The most common parasites you are bound to find on your little furry friend, are ticks. Asides from the fact that these tiny bloodsuckers multiply very fast and burrow deep into your dog’s skin, they can also cause infections like Lyme disease.
One scary thing about ticks though, is that they are very very difficult to remove because their mouths are full of hooks. In fact, once a tick is hooked on, it never wants to let go. They’ll just keep sucking and causing discomfort to the poor dog.
Removing ticks can be a tricky job because if it isn’t done properly, the head of the tick will be left stuck in the dog’s skin while the body alone is detached. This happens because of the powerful hooking ability of ticks.
If this scenario occurs while you’re removing ticks then you have failed to restore comfort to your dog, and perhaps only succeeded in saving it a few pints of blood.
The above scenario is usually the case when using a tweezer. Though it may be the most common tool, it isn’t the most efficient. Most times you may detach the body of the tick alone, other times you may crush the tick and spill its body fluids onto your dog.
However, tweezers are the quickest and most common tick removal tools, but then are there any better options? And what do you do when there isn’t any tweezer at hand?
Best Alternative To Tweezers
It may interest you to know that there is a tool that can remove ticks from your dog much better than a tweezer. With this tool, you are guaranteed to remove the tick without the head getting stuck in.
The tool is called a tick removal tool (or kit if they are in a bundle). There are several low-cost tick removal tools for dogs. However, it’s advisable to get the whole kit as this would aid accuracy in relation to the size of the tick in question and its location on the dog’s skin.
A tick removal tool remains the best option to remove ticks from dogs. These tools may come in different sizes and shapes to facilitate ease of use, but they are specially crafted to remove ticks efficiently, leaving nothing behind. Most of them are shaped like a fork.
Asides from the benefit of having a variety of tools to use, a tick-removal kit may also contain a tick identification card, to help you identify the exact tick that is on your dog.
Other Methods To Remove Ticks Without Tweezers
There are several other methods people employ to remove ticks from their dogs besides using tweezers and tick removal tools. However, some of the methods are not very safe, and may not work as well as the tick removal tool would’ve.
However, most of them are cheap, as they entail using simple household items to get rid of the ticks.
Here are some of them.
Removing Ticks By Suffocation
There are a few ways this can be achieved.
1. Using Vaseline
Some pet owners use vaseline to remove ticks from their dogs. In this method, all you have to do is locate the tick, and then put some vaseline directly on it, making sure to cover it completely. With time, the tick will suffocate because ticks breathe through their skin. Once this happens it will detach itself from the dog and eventually die off. However, this process takes time.
2. Using Dish Soap
Here, you need two things – A dish soap and a cotton wool/ball. All you have to do is soak the cotton ball in the dish soap and then apply directly to the tick. This method takes less time when compared to the vaseline method, as the soap not only suffocates the tick but also reacts with its skin, causing discomfort. In a short while, the tick would fall off.
3. Using Olive Oil
In this method, all you do is apply olive oil to the tick’s body, however, you can. This will form a coating on the tick’s skin, blocking access to air. With time, it’ll back off and you can kill it. This method however wastes time more than the dish soap method.
For every suffocation technique, most times the tick may stubbornly react to the substance applied to it and burrow even deeper into the dog’s skin, especially if such a method takes time to act.
Sewing Needle Method
In this method, all you need is a sewing needle, and there are two ways you can use this to remove ticks.
1. Pierce the tick (target the head if possible), and then pull it out.
2. Heat the needle and then place the hot part on the tick to force it to back out. This will kill the tick if it’s hot enough.
The hot sewing needle method is much better than the infamous cigarette or matchstick method since the tick can be targeted better. However, it is important that the tick’s head comes out.
Alcohol can be used as a suffocating agent, as well as a pesticide to kill the tick. There have been many reports that rubbing alcohol directly on ticks kills them. Some folks even claim it’s an instant kill.
Either way, its effectiveness will depend on the concentration of the alcohol, as well as the area of contact with the tick.
Using Special Dog Baths To Remove Ticks
This is one of the highly recommended ways of removing ticks, although it can be expensive. Here, all you have to do is prepare some special solution and bathe your dog in it, or just let your dog soak in it (if it’s a pool).
This method will save you the trouble of fishing out the ticks by yourself one by one. It is also guaranteed to kill all the ticks on your dog’s skin.
Several shampoos can be used for this purpose (usually the medicated ones). There are also homemade variants of these special solutions. For instance, mixing hot water and vinegar with liquid dish soap is said to work perfectly.
Comparison Of All Methods (Pros And Cons)
|Vaseline and Oil Methods||Clean methodLess chance of tick’s head getting stuck. Little or no chance of spilling tick’s juices on your dog’s skin/fur||Very time consuming (30 mins to 1 hour) The tick may stubbornly burrow even deeper into the dog’s skin Can only work on visible ticks|
|Dish Soap Method||Clean methodLess chance of tick’s head getting stuck Faster than vaseline and oil method (5 to 10 minutes)||The tick may burrow even deeper into the dog’s skin in reaction to the soap.This method isn’t good for some sensitive areas of the dog (such as the eye region)Can only work on visible ticks|
|Sewing needle method||Very CheapTickets can be pricked and pulled out directly, accurately works well for both small and large ticks at any location more precise than cigarette or matches methods||Time-consuming and stressful if the ticks are many chances of spilling tick’s body fluids onto your dog are very highCan only work on ticks you can seeYou can mistakenly pierce the dog|
|Alcohol Method||Very fastest chance of the tick burrowing into the dog’s skin in reaction to the alcohol clean and efficient method||A bit expensive only work for visible ticks alcohol may irritate the dog’s skin as well|
|Special Baths||No stress time-saving efficient in removing all ticks (both visible and hidden)Clean method almost zero chance of tick’s head getting stuck||expensive Special solutions may react with your dog’s skin too, depending on the chemicals contained in it.|
When removing ticks, it is important to consider your options very carefully. Whatever you decide should largely depend on what materials or tools you have at hand.
It’s also advisable to avoid using your bare hands, matches, and lit cigarettes to kill ticks on your dog.
If you don’t have a tick removal tool, then the next best option is a special solution bath.