What Kills Ticks Instantly?

Don't try to lure a tick out with matches, petroleum jelly or nail polish.
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It's wise to get in the habit of checking Pal -- and yourself -- for ticks after you've enjoyed a hike. Literally blood suckers, ticks can have serious consequences if they aren't removed quickly enough. If you have the right things in the medicine chest, it's easy to kill these bugs.

Search and Destroy

If you come across a tick on Pal, the first thing to do is remove the little sucker. Use your tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Gently and steadily pull the tick until he lets go; don't jerk or twist him because you risk leaving parts of his mouth in the skin. If some bits are left behind, remove them with tweezers. Rubbing alcohol or classic amber-colored Listerine mouthwash will instantly kill the tick. If your medicine chest doesn't have either option, you can wrap the tick in tape, essentially entombing him, and throw the wad in the garbage. After you've dispatched the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area using alcohol or soap and water.

Tick Tips

The best offense is a good defense. Tick preventives are available in a variety of forms, including spot on treatments, monthly oral medications and dips. When you return from one of your excursions, check inside Pal's ears, between his toes, in his armpits and around his neck. Keeping a supply of rubbing alcohol or Listerine on hand will be handy for him and you, should you come across a tick that needs to be disposed of. If Pal's vulnerable to picking up ticks during your outings, PetMD notes special medicated shampoos usually kill ticks on contact. Don't try to lure the tick out with remedies such as nail polish; you'll want to get him out of the skin quickly, before he can spread any illness to you or your pooch.