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How to Remove a Tick from a Dog? – Step by Step Guide

Scanning your dog for ticks and promptly removing them is very important because ticks carry many infectious diseases, including Lyme diseases. In addition, the transmission of the pathogen can occur as soon as three to six hours after the bite. Therefore, the sooner you find and remove the tick, the better your dog’s chances of avoiding infection. However, you can prevent your dog from the condition if the ticks are removed within 24- 36 hours of a tick bite. Given this, it is essential to know how to remove a tick from a dog.

What is a Tick?

Ticks are eight-legged parasites that can be brown, black, or tan. There are about 850 species of these tiny parasitic arachnids. Ticks feed on the blood of their hosts and, as a result, are widespread on animals with fur that they may hide in. Ticks are divided into two types: hard-bodied and soft-bodied species. 

Ticks can carry diseases depending on their geographic location. The most frequent of them is Lyme Disease, widespread in heavily forested regions with significant deer populations. Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichia, two tick-borne illnesses, are also widespread in the Fresno area.

  • Egg
  • Larva
  • Nymph
  • Adult

Ticks are more common during the warmer months since it is when many species hatch. On the other hand, Ticks may be found in most parts of the United States at any time of year. 

Removing Tick From a Dog!

What Are The Causes of Tick Bites in Dogs?

Finding a tick is hard, and removing one is even harder unless you know how to do it. Ticks are incredibly tiny (they can be as small as a pinhead) and easy to miss until they’re stuffed with blood, which happens once they’ve been on your dog’s skin for several hours or longer. So, you should always check your dog for ticks after you’ve been outdoors in tick-infested areas such as forests and wooded areas, gardens, tall grasses, beach grass, and rock walls. 

Tick bites can happen anywhere on your dog’s body, but they prefer warm, tucked-away areas. When checking your dog for ticks, always examine your dog’s head, neck, feet (in between toes), armpits, and ears closely by moving your fingers over your dog’s body. Please pay particular attention to bumps or swollen areas as ticks hide underneath the fur, making it hard to spot them. 

What are some Symptoms of Ticks in Dogs?

Some of the symptoms of ticks in dogs are:

  • Lethargy
  • Inflammation or redness on the skin
  • Stiffness
  • Joint Pain 
  • Swollen joints
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Disinterested to move, eat
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Tools Needed to Remove a Tick from a Dog?

Tools which you need to remove ticks from a dog are:

A pair of rubber or latex gloves
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Rubbing alcohol
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An antiseptic liquid or antibiotic ointment
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Tweezers or a tick removing tool
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Steps To Remove A Tick From Your Dog

Know everything about ticks!

Locate the Tick

  • With your fingertips, comb over their fur. Next, gently press the skin to feel for any lumps. Ticks can range in size from a pinhead to a grape. Next, check their feet (particularly between their toes), their ears, and the area around their face and neck.
  • Split your dog’s fur so you can see their skin if you notice a lump. Look for a bug that is black, brown, or grayish-brown in color. You may observe the tick’s body, or you may also notice its legs.

Put on the gloves

  • The first step is to keep yourself safe when removing the tick from your dog. Disposable gloves are the ideal option since they can be promptly discarded after use, preventing the spread of infection or sickness.

Keep your dog steady

  • When deciding how to extract a tick from a dog, keep in mind that they must remain steady at all times. 
  • A friend or family member’s additional set of hands to stabilize your dog and lavish them with attention and affection will make all the difference during the procedure. 
  • However, if your dog refuses to sit still and appears to be upset, don’t force it! Instead, seek the assistance of your veterinarian.

Use a Tick removal kit

  • Get your tick removal instrument and put it around the area of the tick closest to your dog’s skin after your dog is motionless. 
  • You can take the tool straight out, but a piece of the tick may remain within the skin. To dislodge the tick from the dog’s skin, spin the instrument consistently in either an anticlockwise or clockwise manner. 
  • Ensure you don’t catch their skin in the process! If the head and mouthparts are mistakenly left in, an infection may occur, necessitating immediate veterinarian treatment.

Dispose of the tick

  • You shall now dispose of the tick in an enclosed jar, zip lock pouch. 
  • Pour some rubbing alcohol to kill the tick. 

Note: Do not throw the tick away.

Disinfect affected area, tools, and hand

  • After you’ve plucked the tick from your dog’s skin, clean the afflicted region. 
  • Take them to the doctor immediately if it seems red, swollen, or seeping pus or fluid since these might be symptoms of an infection. 
  • Use your dog-friendly disinfectant to disinfect the area and the tick-removing instrument to prevent further infections.

Increase supervision on your dog

  • After the tick has been removed, keep a watch on your dog for the next week or two to ensure they don’t show any indications of Lyme illness. 
  • The following symptoms may appear if your dog has the disease: lethargy, fever, swollen/stiff joints, trouble breathing, and loss of appetite. 
  • Take your dog to the veterinarian along with the removed tick you’ve kept in a jar or a zip-locked pouch if you have any concerns. Taking the tick to the vet will help him diagnose the issue precisely.

Pro-Tips:

  •  It is recommended to use a hairdryer on fluffy dogs to check for ticks with ease.
  •  Some dogs scratch and bite the places where there are ticks, making it easy to identify them.

What NOT to Do to Remove Tick from Your Dog

We already know how to remove ticks from your dog’s body methodically. Hence, it is essential to know what not to do to remove a tick from your dog’s body. The DON’Ts are:

  • Lighted Cigarette or Hot Match: The fume may cause the tick to vomit inside the dog’s body, causing more harm to your dog. 
  • Nail Polish, Vaseline: These will also cause the tick to vomit inside the dog’s body, triggering the tick toxicity. 
  • Squishing the Tick: Do not squish the tick while the head is still inside. The toxic body fluids of the tick will lead to infection. 
  • Removing Tick with Fingers: Ticks should not be removed with your fingers. Use a tissue or paper towel if you do this as well. After that, please wash your hands with soap and water to disinfect them. Tick saliva or blood on your fingertips is not something you want. Also, remember to disinfect your dog’s bite area.

What to Do If the Head of the Tick Gets Rooted in Your Dog’s Skin

Ticks do not have heads. The mouth part digs inside the skin that, if left while pulling out the tick, can cause danger to the dog. If the mouth part remains inside, the toxic fluids from the tick’s body may release into your dog’s body, causing lethargy, redness, inflammation, fever, fatigue, and many more. 

How Long Can a Tick Survive After Being Removed from a Dog? 

Ticks cannot survive for long without a host and humidity and will die within 8 hours. Also, it cannot survive if the humidity is less than 90%. However, if the area is moist, it can stay up to 3 days. Another condition of surviving more than 3 days is if the tick recently had a blood meal. 

How to Prevent Future Tick Bites On Your Dog In The First Place?

Focusing on food, topical preventatives, and the environment of your dog can prevent ticks naturally on dogs:

Food

Garlic: Garlic repels fleas and ticks because its odor penetrates your dog’s skin. Garlic isn’t poisonous to your dog! Instead, it’s an excellent way to supplement your dog’s nutrition. The trick is to give your dog the proper amount of garlic – around 1/3 teaspoon of fresh chopped garlic per 10 pounds of body weight.

ACV: Give your dog 1/2 teaspoon every 25 pounds of body weight per day. It should be added to your dog’s food or water.

Topical Preventatives

Herbal Flea Tick Powder: There is a variety of herbal flea and tick powders and sprays. To keep ticks at bay, most contain herbal mixtures.

Herbal flea and Tick Collars: You can prepare your herbal flea and tick collar:

  • Mix 2 tbsp almond oil, 2 drops palo santo essential oil, or 2 drops rose geranium essential oil.
  • A few drops on your dog’s collar or a bandana should be enough.
  • When your dog enters the house, remove the collar or bandana.
  • Weekly, reapply essential oil on the collar or bandana.

Tick collars made from herbs or essential oils are also available. Wintergreen, pennyroyal, and clove essential oils should all be avoided. These oils are harmful to your dog and should not be used. 

Tick Shampoo: Make your tick shampoo by following these steps:

  • Add a few drops of palo santo essential oil to your favorite organic lavender shampoo and mix well.
  • Allow 20 minutes for the suds to rest on your dog before rinsing.

Citrus Repellent: You can prepare your citrus repellent with the use of lemon. These are the following steps to follow –

  • Take a pint jar, fill lemons which are quarterly cut. 
  • Pour boiling water into the jar and let it sit overnight. 
  • Pour the liquid into a spray bottle the next day. 
  • Spray the solution in your dog’s body. Be mindful around eyes and nose.

Pro tips: 

  • Dab the solution behind the ears. 
  • Spray the solution around his head, blocking the eyes and nose. 
  • Spray the solution in the paw pads and below nails. 
  • Spray the solution in the armpit.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE): DE comes in the form of a fine white powder. It’s the petrified remnants of diatoms, small water organisms.

  • Purchase diatomaceous earth that is safe to eat.
  • Start at the tail and sprinkle a tiny quantity on your dog.
  • Hold back the coat so the powder doesn’t end up on his skin.
  • The powder will pierce ticks’ protective structures.
  • They will perish as a result of dehydration.

It’s harmless for your dog, although it might make his skin dry. So don’t use it too much, and avoid getting it in his eyes, nose, or mouth.

Preventing Ticks from Your Dog’s Play Area

Here are 2 ways you can prevent ticks from getting in your dog’s play area:

Nematodes: Tick larvae are a food source for nematodes. This ends the parasite’s life cycle and kills it. Beneficial nematodes are soil-dwelling tiny worm-like creatures. They consume fleas and ticks, as well as a variety of garden pests.

They are pre-assembled and ready to use. First, follow the package’s instructions for adding water. Then, using a hose sprayer or a watering bucket, spray them all over your yard.

Diatomaceous Earth (DE): Use DE that has been approved for human consumption and sprinkle it about your yard. The powder kills ticks and fleas, but pets and humans are not affected. It also won’t harm helpful earthworms. It also has minerals that are beneficial to your garden.

Do Chemical Tick Repellents Affect the Dog’s Body?

Many chemical tick repellents might be harmful to your dog. Here are some insect repellent spot-on sprays and collars that a vet may prescribe:

  • Frontline
  • Advantix
  • Seresto
  • Advantage

These chemicals are all harmful to dogs and can have dangerous adverse effects. Oral flea and tick preventives are also available. You give them once a month or three times a year. Some of the brands are:

  • Nexgard 
  • Bravecto 
  • Simparica

These medications circulate in the bloodstream of your dog. Once in the bloodstream, they kill the insect by targeting its nervous system. As a result, they may also be hazardous to your dog. The symptoms which your dog might show are:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures

What are the Types of Tick Diseases that Could Occur in Dogs?

Different types of ticks are specific to certain areas and carry particular diseases. Here are some of the common tick-borne disorders you should know about and where they’re most often found.

Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi)

Type of Tick: Deer tick or black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis)

High Incidence Areas: Northeast and upper midwest US; now becoming endemic in western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh.

Anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum or Anaplasma platys)

Type of Tick: Blacklegged or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis or Ixodes pacificus)

High Incidence Areas: Northeast and upper midwest, Pacific coast

Ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichiosis canis)

Type of Tick: Lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum)

High Incidence Areas: South-central and the eastern US

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (Rickettsia rickettsii)

Type of Tick: American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus), Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor Anderson)

High Incidence Areas: Arkansas, Missouri, Delaware, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Tennessee

Babesiosis (Babesia microti)

Type of Tick: Blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis)

High Incidence Areas: Northeast and upper midwest

American Canine Hepatozoonosis (Hepatozoon canis or Hepatozoon americanum)

An emerging disease that is very rare but worth considering because it’s not spread by a tick bite but by dogs eating the infected ticks

  • This happens when dogs remove ticks off their own body or if they eat prey that has ticks.
  • It can be a highly debilitating disease. So, it is essential to remove ticks from your dogs before they do it themselves!

High Incidence Areas: South-central and the southeastern US

Note: Ticks can also bite humans, irritating. It can make a human sick, just as it does to dogs. Hence, you must also check with a doctor if your dog has been infested with a tick. There are chances of you being infected. 

Final Thoughts

Being a responsible pet parent, you must look after your dog regularly. His health is essential. Ticks can be hazardous to your dog if not prevented early or cured after being infested. Follow the steps to remove ticks from your dog and avoid the chemicals. Chemicals can also affect your dog adversely. Remember to keep your dog’s play area tick-free. 

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