewhat traumatizing. They’re gross and they could be harming your pet.
Lyme disease, ehrlichia, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, among other diseases, have all been linked to tick bites. These diseases can be debilitating, devastating, and, in some cases, even life-threatening. However, you can combat them by making sure your dog is on an appropriate seasonal tick preventative.
How Do I Remove a Tick from a Dog?
The best practice is to speak to a veterinarian if you have questions about how to remove a tick from your pet. This can typically done through a virtual appointment with a veterinarian. However, there are some tricks you can perform if that’s not an option. For starters, never remove ticks without a tool or attempt to pull them off using your bare hands.
Squeezing the tick with your fingers can cause any bacteria it’s harboring in its mouth to spill into your dog’s blood stream, which is how diseases spread. Pulling or plucking a tick can also detach its head from the body, causing extreme irritation or a local reaction if left under the skin.
Using Dish Soap
Dish soap can be used to gently clean the area where the tick has bitten your dog and encourage the tick to fall off on its own. However, more work usually needs to be done to remove the parasite. It’s best to invest in a pair of tick removers, or tick twisters, for proper and safe removal. These tools function similarly to the nail claw on the rear of a standard hammer.
Removing the Tick with a Tick Removal Tool
Place the head of the tick between the two pieces of plastic (the claw) of the tick twister. Make sure the tool lays flat along the surface of your dog’s skin. Slowly twist it while pulling upward with a mild amount of tension.
The tick should release its grasp on your dog’s skin, which will allow you to twist it out of place. It’s important to twist, rather than just pulling upward, to help avoid detaching the tick’s head and leaving parts below the surface of your dog’s skin.
If you don’t have a pair of tick twisters, it’s possible to use a set of tweezers as long as you’re careful and mimicking the same twisting action.
If there’s any local irritation or redness at the site of the tick attachment, it is best to speak with a veterinarian. Consult a Hello Ralphie veterinarian to determine if the bite looks infected or requires further action.
The Tick is Gone; Now What?
Once the tick has been removed, check to make sure there’s no residual irritation on your dog’s skin. Also, examine the tick itself and make sure its pincers, as well as any other part of its head, are intact and not left behind.
It’s recommended that you save the tick to show the veterinarian during your virtual consult. Identifying the species of the tick is helpful to determine the likelihood your dog has contracted a disease.
Only certain species of ticks carry diseases that are transferrable to dogs. If your veterinarian has identified one of those species, they may recommend further testing.
The best way to prevent tick bites in the future is to have a virtual veterinarian review your dog’s tick prevention medications and plan. Schedule a consult with a Hello Ralphie veterinarian today for personalised recommendations.
How do I Prevent Tick Bites from Happening in the Future?
The best way to avoid tick bites is by using a reliable tick prevention. There are plenty of available prescription products for dogs. They come in a variety of formulations, including both oral and topical options.
These options are given anywhere from once per month to once every three months. Some are even flavored and meant to simulate dog treats. A Hello Ralphie veterinarian can help you decide on the best product for your dog to help prevent future tick bites. There are other products that don’t just combat ticks, but also other dangerous parasites such as heartworms, roundworms, and hookworms. It can be very overwhelming trying to decide on the right option for your dog. A Hello Ralphie virtual consult could help decide on the right products for your particular dog, lifestyle, and your dog’s level of exposure risk.
Where you live, as well as seasonal weather patterns, will help determine what is best for your dog.
The best way to deal with ticks is to avoid the bite in the first place. You can arrange to have a virtual consultation with one of our Hello Ralphie veterinarians for advice about which option would work best for you and your dog.
If you’re not sure if your dog has a tick, or you think that you’ve removed a tick incorrectly, contact one of our Hello Ralphie veterinarians to arrange a virtual consultation.