Autumn is tick season, although ticks may persist all year round.   Ticks tend to attach to dogs’ ears, head, neck and face.   Ticks may be as small as a period on this paper or as large as a button on a telephone.

Removing a tick is a simple process.  NEVER bring a lighter, extinguished match, or flame to your pet.  Using tweezers or hemostats, simply pluck the tick as close to the skin where it is attached.   If your pet’s hair is long, you may saturate the area with alcohol to better see where the tick is attached to the skin.  Do not squeeze the body of the tick as you remove it.

When the tick has been removed in its entirety, including the head and mouthparts, it may leave behind a small wound.  This is ok and indicates that the whole tick has been detached.  If the entire tick was not removed, and you think some of the tick remains, do not continue to pick at it.  The inflammation and trauma induced by continuing to dig at the skin will drive the remaining portion of the tick deeper.  The first attempt at removal is the most successful.  Dispose of the tick properly in a sealed plastic bag in the garbage.

Next, call the veterinarian to discuss future testing for lyme and other tick borne diseases and to review methods of tick prevention for your pet.

Mia K. Frezzo, DVM