If you find a tick, remain calm. You can safely remove a tick using gloves, tweezers, antiseptic, and rubbing alcohol. There are three steps to removing a tick.
Put on rubber gloves — thin garden gloves may also work — part your dog’s fur, and use the tweezers to grab the tick as close to your dog’s skin as you can. Do your best to not pinch your pup’s skin, as this could rupture the tick or cause your dog to try and run. When you have a good grip on the tick, slowly pull outward. You don't want to split the tick or leave any pieces of it behind.
The next step is disposal. If you want to take the tick to the vet to be tested for diseases, drop it into a small, sealable cup. If you don’t want it tested, you can either flush it down the toilet or drop it into rubbing alcohol to kill it and then flush it or throw it away. However you choose to dispose of the tick, make sure there’s no chance it can reattach to your dog or you.
The last step is to apply antiseptic to the area and ensure it’s clean. Remember to look out for any potential signs or symptoms of tick-borne illness. Also, keep in close communication with your vet should any problems arise. If you aren’t sure you got all of the tick during removal, you can always schedule a vet visit to make sure there are no traces left.
One of the most effective ways to prevent tick- and mosquito-borne illnesses, as well as fleas, is to administer a monthly preventative recommended by your veterinarian. There are several types available, including topical treatments, oral chews, and collars. According to MetLife Pet claims across the U.S., flea and tick medications can cost pet parents up to $450 a year.2
Most flea medications are also effective at preventing ticks. Flea and tick medications can be combined with heartworm medication as well, making a preventative regimen easier to maintain. Even if they’re on a preventative, it’s still important to check your pet after they’ve spent time outside.
Ticks are most active in the spring, summer, and fall — although, this may vary slightly depending on where you live. Ticks can live in grass, leaves, and tall brush while they wait to attach themselves to a host. When your dog is out playing in the yard, ticks may seize the opportunity to attach themselves to and feed off your pup.
Aside from arming your pet against fleas and ticks, your yard is another line of defense. To make your landscape less appealing to fleas and ticks, consider the following:
- Use fences or other buffers — especially between your property and wooded areas — to discourage wild animals who may be carrying ticks from coming into your yard.
- Ensure your garbage bins are tightly shut and the area around them is clean to avoid attracting wild animals.
- Use wood chips, gravel, or pet-safe mulch to help decrease the number of ticks coming onto your property.
- Utilize a pet-friendly, outdoor pest spray solution to keep fleas and ticks at bay. Ask your veterinarian for recommendations.
While you can’t entirely prevent your pet from encountering ticks, you can remain vigilant and know what to look for. A monthly preventative tick treatment remains one of the best forms of protection against ticks on dogs.
MetLife Pet Insurance offers an add-on wellness plan that can help cover parasite prevention — like flea and tick medicine. Dog insurance may also help cover treatments if your dog becomes sick.
Enjoy all of the pawsome activities the outdoors have to offer! After being outside, make checking for ticks part of your routine, and consider enrolling in a dog insurance policy to help protect your furry friend. Get a quote today!