If your dog or cat spends any time outdoors, checking for ticks should be an important daily task that you practice. Ticks are dangerous and can pose a threat to humans and pets alike, causing thousands of tick-borne illnesses and infections every year. While ticks can be more active during the summer, some kinds of ticks are active year-round!
Finding and removing ticks can be an unpleasant experience. Luckily, the team at East Sacramento Veterinary Center is here to help with these important tips you need to know about tick removal:
Scan Your Pet For Bumps and Lumps
The first thing you will want to do when they come inside is to scan your pet’s body with your hand. Slowly run your fingers and palm along your pet’s body, and if you feel a bump or swollen area, stop and check that area for a burrowed tick. Don’t forget to check all areas of your pet, including the tail, between their toes, their stomach, around the face, snout, and ears (check inside the ears, too).
Ticks have eight legs and come in different shapes and sizes, including as tiny as a pin. They can range in color from brown, black, to tan, and can be tricky to spot.
Always use tweezers or a different tool when removing a tick from your pet. For an extra safety precaution, wear gloves as well. Never remove a tick with your bare hands.
When you find the tick on your pet’s skin, begin by pulling your pet’s fur apart. With the tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible, without pinching your pet. Pull upward and out in a steady, straight motion. Don’t wiggle or jerk, as this could spread potential infection from anything that is left behind. This will also prevent the tick’s mouth from sticking and staying in your pet’s skin.
You can also use a “tick hook” or a tick remover, such as these found on Amazon.
After you’ve removed the tick, carefully dispose of it and wash your hands immediately. Also, clean the site of the bite with a cotton ball and rubbing alcohol. Don’t forget to clean the tweezer or removal tool with disinfectant as well.
Keep a note of the date you found the tick. If your dog or cat starts showing signs of a tick-borne illness, contact your East Sacramento veterinarians right away. Symptoms include lethargy, swollen joints or lymph nodes, loss of appetite, and ongoing redness and irritation at the site of the bite.
The team at East Sacramento Veterinary Center takes the health and safety of your pets very seriously, and is here to help you in all pet wellness situations. If you believe your pet has been infected from a tick bite, contact us right away.