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How to Remove a Tick from Your Pet
M Duffy Jones, DVM posted:
Rubbing alcohol
- A pair of tweezers, forceps, or another pulling device (never to be used again or on a person)
- A jar with a lid -- for the tick afterward
- Someone to help you hold the pet

1. Have a helper hold your pet's head and keep the area that you will be working on still.
The last thing you want is the pet jumping or moving as you attempt to get the tick out.

2. Put some alcohol around the area where the tick is attached. This helps to wet the hair around the area so you can get a better view. It also helps to kill bacteria around the area. There will be an open wound after you remove the tick, so you want to try to keep the area clean.

3. Take your removing device of choice -- I prefer a hemostat -- and grab the tick as close to the skin as possible.

4. Apply gentle pressure to your removing device while pulling the tick straight back from the skin. Try not to twist, jerk, or rotate the tick because you are more likely to break it and leave the head still imbedded. As you gently pull on it the tick will let go. It may take a minute or two of gentle pressure. Don't crush the tick because that may release more of the potential bacteria and diseases that ticks can spread.

5. Once the tick is removed, drop it in a jar with some alcohol. Secure the lid on the jar and let the tick stay in there for a day or two. Flushing or throwing the tick away will not necessarily kill it. They are very resilient creatures. Instead, a long alcohol bath will do the trick.

6. Once you are sure it is dead, then throw it away.

7. After removing the tick, clip your pet's hair around the site so you can monitor it over the next few days. Keep an eye out for any excessive swelling or redness. If you notice any, see your veterinarian and they will most likely start some antibiotics.

8. Clean the area again with some alcohol to prevent infection.

If things do not go as planned and the head is ripped off, attempt to gently remove the head from the skin. If that's not possible, see your vet to have it removed. If a visit to the vet isn't possible, use warm compresses over the next few days to help your pet's body expel the remaining part of the tick on its own.

The best place to look for ticks on your pet is around the head, neck, and behind the ears. Most ticks will migrate to these locations, although they can be found on all parts of the body.

If you have read this and you feel faint or nauseous about trying to do it yourself, don't worry. My office has many clients who will simply come to us to remove the ticks, rather than attempt to do it at home. So feel free to run your pet to your regular vet's office and they can remove it for you.

We vets have a whole class on tick removal in veterinary school. Just kidding, but we are happy to help.

Have you had any tick sightings on your own pets? What did you do that worked best for you in the tick's removal?
cfitzjs responded:
When we remove ticks, we take a piece of scotch tape and fold it over the tick. it kills the tick and it can be thrown away right away. It saves the effort of keeping a jar of ticks around for a few days.
M Duffy Jones, DVM replied to cfitzjs's response:
Great idea, just make sure the tick is really dead. They are really good survivors and sometimes they can fool you.
samie888 responded:
apply bleach to area, tick stopped moving, pulled out straight with tweezer
samie888 replied to M Duffy Jones, DVM's response:
ok, first time to do this, all went well, flushed down toilet
M Duffy Jones, DVM replied to samie888's response:
I probably would not use bleach because it can be so irritating to the skin. Try some rubbing alcohol next time.


William Draper, DVM, better known as "Dr. Will," is a well-known small animal practitioner in the Atlanta, GA area. He grew up in Inglewood,...More

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