How to Remove Ticks from a Dog
Ticks may be tiny (typically just 3 to 5 mm long), but removing them from your dog can be important for a number of different reasons.
Although they can often live for quite a while without feeding on anything, these types of bugs need blood to sustain them in order to thrive and reproduce – and because of this, they’re generally eager to find themselves a host. But since no good pet owner will want their furry friend to suffer, it’s often a good idea to learn how to safely and effectively remove these parasites.
As they can live, feed and travel between a range of hosts, they can pass on harmful bacteria and germs that can cause diseases – and this is why removing and preventing them can often be so important.
Fortunately, if you have the right tools, a little patience and a dog that doesn’t mind staying still for a couple of minutes, the task of getting a tick off of a canine can be simple. For those who are unsure, it’s advisable to seek assistance from a medical expert (such as a vet).
What are ticks?
These types of insects (or to be more exact, arachnids) are external parasites – more commonly known as ectoparasites – which only survive by drinking the blood of many different kinds of animals, from countless species of mammals to reptiles (although the latter is generally more uncommon than the first).
There are quite a few different kinds of ticks, most belonging to one of two families; the Ixodidae and the Argasidae. Whilst there are a few differences between the two of them, both need to drink blood in order to survive and reproduce.
However, having these kinds of parasites is an unpleasant experience for the pet and their owner. From causing dogs pain to introducing and transporting diseases (such as lyme disease and a range of other harmful illnesses), there are a number of different issues that can come with infestation – and this is why it can be so important for you to control an outbreak, prevent them from landing and remove any that are living on your canine.
To stop a dog getting an infection caused by ticks, as well preventing the many other issues that can come with these kinds of parasites, it can be a good idea to know how to stop the pests from making a home on your canine and how to remove them if they’re already there.
When can a dog get ticks?
Some people may not know this, but these kinds of pests can’t just jump onto dogs and start feeding on them straight away. In general, they hide in soil, tree bark, or even grass. Then, when an animal brushes past their hiding spot, they latch onto one of the hairs and make their way onto the dog’s body.
However, they don’t usually start drinking from there. When trying to find a good feeding spot, they’ll cut into the surface of the animal’s skin. In most cases, this is when they’ll have a taste test of their blood. Sometimes the blood may not be right for them – for example, it could contain tick repellent or poison, or it may not agree with them as much as another host’s might. Although this doesn’t happen too often, there are instances where a tick won’t be able drink from a dog.
But if a parasite decides that they like your pet, they may well choose your canine as their new host – which means that they’ll likely feed and reproduce on it for as long as they can.
How to prevent a dog from getting ticks
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to keep these pests away from your canine companion and in most cases, it can be a wise idea to try and prevent ticks from finding a home whether your pet has them, did have them, or has never had them before.
It may be worth it to consider that ticks can sometimes affect humans too, whether that’s through human infestation, passing on diseases, or simply by causing unnecessary stress. Because of this, keeping them away is a must for many individuals. Some of the most effective methods for getting rid of these kinds of pests are:
Using spot-on treatment
Not only is spot-on medication usually easily accessible (it can often be purchased over the counter), but many individuals find that it’s an incredibly effective method for controlling ticks. In general, they’re able to keep parasites at bay for around a month, which isn’t something to overlook. In general, to use a spot-on solution you’ll have to apply the treatment around the neck area or at the base of their spine.
Although they can be great at stopping these pests, it’s often worthwhile to be careful about which one you use on your furry friend. In most cases, you should check the ingredients and get in touch with a vet first, to ensure the safety of the product in question. Also, many brands double up as a treatment for fleas too, making them even more useful for those who are dealing with both flea and tick infestations.
Using oral medication
While spot-on treatment can often do the trick, some people prefer to use pills for their canine instead.
Generally, getting oral medication to deal with these arachnids is the best option. It can often be easy to get a hold of pills made for monthly use – and since they’re able to kill ticks (as well as immature fleas), they can be a great option for those who want an effective method to get rid of the pests once and for all.
Plus, they’re often easy to give to well-behaved pets and there are no worries about keeping your pet away from children and other animals (as you might have to when using spot-on treatment).
There are a number of dog shampoos that contain medical ingredients that kill ticks on contact and since this is often one of the most inexpensive solutions, many people choose this method when trying to keep their pets tick-free.
However, they can often require more time and effort than using pills or spot-on, as you may have to clean your dogs with it more often. This is because these solutions don’t usually last as long as other kinds of treatments (the tick-killing ingredients used are often more naturally sourced and aren’t likely to remain as potent as a spot-on or oral medication).
For some (typically those who are more medically aware of the impact of pesticides and specific drug ingredients), shampoos are often one of the best natural ways to keep ticks away from pets.
Getting a tick collar
Putting a tick collar on your pet is another very effective way of keeping the parasites away from your furry friend, whilst being a simple solution to taking care of the issue at hand – although since they mainly only protect the dog’s neck and head, they may not be the ideal option for everyone.
For the collar to be at its most effective, it’ll need to be touching your canine’s skin, as this is how it transfers the tick-killing chemicals to their body.
It’s often a wise idea to get rid of any excess length of the collar to make sure that your canine doesn’t chew or eat on the spare piece of collar. Also, it can be a wise idea to keep an eye on your pet for any symptoms that may suggest that they’re allergic to the collar (skin rashes are most common).
In addition, it’s always best to check the labels of these kinds of collars before purchasing them.
How to get ticks off a dog
Although these are useful for killing and preventing ticks from landing, they’re not the best forgetting a tick off. Fortunately for those who want to know how to get ticks off dogs, it’s a simple task when you know how to do it properly.
In general, using a pair of tweezers is the best method for getting rid of ticks on a dog, but in most cases using common tweezers isn’t the best solution (because they tend to have large, blunt tips). Fine point tweezers are often the best tools for the job, as they’re often able to avoid tearing the tick’s body from its mouth; a common problem with normal tweezers. This event can sometimes lead to forming a harmful infection, such as Lyme disease.
In general, the best way to remove a tick with fine tip tweezers is to:
- Move the fur out of the way, so that you have a clear view of the parasite and the area around it
- Take hold of the pest as close to skin as you can
- Slowly, steadily and gently pull upward (this will prevent the mouth from tearing off and getting stuck in the skin)
Usually, this is the best way to get rid of a dog tick – although using a specialist tool can often be even better. Purchasing a tick removal hook can be a good option for those who deal with these parasites often and since there are a number of different kinds of hooks to choose from, they can be a great solution for most individuals.