A engorged tickIf you have had to remove a tick from your pet (or a person), you can attest to the fact the little bloodsuckers are just plain gross.

Unfortunately, we know that if you are reading this, chances are you have found a tick on your pet and don’t know what to do. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered. Below you will find a step-by-step explanation of how to remove a tick from your dog or cat, and what to watch for after the pest is removed.

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

You will need a few basic supplies before you tackle the tick:

  • Fine-tipped Tweezers

  • A container with a lid

  • Cotton swab or balls

  • Rubber gloves

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • A partner to help secure and soothe your pet throughout the process

As a precaution, be sure to wear rubber gloves through the extraction process to ensure that you do not come into contact with the removed tick or the affected area.

Step 2: Clean the Affected Area

Clean the area around the tick thoroughly with a rubbing alcohol soaked swab or cotton ball. Wait a moment or blow on the area to allow the alcohol to dry before you begin.

Step 3: Remove the Tick

Use the tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. While the tick is firmly grasped in the tweezers, pull directly upwards in one smooth, steady motion. Try not to squeeze or pop the tick, and do not try to rock or twist the tick from the skin.

It is possible for the tick to “break off” if you do not pull it straight out as directed. If this happens, the tick’s head will remain in your pet and you will need to bring your pet in to have it extracted. The embedded head can be just as problematic as the rest of the tick, so do not assume that just getting the body is “good enough.”

Step 4: Tick Disposal

Dispose of the tick by dropping it into the container of rubbing alcohol and sealing with the lid. You’ll want to date the container and store it for a week or so to see if your pet becomes sick. If your pet does become sick, your veterinarian may want to run tests on the tick.

Do not  dispose of the tick in any other way. Tick’s are tenacious, and even flushing it down the toilet will not kill it. The only other acceptable means of killing a tick is burning it.

Step 5: Clean and Disinfect

Once you’ve removed the tick, clean the area once again with rubbing alcohol, and offer plenty of praise. You will also want to apply a warm, damp compress to the area to reduce any pain or swelling. If you do notice any swelling, discharge, odor, or signs of infection, contact your vet immediately.

You will also want to make sure that you wash your own hands with an antibacterial soap and sterilize your tweezers by boiling them or soaking them in rubbing alcohol. Don’t forget to dispose of the cotton swabs and any other affected materials, too.

If you have any other questions about tick removal, or if there are complications, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We know that extracting a tick can be gross and stressful in equal measure, and we are here to help.