Ticks can cause a serious problem to dogs and humans, especially during summer months. By some estimates, more ticks are seen today than in years past, perhaps due to climate change. In case you find a tick on yourself or your dog, it’s important to remove the tick promptly and thoroughly. Otherwise, you may leave the tick head on your dog, and it will continue to burrow and feed, and possibly transfer the disease to your dog.
Removing a Tick
There are some tools for removing ticks on the market, and these can be used on dogs as well as humans. However, you only need a pair of tweezers to remove a tick from your dog. (Information adapted from the Centers for Disease Control):
1. Use the tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the surface of your dog’s skin as possible.
2. Use steady, even pressure and pull upward on the tick. Don’t jerk or twist when pulling the tick. This might cause the tick’s mouth parts to tear off and stay in the skin. If the mouth does break off, use the tweezers to try to remove them, too. If you can’t remove the mouth parts, leave them alone and let the skin heal over them.
3. Once you have successfully removed the tick, clean the affected area with alcohol. You should also clean your hands with alcohol. If you don’t have alcohol, you can use soap and water or iodine.
Forget about old-time remedies to make the tick detach itself such as covering it with petroleum jelly, or using a match to apply heat to it. Even if they worked, they take too long, and the tick could continue to transmit the disease to your dog. You need to eliminate the tick as quickly as possible from your dog.
The best way to avoid ticks is to utilize good preventive measures. Many flea preventives also have a tick preventive. Always check the label to make sure that a tick preventive is included if you live in an area where your dog can pick up ticks. Most of these products must be applied on a monthly basis.
You can as well use a flea and tick shampoo or a dip. These can be harsher on a dog’s skin and coat, so they are not recommended for all dogs. In case your dog has dry, itchy, or sensitive skin, this is probably not a good option.
You can kill ticks by using diatomaceous earth in your yard. Diatomaceous earth can be used, it is a natural material that is made from soft sedimentary rock. Although it is soft to the touch, it has fine edges at the microscopic level, and when fleas and ticks come in contact with it, it will scrape away their external covering, leaving them to dry out and die. This is a good, natural way to kill these pests. Simply spread the diatomaceous earth around your yard, and it will kill the fleas and ticks that come in contact with it.
The ideal way to keep ticks away from your pet is through prevention. When you want to eliminate a tick from your dog, do so carefully and promptly. The bite should heal in just a few days. If it does not, take your dog to see your vet.