I Found a Tick On My Dog! What Do I Do Now?! by Dr. Chantal Rittwage

Check for ticks, by to running your hands over the whole body, every time your pet comes back from an area you know is inhabited by ticks (ie: areas with tall grass and low lying shrubs).  Ticks attach most frequently around the pet’s head, ears, neck, and feet, but that doesn’t mean they can’t go elsewhere. For more info visit here. 

Now that you’ve found the little blood-sucker, you can either contact your veterinarian to have a professional remove the tick or you can follow the steps outlined below.  It is important to remove the tick as quickly as possible as a tick carrying disease causing bacteria must feed on your pet for greater than 18-24hrs before it can transmit the bacteria.

  1. Use blunt tweezers, “Tick Twisters”, or gloved fingers to handle the tick.  If the tick’s saliva comes in contact with broken skin, you could be susceptible to dangerous bacteria infecting the tick (ie: Lyme disease, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, etc)
  2. Dab rubbing alcohol on the tick.
  3. Take hold of the tick as close to the dog’s skin as you can, in order to avoid detaching the head from the body.
  4. Pull straight out and with an even, constant pressure.  Do not twist or jerk the tick; this could break off the mouthparts in your pet’s skin and could cause infection.
  5. It may take a minute or two of constant slow pulling before the tick lets go.
  6. Once removed, disinfect the bite area and your hands with soap and water.

Please do not twist, jerk, burn, heat, squeeze or smother the tick with grease.  These can all result in the tick spitting up its last meal back into your dog and increasing the risk of infecting him/her with nasty bacteria causing disease such as Lyme disease.

So, now you’ve removed the whole tick. What next?

We are fortunate enough in this area, that the Genetics Lab in the Department of Biology at Mt. Allison University is currently conducting research in order to determine the percentage of NB ticks that can transmit Lyme disease.  This means that you can submit your tick to find out if it is a carrier of Lyme disease and only be charged the shipping fee.  To do this:

  1. Wrap the removed tick in a moistened paper towel, place in a Ziploc bag and freeze until you can bring it into your veterinarian.
  2. Label the bag with the date, name and species of your pet, and where you think your pet picked up the tick.
  3. Bring your tick into your veterinarian and fill out a form.