Ticks aren't just irritants; they transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis and other infections. Prompt and proper tick removal helps prevent disease, while improper techniques increase the chances of disease transmission. Check your dog thoroughly for ticks after going through high grass, brush or woods, even in the winter.
Use a commercial tick-removal tool or tweezers to get a wood tick off your dog, and wear protective gloves. Follow the manufacturer's instructions when using a tick-removal tool. When using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your dog's skin as possible. Pull the tick straight out with a steady movement. Take care not to twist or crush it, as this increases saliva output and thus the risk of disease transmission. If the tick's head remains in your dog's skin, you may try to remove it with the tweezers but, if you leave it alone, it will come out on its own.
Drop the tick into a jar with a bit of rubbing alcohol in it. This kills the tick quickly. Seal the jar, jot the date on it and keep the tick so you can have it tested if your dog develops signs of infection, such as redness, swelling or discharge. Sterilize the tick bite with rubbing alcohol. Monitor the site of the bite for any indication of infection for several days. Make a vet appointment if you have any cause for concern.
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