Finding out that our cat or dog has a tick in their skin is always unpleasant experience. However, there is no need to immediately rush to the veterinarian for help. We are providing you with this simple guide on how to remove a tick from your cat or dog. Please read it carefully, and if you still don’t feel comfortable to do it yourself, call your veterinarian.
You will need:
- A pair of latex or similar type of gloves
- A pair of specially designed tick-removal tweezers or other sharp-pointed tweezers
- Airtight jar
- Rubbing alcohol (optional)
- Magnifying glass (optional)
- Cotton swab or a piece of paper towel
- Mild soap and water
The Procedure of Removing a Tick
- With latex or similar gloves on, take a pair of specially-designed tick removal tweezers or any other sharp-pointed tweezers and grasp the tick at the point of attachment as close to the skin as possible. Be careful not to squeeze the body of the tick, because this could provoke the tick to regurgitate more saliva and potential pathogens into the skin.
- Pull the tick out from the skin slowly with an even pressure. Don’t try to twist or turn the tick . Sometimes pulling the tick out leaves a visible hole in the skin, and that is normal. This just means that a small piece of skin was left on a tick’s head. If the lesion starts to bleed, press it lightly with a cotton swab or a piece of a paper towel. Check the spot to confirm that no parts of tick’s head are left in the skin. If you notice an almost black very small dot in the middle of the wound use the tweezers to gently pull it out. Use magnifying glass if needed.
- Put the tick in an airtight jar in case for an identification if the illness occurs. Adding some rubbing alcohol to the jar will kill the tick quickly, but this step is not necessary. Label the container with the date and store it.
- After removing the tick, clean the area with mild soap and water. Keep an eye on this spot for few days for any signs of irritation or infection. If the area looks infected, swollen, or irritated after a few days, call your veterinarian.
Do NOT use oil, nail polish remover, or any other kind of chemical to kill the tick while it’s still in the skin. This may cause the tick to regurgitate more saliva into the skin, thus increasing the risk of the infection.
Check your cats and dogs daily, especially in the spring when ticks are most common, and after playing in the grass.