When your dog has ticks in his ears, removing them in their entirety and swabbing down the area will help to reduce the potential for infection and discomfort.
How Dogs Get Ticks
Dogs who aren't protected with a repelling collar or ointment when they're outside can pick up ticks -- especially if they're in a heavily wooded area. Ticks are smaller than the head of an eraser when they first attach, but can become engorged with blood and swell to the size of a grape. The sooner you find and remove ticks, the less chance your dog will be uncomfortable or run the risk of contracting a tick-borne illness such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
Things You’ll Need:
- Tweezers or a commercial tick remover
- Lidded jar full of rubbing alcohol
- Bottle of rubbing alcohol
- Rubber gloves
- Cotton swabs
Firmly grasp the front end of the tick with your tweezers. This is the point where the tick is attached to your dog's ear. It's important to get the entire tick out, including the head, or you run the risk of infection. Pull firmly upward, without twisting, until the tick comes out, then immediately place the tick in the rubbing alcohol, which will kill it. Gently swab your dog's ear with alcohol or soap and water to relieve pain and itching and help to prevent infection. Repeat as necessary until all ticks are gone.
- If a tick is lodged close to your dog’s ear canal, see a vet for removal. If you slip trying to remove it yourself, you could damage your dog’s delicate inner ear.
- Put the lid on your jar of dead ticks and hang on to it for a few weeks. If your dog shows signs of infection, such as redness or swelling, see a vet and take the ticks with you for testing and analysis.
Wear gloves when removing ticks and wash your hands with soap and water, rubbing alcohol or an iodine wash after handling ticks.
Future Tick Prevention
Use a topical anti-tick medication, shampoo or collar on your dog to prevent ear ticks again in the future. Regularly check your dog's ears and body -- particularly the underside -- for tick attachment. This can be done during grooming or bathing, and should be a regular habit if your dog has been playing in the woods.
Keep your lawn trimmed and bushes cut back to help reduce the potential for ticks in your yard.