How to spot and remove ticks from your pet

identifying and removing ticks

With spring in the air, your furry friend will be keen to adventure outdoors and enjoy some fun in the sun. But, it’s important to remember spring is also the time when ticks are at their most active and can be found in grassy areas. Just waiting to feed on your pet!

If you come across ticks on your pet, you’ll need to know how to remove them in the right way. Otherwise, you risk leaving part of the tick in your pet’s skin and this can lead to health problems.

What Does a Tick Look Like?

Not all ticks will look the same and they can vary in size according to their age and whether they have recently fed off your pet. So you could come across a tick that is the size of pin prick or the size of a finger nail!  Their colour can differ a lot too, from light cream to brown or grey. Shape-wise, they are usually round or oval and the legs of the tick will not be visible to you.

Ticks prefer areas where there is less hair and better access to their host’s blood supply so you may find them on certain areas of your pet’s body, including their inside legs, underbelly, face and neck areas.

How to Remove a Tick

Any ticks that you find on your pet will need to be removed but there is a certain way to go about this safely and effectively. Before you try to do this, you will need to have the right kind of tool at hand to make this possible. Don’t try to remove ticks with just your hands, or to pull or scrape them off your pet’s skin. It’s also a bad idea to try to suffocate ticks using Vaseline. If you don’t have suitable tools to use, it’s better to go to your vet as you could end up causing unnecessary problems for your pet in attempting to remove a tick.

The easiest option is to use a specialised tickremover tool that will allow you to remove all of the tick in one piece, without leaving anything behind. This is the same kind of tool that your vet would use if you took your pet to them to get a tick removed.

Take hold of the tick as close to your pet’s skin as you can, without squeezing the tick or getting hold of the tick’s body.  The key is to try to simultaneously twist and move the tick away from your pet’s body, using gentle pressure. Being too forceful makes it more likely that some part of the tick will be left behind.

If you don’t have a tick removing tool to hand, you could use tweezers instead, but this is a more difficult option as you can’t rely on it to do the bulk of the work for you.

After the tick is removed, wash the area and use a pet friendly antiseptic wipe to reduce the chance of infection. If your pet shows signs of being unwell in the days afterwards, speak to your vet as there is a small chance of them developing Lyme Disease, which can be transmitted after a tick has latched onto their skin.

What if the Tick Isn’t Fully Removed?

Despite your best efforts, it may be the case that the tick is not removed as a whole and this is more likely if you’re not using a tick remover tool. There is a risk of infection and other complications, if any part of the tick is left behind in the skin. It’s a good idea to let your vet take over at this point to prevent any problems that may arise.