Myth vs. Fact About How to Remove Ticks

TicksApril through November brings the kind of weather that gets you outdoors with your pet, but those are also the months when the threat of ticks is at its highest. Ticks aren’t just present in tall grasses and heavily wooded areas, either. They are found throughout your yard and neighborhood, and can attach themselves at any time during your outdoor fun time with your pet.

There are a lot of suggestions online and in the media about how to remove ticks once they are embedded in your pet’s skin or coat. The majority of these are myths and using them for tick removal could actually make the situation worse.

Myth 1: Use Petroleum Jelly

Some sources on tick removal suggest that covering the embedded tick with petroleum jelly will suffocate the tick and force it to back out. The fact is, petroleum jelly does not force the tick to back out and may actually cause the tick to release additional toxins into your pet’s body.

Myth 2: Use Nail Polish or Polish Remover

Due to its acidic properties, many believe that nail polish or nail polish remover is caustic to ticks and that covering the tick with either of these chemicals will force the tick to back out.

The truth is, nail polish and nail polish remover won’t get rid of the tick, can be harmful to your pet’s skin, and may cause chemical burns if applied to your pet’s body.

Myth 3: Use a Liquid Freezing Spray

Freezing a tick is often suggested as an effective way for tick removal. Using a chemical freezing spray, though, can be very dangerous to your pet’s skin and health. The aerosols and other ingredients in these freezing sprays can cause chemical burns on the skin as well as threaten your pet’s lung health when inhaled.

Myth 4: Burn It Off With a Match

One of the most prevalent myths regarding tick removal is the suggestion to burn the tick off with a match. Not only is it unsafe to have a lit match near your pet’s hair and skin, burning a tick’s body can cause it to pop and release toxins into the air that can be harmful to your pet.

How to Remove Ticks

The truth is, there’s only one safe and effective way to remove a tick, and this is it:

  1. Clean around the area with rubbing alcohol
  2. Grasp the tick with fine-tipped tweezers as close to the head as possible
  3. Pull the tick straight out of your pet’s skin without twisting it or severing the head from the body
  4. Re-clean the area with rubbing alcohol and give your pet plenty of praise
  5. Drown the tick in an airtight jar filled with rubbing alcohol – you may want to date the jar and save it until you’re certain that your pet is safe from any tick-borne illnesses

At Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital, we have tick removal tools available that are equally effective in removing ticks from your pet, and are happy to show you how they work.

If you have any other questions about tick removal, if the tick’s head gets stuck in your pet’s skin and you can’t remove it, or if you suspect that your pet is suffering from a tick-borne illness such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever, please give us a call. We’re here for you, whatever your need.