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Ticks and your pets: How to remove them safely

As you may already be aware, ticks can be very unpleasant creatures for yourself and your pet. They crawl and climb up long grass and weeds, which is where they could easily attach themselves to your pets fur as they walk past.

Especially as the summer months near, it is common to want take your dog on lovely long woodland walks, however this is where your pet is most likely to catch ticks, so it is essential to know what to look out for, and how to check your pet over for ticks when they have returned from their walk.

Bacteria or parasites that are found in the ticks saliva could cause tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease. Your pet may show no symptoms of lyme disease, however they may experience fever and loss of appetite, or sore and swollen joints as a result.  

Symptoms of a tick bite

So you may suspect that your pet has been bitten. It is very important that you are aware of how to remove the tick safely and effectively. A red mark where the tick has been removed from, should disappear within a few days. If a few days have passed, and the mark is still there, you may need to contact your local vet practice for expert assistance as there is a chance the tick had been removed incorrectly and is still stuck in your pets skin. This could cause nasty skin reactions.

Advice on how to help your pet.

It is always recommended to check with your local vet for the best ways to remove or kill ticks, but there are a few things that you can do to check that your pet doesn’t have them.

Ensure to check your pets ears, neck, skin folds, stomach and any other crevices that may be of concern, every time you return from walks, especially if their walk has involved woody or grassy areas.

If you have a cat or a rabbit, they may also require checking regularly, especially if your cats loves to play outside a lot.   

If you are using tick removal products that you have purchased from your vets, it is important to be aware that no product will prevent 100% of ticks feeding. This is why it is essential to check their fur daily.

What to do if you find a tick on your pet?

Only if you are happy and comfortable to, should you attempt to remove the tick yourself. If you’re not comfortable with doing so, then please make an appointment at your vet clinic for them to remove it safely for you.

If you do decide to remove the tick yourself, you should ideally use a special tick removal fork. Ticks have tiny spines that hold themselves in place whilst they are feeding, so it is very important to twist the tick as you remove, and to never squeeze the tick.

Squeezing the tick can cause it to empty their stomach and salivary gland contents which increases the risk of diseases. Pulling the tick away from the skin risks leaving the mouthparts in the skin, and could cause infection. Never apply alcohol to the tick in an attempt to kill it, as this may have the same affect as squeezing, and may cause them to empty their stomach and glands.

Only once the tick has been fully removed from the pet, should you put it in alcohol, or seal tightly and dispose of down the loo. Never crush a tick with your fingers.

Remember, if you are ever unsure or are concerned about a reaction that your pet has got from a tick, please speak with your veterinary practice. They will be able to advise the best course of action and treatment to help your pet.