Let’s face it, nobody likes ticks. The very thought of them often causes a grimace, and every spring and summer brings those tiny goblins into the thick underbrush, long greasses, and trees, where they wait for a warm-blooded animal to stroll by. Like you or your dog…
Since ticks are a reality we must live with, the question is: how do we prevent them from attaching to your pet? And, if your pet should be the unfortunate host, how do you safely remove ticks?
Tick Awareness 101
So, you are standing in your local pet supply store looking at all of the tick and flea products in a row, wondering which one to choose. Unfortunately, many over-the-counter parasite preventives are not so safe and can even seriously harm your pet if accidentally ingested or applied to the wrong species or size of pet.
You can also do more harm than good by applying a product to your pet without first having him or her screened for the presence of infection.
The safest and most effective option for preventing ticks and other external parasites from making your pet ill or uncomfortable is through safer, more effective prescribed preventives, which are offered during your pet’s wellness examination.
Other ways to evade ticks and keep them from attaching to your pet include:
- Keeping your pet away from bushy, overgrown areas when out on the trail
- Maintaining a well-groomed lawn and removing overgrown or weedy areas that harbor ticks and other parasites
- Thoroughly inspecting your pet for ticks after returning from the outdoors, including under ears, tail, and at the base of the legs
How to Safely Remove Ticks
Despite all of the safety measures you take, your pet may wind up with a tick or two in his lifetime.
Here are the easy step-by-step instructions for tick removal.
- If possible, put on latex gloves or similar protective gloves.
- Use a pair of tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the head or the surface of your pet’s body as possible.
- Pull the tick straight out and away, being careful not to twist or angle the tick’s body since this can leave behind the head or mouth and increase the risk of infection.
- After removing the tick, cleanse the area and thoroughly wash your hands.
- Dispose of the tick by drowning it in alcohol or burning it. A tick can survive a toilet flush, so don’t bank on that as your means of disposal.
Monitor your pet and the tick bite site for a few weeks. If you notice a rash or any other unusual skin conditions, make an appointment for your pet to be examined. Tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease, bartonella, and ehrlichiosis can present serious health risks and that can also be transmitted to humans.
To avoid exposing your pet to tick-borne illnesses, we encourage you to keep him on a year-round preventive and practice the above mentioned tick prevention measures.
For more information on ticks and other parasites or to schedule an appointment, please give us a call.