Removing Ticks

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Dog Rescue Pages Written by Ray of The Dog Rescue Pages

A tick looks like a tiny spider when it first jumps onto a dog but once it's attached itself and is full of blood it becomes the size of a small pea and pinkish-silver coloured. They can be found on any animal including humans.

The old advice of letting ticks fall off by themselves is now out of date as some now carry the bacteria for Lyme disease which was first seen in the US about 30 years but is now in the UK. It's regarded as a very serious problem in the US and can lead to arthritis and heart problems. Only a small proportion of ticks here carry the disease but some areas are worse affected than others. It takes at least 48 hours for the bacteria to be transmitted to the animal so the usual advice now is to remove any tick as quickly as possible.

One way to remove them is to kill them first by covering with vaseline, cooking oil, or grease, which causes them to suffocate or to spray with insecticide. After leaving them for a while (a couple of hours) you can then pull them off with finger-nails, tweezers or special tick removers from pet shops. Grip them as close to the skin as possible without squeezing the grey part, and pull. Try to get the whole thing out including the jaws. When it's out, clean with antiseptic and wash your hands.

Some people believe that using the above method may cause the tick to 'vomit' bacteria into the dog. See the Lyme Disease Action webpage. If this is a concern try using a tool to remove the Tick. See the link below for photo's.

Ticks are most common in summer so it's worth checking your dog over every time it's been out. Often you can catch them before they get a chance to attach.

Tick Tick Removal Tools at the BADA UK
Pictures of removal devices. You can also use a plastic spoon with a slot cut into it.

Script updated: January 1st 2023

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