Whether you prefer the company of birds, mammals or reptiles, most common pets are susceptible to ticks. Removing these blood-sucking parasites — who often spread serious diseases — is not only important for your pet's health, but is also important for protecting the health of you and your family. Fortunately, removing ticks is relatively simple, but you must be careful to employ sound hygiene practices while doing so.
If the tick is close to your pet's eyes, have your veterinarian remove the tick to reduce the chances of causing damage.
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Things You'll Need:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Jar with lid
- Latex gloves
- Cotton ball
- Tweezers or commercial tick-removal device
If you are allergic to latex gloves, you can use nitrile or vinyl gloves instead.
Fill a jar about halfway with isopropyl alcohol and set it to the side.
Instruct your partner to restrain your pet. If your pet is a companion animal, such as dogs and cats, have your assistant gently stroke, praise and reassure the animal to keep him calm. If your pet is stressed by contact, as is the case with many reptiles and farm animals, concentrate on holding the animal securely and try to complete the task as quickly as possible to reduce your pet's stress level.
Put on the latex gloves. If your partner is likely to have contact with ticks during the procedure, have him wear gloves as well.
Dampen the cotton ball with the alcohol and gently dab it around the tick. Contrary to popular perception, this does not cause the tick to release its grip – it simply disinfects the area to reduce the chances that your pet develops an infection.
Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible with the tweezers or tick-removal device. Pull the tick out by applying steady pressure. Do not jerk or twist the tick, as this may cause its mouthparts to detach inside your pet's skin.
Place the tick in the jar of alcohol. This preserves the troublesome arthropod in case laboratory identification or testing becomes necessary. Do not flush the tick down the toilet, as this does not reliably kill ticks.
Disinfect the area around the bite wound with more alcohol. Release your pet and praise him for his patience – in addition to lots of love and affection, a treat is appropriate.
Discard your gloves and wash your hands with soap and water.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
- Humane Society of the United States: Getting a Tick Off of Your Dog
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: How to Remove a Tick from Your Pet
- PetMD: Does My Cat Have Ticks?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Tickborne Diseases of the U.S.
- Ethiopia Sheep and Goat Productivity Improvement Program: Control of External Parasites of Sheep and Goats
- Doctors Foster and Smith: Mites & Ticks on Snakes: What to Do
- Hilton Pond Center: An Epidemic of Bird Ticks?