Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of pets and may cause a number of infections. Any pet owner should know some dog tick removal basics, in order to prevent infections such as the Lyme disease. Ticks are small parasites that get attached to a host and are difficult to remove.
Identify the Tick Bite
A tick bite will typically cause a swelling and the tick will be visible on the surface of the skin. The tick will attach his head and mouth in the skin of the host. The tick is cream white or grey, but if it feeds on the blood of your pet, he will become brown. A tick is about the size of a rice grain and has 8 legs. You will notice the legs of the tick where it attaches to your pet.
Ticks are mostly present in bushy and mountainous areas or woods, so if you live in such an area or you have been on a trip, you should thoroughly check your dog’s skin. Don’t forget some more concealed areas such as the ears, eye area, under the tail, paws or neck.
How to Remove the Tick
If you are sure your dog has a tick, get a pair of surgical gloves as ticks can transmit the Lyme disease to people also. In case you are unsure whether your pet has a tick, you should visit a vet, as many people try to remove lumps, small tumors, warts or other skin deformities, believing these are ticks.
You will also need:
- A pair of tweezers
- A zip lock bag or a sealed jar
- A towel
- Antibiotic cream
Detect where the tick is attached to your dog’s body. Get the tweezers and pull the tick by grabbing its head. Try to not grab on to the tick’s body, as this may either burst or release toxins in your dog’s blood flow. Hold the dog’s skin on each side to facilitate the removal of the tick. Ticks may break, so you need to pull firmly. In case the head gets stuck in your pet, you need to go to the vet.
If you have successfully removed the tick, place it in a zip lock bag or a sealed jar in your fridge, so you can show the tick to your vet, in case the dog gets infected.
Clean the bitten area with disinfectant or an antibacterial soap and apply some antibiotic cream.
The tick bite will stay irritated for a few days and the dog may also lose hair in the area.
Monitor the bite and if the irritation lasts for more than 48 hours or you see pus, consult the vet.
Ideally, the tick should be removed within 4 hours after it has attached to the dog, as it is less likely to infect your dog.
The ticks may be responsible for the lyme disease, which can be fatal, as well as the tick paralysis or the tularemia. If your dog gets infected he may be lethargic, have fever, cough or have swollen joints.