Summer is a great time to get outside with your dog, and many state parks offer hiking trails where your pooch can roam free through bushes, trees and fields. As exciting and healthy as this is for your dog, it is more than likely to run into a few ticks in those tall grasses.
While monthly treatments of pet meds such as Frontline Plus will protect your pet from the majority of ticks and the diseases they carry, a few may still cling on. If you know how to remove a tick from your dog, both of you will be happier and healthier in the long run.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) says that while removing a tick is all well and good, throwing it in the trash or flushing it down the toilet is not going to kill it. The hardy insects have exoskeletons that are as solid as wood and cannot be crushed like a beetle, either. Before you begin the tick removal process, make sure you have a screw top jar with rubbing alcohol inside.
Tweezers are a good tool to use to remove a tick, but other products that are made specifically for the job can be effective, too. The best way to keep your dog still during the removal process is to have a helper hold it down. Dab some rubbing alcohol on the bite area, and grasp the tick as close to the dog’s skin as possible with the tweezers. Be careful in this step not to twist or jerk the tick, or squeeze it. If you twist, it may leave mouth parts that carry infective fluids in your dog. If you squeeze it, it could cause the fluids to come out of its mouth. Pull the tick out of the dog’s skin with steady, even pressure, and put it in the prepared jar.
Disinfect the bite area again and don’t try to pull out any remaining mouth parts – they may come out on their own with a warm compress. Besides Frontline Plus, there are a number of flea and tick prevention treatments for your dog. Bio Spot for Dogs kills the critters and their eggs, and repels mosquitoes. K9 Advantix II does all this and also kills lice. These treatments should be applied each month at least 24 hours before bringing your pet into the wilderness.