Pet Health
Removing Ticks

Holly Frisby, DVM, MS
Veterinary Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.

To remove an attached tick, use a pair of fine-tipped
tweezers or special tick removal instruments. These
special devices allow one to remove the tick without
squeezing the tick body. This is important, as you do
not want to crush the tick and force harmful bacteria
to leave the tick and enter the dog’s bloodstream

1. Grab the tick by the head or mouth parts right
where they enter the skin.
Do not grasp the tick by the body.

2  Without jerking, pull firmly and steadily directly outward.
Do not twist the tick as you are pulling.

3 .Using methods such as applying petroleum jelly, a hot match,
or alcohol will NOT cause  the tick to 'back out',
In fact, these irritants may cause the
tick to deposit more disease-carrying saliva in the wound.

4. After removing the tick, place it in a jar of alcohol to kill it.
Ticks are NOT killed by flushing them down the toilet.

5. Clean the bite wound with a disinfectant. If you want to,
apply a small amount of a triple antibiotic ointment.

6. Wash your hands thoroughly.

Please do not use your fingers to remove or dispose of the tick. We do not want you in
contact with a potentially disease-carrying tick. Do NOT squash the tick with your fingers. The
contents of the tick can transmit disease.

Once an embedded tick is manually removed, it is not uncommon for a welt and skin reaction
to occur. A little hydrocortisone spray will help alleviate the irritation, but it may take a week or
more for healing to take place. In some cases, the tick bite may permanently scar leaving a
hairless area. This skin irritation is due to the irritating and destructive tick saliva. It is not due to
the tick losing its head, literally. Do not be worried about the tick head staying in; it rarely
happens. The swelling is due to toxic saliva, not toxic heads.


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