Tick techniques

June 11th, 2013

Dear Dogs Life,

What is the best way to remove ticks?

 – Rion Stretton, via Facebook

Dr Michael Archinal says: Ticks are very tenacious parasites that are very determined to hold on and attach to your dog’s skin despite our many and varied efforts to remove them. The reason ticks are so hard to remove is that they have tripod-style mouth parts that attach themselves strongly, deep into the skin.

I have found the easiest way to remove them is to grasp them with your fingernails near the skin and twist firmly while pulling them backwards. Otherwise, putting two credit cards together and “pinching” them off can work quite well. There are also special tick-removing tweezers that I highly recommend if you live in a tick-prone region.

Do not worry if, when removing the tick, the body is removed but the head is left. It will not keep feeding and will not continue to secrete poison. The poisons are contained in the saliva of the tick that is secreted while feeding. The head will then shrivel and can be easily picked off in a few days, like a scab.


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