What is the best and safest technique for removing a tick from a pet?
The trick is to get the tick out fully intact without leaving anything behind. Ticks anchor their barbed mouthparts under the skin to gorge on blood because they need blood protein to grow and hatch their eggs. Left behind, the mouthparts can cause a foreign-body reaction, which is usually nothing more than a mild irritation.
A good pair of tweezers is the easiest tool for removal, but first, hit the tick with a brief blast of flea and tick spray. With the tweezers, grasp the tick by the head as close as you can get to where the mouthparts enter the skin, pull away gently and steadily, and then clean the entry point with a mild disinfectant. In a few minutes, the tick dies, the mouthparts release, and the critter can be pulled out whole. Don’t forget to check the dog over – where there’s one tick, there may be more.