How to remove ticks from cats and dogs
If you’re the proud owner of a cat or dog, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself up against a nasty tick or two at some point during their lives.
Ticks are small, spider-like parasites that suck the blood of other animals.
Similar to spiders, they have eight legs, along with a body that gets larger and darker with more blood they suck (we didn’t tell you it was pleasant!).
Different to fleas, which can fly or jump onto your dog or cat, ticks drop or climb onto your pet when they brush past something they were sitting on.
Ticks are common in grassy and wooded areas as well as countryside gardens, but they’re also found in areas with deer, sheep, rabbits or hedgehogs.
While the parasites are active all year round, your pet is more likely to get a tick during spring and autumn.
Ticks carry diseases.
So, in the event your beloved pet pooch or puss was to fall ill because of a tick bite, having pet insurance in place may help to recuperate some of the costs associated with vet visits and treatment.
Go Get It is the UK’s only dedicated pet insurance comparison site, committed to saving pet owners time and money by finding great cover for their animal on their behalf.
We work with a carefully selected panel of leading insurers, allowing you to choose the right level of cover for your pet, for a price that’s right.
So, how do you remove a tick?
If you notice a tick on your hound or kitty, you need to remove it straight away – but you need to do it the right way.
As the RSPCA notes, it’s important not to squeeze the body when removing the parasite, or leave the head in. Squeezing the body means that blood could end up being squeezed back into your pet’s body, increasing the risk of them getting a disease. There’s a similar risk if you leave the tick’s head in.
Twisting the tick will help to make sure you don’t squeeze the body or leave the head in.
You can do this using a tick removal tool, which doesn’t cost a lot and can be purchased from your vets, local pet shop or online.
Step-by-step guide to removing the tick
Purina lists some things you’ll need before you try removing the tick from your pet:
- A friend or family member to keep your pet calm
- A pair of gloves to protect you from picking up anything nasty
- A tick removal tool
- A small container to get rid of the tick
- Disinfectant to clean your tool after use
Now that you’ve gathered all of these, here’s what to do:
- Ask your friend/family member to keep your pet calm – you should wait until they’re relaxed before you start removing the tick.
- Part the fur surrounding the tick so you can get a better view of it.
- Place the removal tool around the tick’s body, as close to your pet’s skin as possible.
- Gently pull and twist the tool (don’t squeeze) to dislodge the tick – take as much time as you need with this step.
- When the tick has been removed, check that it still has its mouthparts before placing it in a container and disposing of it safely.
- Use a pet-friendly antiseptic to clean the area.
- Get rid of the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly.
- Disinfect the removal tool so that it’s ready should you need to use it again in future.
You should take your pet to the vet if you didn’t manage to remove the entire tick, or if the area looks infected. The same goes if you simply don’t feel confident safely removing the tick from your pet.
Lyme disease from ticks
Lyme disease is a severe bacterial infection that can be passed on by ticks. Cats, dogs and humans can all get the disease, though it’s less common in cats. Symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen/painful joints
- Swollen lymph nodes
Lyme disease can be treated with a course of antibiotics if it’s caught early enough. If you notice any of these signs in your cat or dog then you should visit your vet as soon as possible – they'll run tests and if necessary, begin treatment.
Preventing ticks on your pet
It’s a good idea to check your pet regularly for ticks – especially if you have a cat and live in an area with lots of wildlife and shrubbery.
Ticks are big enough to see but could still be hidden by fur, so run your hands over your pet to feel for anything unusual. Ticks usually latch on around the head, neck, ears or feet.
There are many spot-on treatments that can be combined with your pet’s flea treatment to safeguard them against ticks.
These work as they enter the animal’s circulatory system – when a flea or tick takes in their blood, it quickly kills them.
There are also some flea collars available for cats that can stop them from getting ticks. However these might not be suitable if your puss spend a lot of time exploring the great outdoors, as the collars could get stuck on branches.
Compare pet insurance with Go Get It
Now you know how to treat and protect your pet against ticks, protect them even further with pet insurance from Go Get It.
As the UK’s only dedicated pet insurance comparison website, we know a thing or two about what a great pet insurance policy looks like.
But we also appreciate that every pet is unique, which is why we compare different levels of cover for you to choose from.
We compare accident only, time limited, maximum benefit and lifetime cover policies, and you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s no upper age limit on cover.
As fellow pet lovers, cover compared by Go Get helps you find the right cover to suit your pet’s needs.
So, what are you waiting for? Compare pet insurance with Go Get It today – get a quote!