The Secret to Removing a Tick

Even if your dog or cat is on a monthly tick prevention it is still important to remove any ticks you find on your pet(s). Ticks can cause allergic reactions when they’re attached; in addition, the shorter the period of time they are attached the less likely they are to pass on such serious tick borne diseases as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. But a lot of people don’t know how to properly remove a tick. It seems like it should be easy – you just pull it off—but their mouth parts are buried deep in your pet’s skin so if you pull too hard or in a jerking motion you can remove the body of the tick but leave the mouth parts still embedded in your pet. And unfortunately, it’s these mouth parts that are the cause of allergic reactions and the source of tick borne diseases.  To top it off, it’s difficult and frustrating to try and remove the mouth parts once the tick’s body is no longer attached. But don’t despair, there is a secret to easily removing an attached tick. And that secret is…..patience! What you need to do is gently pull on the tick (you don’t want to pop it), grasping as close to your pet’s skin as possible, using your forefinger and thumb or a pair of tweezers until the skin tents up slightly. Next, hold in that position until the tick fatigues and let’s go.  This can take 1 minute or longer so don’t lose patience and start tugging harder. Just keep a steady, even tension until the tick suddenly lets go and pops off the skin. Always inspect the tick once it’s removed to ensure the head is still attached (you should see 2 tiny prongs coming off the body if the head is still present) and if it isn’t or you aren’t sure, place the tick in a Ziploc bag, mark the area where the tick was attached with a sharpie (it can be very difficult to tell where it was, especially in long haired pets otherwise) and see your vet straight away. We can look at the tick and tell you if you got it all and if you didn’t, remove the tick’s head for you.

So give my tick removing technique a try and let me know how well it worked for you!

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