Dealing with ticks and tick bites is something that all pet owners have to do from time to time. If you are lucky enough to live in an area where your fur babies can get out and about in nature, ticks will become a regular issue in your life. Thankfully, as annoying as ticks are, they are easy to deal with once you know how. Furthermore, there are several steps you can take to prevent ticks from attaching themselves to your pets (and yourself) in the first place.
Why Prevent Tick Bites
Prevention is the best cure. This old saying holds true in so many ways, and it’s equally true about ticks. While these small, eight-legged arachnids can look harmless, they are one of the few bugs that are equally responsible for debilitating illnesses and infections in animals and people. Preventing ticks from attaching to your pet and staying there will minimize the chances of your pets getting infections or more serious illnesses from ticks.
The main way to prevent ticks is to get tick treatments from your vet or local pet supply store. However, you can also minimize the chances of your pets picking up ticks by keeping them out of dense foliage and tall grass during the seasons when ticks are most active. Ticks are most active between 6 am and 12 noon during warm, humid days. If you live in a northerly area with hard winters, ticks will be most active in late spring and summer when the heat and humidity are right.
How To Remove Ticks From Your Pets Safely
Of course, no matter what you do, there is always a chance that a tenacious tick will manage to latch onto your pet—especially in areas where fur is less dense, such as the ears, belly, and groin. If you find a tick on your pet or yourself, you must remove it quickly and safely. This is a relatively simple process.
How Not To Remove A Tick
While there has been researching into new ways to remove ticks, including using a local anesthetic, there are also myths about removing ticks that can be dangerous. For example, you may have heard that applying Vaseline or other petroleum jelly products can suffocate a tick and make it fall off. This is not necessarily true, as it is hard to properly apply enough petroleum jelly to smother a tick. And it will only make the tick harder to remove. You may also have heard that hot metal or fire can drive a tick out, but this is untrue and risks injuring your pet further.
How To Properly Remove A Tick
The most effective and safe way to remove ticks is to carefully pull them off. You can do this with a pair of tweezers or a specialized tick removal tool. These tools can be purchased online or from a pet supply store. When you find a tick, you should follow this procedure to quickly and safely remove the tick without risking infection or further injury to your pet:
- Wash your hands to remove bacteria, as this process will create a small, open wound.
- Grip the tick firmly by the head, as close to your pet’s skin as you can. Be careful not to squeeze the tick’s body, however, as this can force internal material from the tick into your pet’s bloodstream and will drastically increase the risk of infection.
- Pull the tick away from your pet’s body with a firm but gentle motion, keeping the trajectory straight.
- Dispose of the tick and clean the wound.
Ticks are nasty little creatures we have to live with. But by following this procedure, you can safely remove ticks and prevent unnecessary risk of infection or disease transmission.