What to Do If You Find a Tick on Your Dog

Ticks are not only a nuisance, but these pesky pests pose a danger by carrying a number of diseases, like Lyme disease. That said, if you suspect your dog has a tick, don’t panic. We’ve got the tips to help you deal with these pesky insects and keep them far away from your precious pup.

Signs of a Tick Infestation
First off, how do you know if your dog has a tick? Ticks are common in warm, humid environments and often reside in areas with thick vegetation. One sign that your dog has ticks might be seeing a tick in your home. Just because the tick isn’t on your pup’s body, doesn’t mean there aren’t more of the blood suckers hiding in his fur. Ticks are attracted a dog’s furry coat, so seeing a tick in your surroundings means it’s worth taking a closer look at your pup. Other signs your dogs has ticks are fever, unexplained scabs and frequent shaking of the head—the last of which may indicate a tick stuck in your dog’s ear canal (or can be a sign of an ear infection). See a vet if your dog has a tick in his ear canal.

Removing the Tick
Removing a tick van be done at home or with the help of a veterinarian. You may have heard putting a flame to the tick or nail polish as a method of tick removal, but these are NOT advisable methods! Not only do they not work, but you could end up hurting your dog in the process. Before attempting to remove your dog’s tick yourself, put on some rubber gloves and grab your tools: tweezers or a tick-remover tool, rubbing alcohol and a jar. If using tweezers, disinfect the tweezers with rubbing alcohol and get a good grip on the tick’s head as close to the skin as possible, but don’t squeeze it. Gently pull straight upwards to remove the tick. If using a commercial tick remover, gently slide the tool under the tick until the tick comes free from your dog’s skin. But wait—don’t squish or dispose of the tick just yet. Crushing a tick is not a good idea because it could release fluids that carry disease. Instead, keep the intact tick in a jar so that if your dog shows signs of illness, you can take the tick to a vet to test for possible diseases. Keep an eye on your pup for the next few days to watch for signs of infection, such as if the bitten area becomes red and sore.

Preventing Ticks
Ticks usually take at least a few hours to release diseases into its host, so spotting a tick soon after it latches onto your dog can prevent any disease from developing. After outdoor activities, check your pup immediately and thoroughly for ticks. Mow your lawn regularly to prevent ticks from hiding in tall grasses in your backyard. Medications such as Frontline Plus can kill and prevent against ticks, as well as collars such as this one.

The idea of ticks might be worrisome to you, but you shouldn’t let the little bugs cause you stress. While annoying, they’re usually harmless, especially if you know what signs to look for.