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How to remove a tick from a dog and cat

How to remove a tick from a dog and cat

Tick-borne illnesses affect numerous pets in North America every year and can result in severe and uncomfortable symptoms. Therefore, it's crucial to understand how to promptly and accurately remove ticks from your furry friend. Our veterinary professionals at Stockton recommend using the steps outlined below or consulting with your veterinarian for additional guidance.

Ticks On Dogs & Cats

Ticks can transmit diseases to your furry companions, leading to infection and inflammation of their organs and tissues. This can cause various symptoms that range in severity. It's worth noting that sometimes the symptoms of tick-borne illnesses may not manifest until weeks after an infected tick has bitten your pet. Hence, it's crucial to examine your pet for ticks frequently and remove them immediately to prevent the spread of diseases.

Tick Removal Steps

Removing a tick from your pet can be a daunting task, but it's essential for their health and well-being. Here are some easy steps to follow when removing a tick from your dog or cat. Always wear gloves during the process to avoid any risk of tick-borne diseases. If you're unsure about removing the tick yourself, it's best to contact your vet.

You can also visit your vet clinic to learn how to remove ticks or have them remove the tick for you quickly and efficiently, without any hassle. Remember, early tick removal is crucial in preventing disease transmission and keeping your pet healthy.

1. Check your dog or cat for ticks daily

Ticks are small insects that often hide in grassy, bushy, or wooded areas. They attach themselves to animals that brush past them and can cause health problems for your pets. Therefore, it's important to check your furry friend for ticks after spending time in these areas.

Checking your pet for ticks is a simple process that you can do at home.

  • Run your fingers through your pet's fur and feel for any unusual bumps or swollen patches on their skin.
  • Don't forget to check their legs, ears, face, neck, and even between their toes, as ticks can hide anywhere.
Regularly checking your pet for ticks can help prevent tick-borne illnesses and keep your pet healthy and happy.

2. Identify whether a suspicious lump is a tick.

If you feel something suspicious, it's time to investigate.

  • Part your dog's or cat's fur to get a clear look. An engorged tick is relatively easy to find and identify. Most ticks are brown, black, or tan, and all have eight legs. Before feeding, a tick may only be the size of a poppy seed, but once engorged, a single tick could be a third of an inch (10mm) in size.

3. Tools for removing ticks effectively.

To remove a tick from your dog (or cat) quickly and safely, you will need a few basic tools:

  • Gloves to protect yourself from tick saliva that can transmit diseases to humans.
  • Clean tweezers or a tick removal tool to grasp the tick and remove
  • Disinfectant or antiseptic cream to clean the site once the tick has been removed
  • Isopropyl alcohol 

4. How to remove a tick using tweezers.

  • Using tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your dog's or cat's skin without accidentally pinching your pet fur.
  • Pull the tick out slowly and steadily. Try not to jerk or jump; the goal is to remove the entire tick, including the mouthparts, in order to avoid infection. 

5. How to use a tick removal tool.

Tick removal tools are similar to the nail removal part of a hammer and are easy to use. They have a flat or gently curved head with a notch cut out in the middle, which can be found at most pet supply stores or your vet may have them.

  • To remove a tick, press the flat head of the tool against your dog's or cat's skin near the tick and slide it forward so that the tick's body is on the top of the notch.
  • Gently lift the tick out with an upward motion for flat tools or with a gentle roll backward for curved tools.

6. Dispose of the tick

Not all ticks carry diseases, but many do. Contact your vet to see if they want you to bring it in for an ID check and/or to test the tick to see if it's carrying any diseases that may have been passed to your pet.

  • How to transport a tick to your vet's office:
    • If so, place the tick in a baggie or pill bottle to take to your vet. Your vet's office will provide you with instructions on how to preserve the tick.
    • Label the bottle with the date and where on your pet you found the tick (so you can check the site later for signs of infection)
  • If you are not taking the tick in to be tested here's what you should do:
    • Ensure that the tick is dead before disposing of it. This can be done by dropping the tick into the isopropyl alcohol. Once dead you can dispose of the tick in the garbage.
    • Do not throw live ticks in the garbage, outside, or down the toilet.
    • Do not use your fingers to crush the tick as this could result in the spread of disease.

7. Clean-up

  • Clean the site where the tick was latched on to your pet using alcohol, an antiseptic swap, or soap and water.
  • Dispose of gloves and wash your hands well with soap and water.

8. After Care

For the next 14 days, keep an eye on the spot where you found the tick on your pet. Check for any inflammation or swelling, especially for a red ring-shaped rash that resembles a target.

This pattern could be a sign of Lyme disease. If you notice any signs of redness or infection, inform your veterinarian immediately. Starting treatment early is usually the best way to manage the disease effectively.

9. Tick Prevention

Ensuring your furry friend's long-term good health involves preventing conditions caused by parasites. Fortunately, many effective parasite-prevention products are available to protect your pup from ticks. To find out the best preventive medication for your canine companion, speak to your vet, who can guide you with the right recommendation. Don't compromise on your pet's well-being; take preventive measures against parasites now!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you have spotted a tick on your dog or cat, contact Rosemarie Pet Hospital to book an appointment to remove the tick or learn how to remove ticks from your pet.

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