Turns out there's a word for what I'm feeling when I look at this bug – entonophobia, or fear of ticks — and your pets should be scared, too! The common external parasite can transmit fatal illnesses like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease, and you should do daily checks for the dangerous insects, especially if you live in woody, grassy, or brushy areas.
Ticks look like this creature; they're tiny black, brown, or reddish eight-legged insect about the size of a pinhead. However, when they attach themselves to your pet, they can swell up several times their original size! If you see one of these creepy crawlers on your furry friends, while tweezers can get the job done, Ticked Off ($10) makes it even easier to get bugs off safely. The notched spoon opening allows you to pull the tick without squeezing the bug and the bacteria into your pet during the removal process!
See my step-by-step advice to get 'em off and
- Safety first so put on latex gloves! It's important to avoid direct contact with the tick and contaminated skin, as diseases can be transmitted from tick to pet to human.
- Place your pet somewhere where you can get a good grip . . . and he stays as comfy as possible. It helps to have another set of hands to hold or distract him.
- Try to ID the head or mouth parts of the tick – you'll want to grasp it as close to your pet's skin as possible. If you grasp it by the body, it can get crushed and force harmful bacteria into your pet's bloodstream.
- Pull the tick out using a straight, steady pulling motion. It's important to be slow and gentle so its head will not remain lodged in your pet's skin (which can lead to inflammation and secondary infection).
- Safely dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet or freeze it in a plastic baggie for testing if he still gets sick.
- Apply a pet-safe antiseptic ointment to the bitten area.
- Throw away your gloves and sterilize the tick spoon or tweezers, too.
- Now give your pet a treat – he's been through a lot!