Six Steps to Rid Dogs and Cats of Parasites
To check your dog for ticks, run your hands over his entire body —back, belly, armpits, between the toes, on the legs, around the face and inside the ears. If you feel a bump or a swollen area, push the hair aside to see if a tick has dug into your dog’s skin.
Ticks can be as small as a head of a pin. They are brown, tan or black and have eight legs.
If you see an attached tick on your dog, you can seek veterinary assistance to ensure proper removal (and examination) of the tick. Your veterinarian can let you know what kind of tick is on your dog and make sure the entire parasite is removed.
If you are unable to visit your veterinarian and need to remove the tick on your own, make sure to have the following on hand: gloves (ticks can transmit disease to you, too), tick remover tweezers, antiseptic, rubbing alcohol and a Ziploc bag.
How to Remove a Tick
- Using the tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible without pinching the skin.
- Pull the tick out by exerting slow but firm pressure until the tick’s head is released. Do not twist or turn the tweezers as you exert pressure. Make sure you have removed the entire tick.
- Drop the tick in the Ziploc bag with some of the rubbing alcohol inside. The alcohol will kill the tick. Seal the bag and hold on to in case you need to show it to your veterinarian.
- Clean your dog’s skin with the antiseptic.
- Clean the tweezers with the rubbing alcohol.
- Take off the gloves and wash your hands.
Keep an eye on the spot where the tick was to make sure irritation does not appear. Check the area for the following week.
Lyme disease, caused by bacteria carried by deer ticks, is the most common insect-borne affliction for dogs and is most prevalent during the fall and spring months.
Symptoms of Lyme disease can take time to appear, so watch your dog for any signs of infection, such as lameness, arthritis, fever, fatigue, loss of appetite and a reluctance to move. Contact your veterinarian immediately with any concerns.