When removing ticks it is best to wear latex or rubber gloves to prevent any of the tick's blood from getting onto your skin because Lyme disease and other diseases could be spread this way.
Ticks should always be removed as soon as possible from your dog. Prompt, safe, complete removal of ticks helps prevent illness.
If you do not have a specific tick removing tool then tweezers may suffice but we do not recommend this method over the use of a specific tick removing device.
If you don't have a tick removal tool, grasp the tick firmly with tweezers where the tick's mouth meets the dog's skin. Slowly and steadily pull the tick, trying to get the whole tick at once. Don't twist the tick or jerk as you may break the tick's body and risk leaving it's head behind. After removing the tick, clean the area with an antibiotic, alcohol or another disinfectant. The tick should then be killed by soaking it in a jar of alcohol.
If part of the tick remains buried, try to get the rest out by using a needle boiled in water for five minutes, the way you would remove a wood splinter. Afterwards, cleanse and disinfect the area as before.
How NOT To Remove a Tick
Do not try to remove a tick by burning it off as this does not work, may hurt your dog and may cause the tick to regurgitate its potentially infectious fluids back into the skin. Similarly, do not apply surgical spirit, Vaseline, nail polish or in fact ANY substance or chemical to the tick. The application of any substance or any source of heat or cold can stress the tick and cause it to regurgitate the contents of its stomach into your dog, which may contain infective organisms. Surgical spirit, alcohol or general antiseptic should be applied to the bite site only after the tick has been removed.
Using a Tick Removal Tool
We recommend the Tick Twister tick removal tool. The Tick Twister is the safest way to remove ticks without leaving parts of the tick in the skin and is also the tool recommended by BADA-UK (Borreliosis and Associated Diseases Awareness UK). It does not use chemicals and it takes the tick away quickly, painlessly and safely. It does not squeeze the tick, thus reducing the risk of infection. The tool is designed by a Veterinarian.
The Tick Twister works via the two following principles: 1) Tick is gripped without compressing the tick's body 2) Tick is extracted by rotation (2-3 rotations) and a slight upward motion, not by pulling
Ask your vet about effective tick control (spray, powder) or anti-tick medication for dogs, especially if you often walk your dog in woodland areas or areas where there are high grasses. Dogs should be checked thoroughly for ticks after every such walk. Pay close attention to ears, face, eyes, legs, and belly. Ticks favour warm, safe nooks and crannies.
Find Out More
To find out more about ticks, their associated diseases and safe tick removal, please visit www.bada-uk.org. The organisation is now closed but a wealth of information is still online on their website.