How do you get a Sheep Tick off a dog?
Do not use tweezers or anything that could squeeze the main body of the tick!
This will risk blood from the tick being forced back into your dog, some of this blood might be from a previous host such as a fox or rat which will likely carry more problems in the form of microscopic parasite eggs or infections.
There are various anecdotal fixes for taking a sheep tick off your dog including dabbing with petrol or alcohol; they are unlikely to work. The recommended method is to use a Tick-Hook. Some tick hooks are of the claw type similar to a tiny joiner’s claw hammer, usually made of plastic. Another style is the folded wire tick remover – this type is quite simple to make yourself if you do not have a factory made tick hook. A paperclip or similar fine wire & pliers will soon made a suitable tool with the business end around 5 to 10 millimetres long, angled from the main stem then with a handle that will allow you to twist & pull. The end needs to be almost folded tight back on itself then gradually opening to a couple of millimetres to allow it to slide across in front of the main body of the tick and pull back against it.
Some ticks resemble a small light blue match head, then when full after sucking blood from your dog they become as big as your little fingernail. Some are a rusty brown colour or grey.
If your dog has two or three ticks which have only been on it for a short while then best to remove them yourself as soon as possible – if you can get to a pet shop or anywhere that might sell you a tick hook then go get one & use it. If not then make one yourself. I found a tick on one of my Labradors when out on a long fishing trip so I formed a tick removal tool from a fishing link-swivel clip squashed flat with a multi-tool I had in the glovebox – worked fine. If you suddenly find a large number of these grotesque parasites on pooch or come across a dog with a bad infestation then the best course of action is to get it to a vet for expert attention.
If you do find a sheep-tick on one of your dogs then think back to the last few times where you walked the dog. Fields or pathways with long grass are the most likely areas to pick them up as they climb long grass and weed stems to be able to jump onto passing animals. Try to stay away from these areas for a while and look for short grass which is cut regularly which gives much less opportunity for ticks to get onto your dog and will likely harbour few if any at all ticks.
Ticks can bite humans as well as dogs:
Beware that blood sucking parasites like ticks can also bite humans. If you notice a tick bite or see a tick attached to your skin then you WILL NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION! The appearance of a bite is of a BULLSEYE effect with redness. Ticks can transmit Lyme’s Disease to humans which you do not want – Google it if you must but prepare for nightmares.
The technique to use to get rid of the tick is to slide the hook close to the dog’s skin so that it runs sideways across the head, as far as it will go to make it tight (a large hook on a small tick can slip over the body risking squeezing the body – not good) then twist the hook up to half a turn & slowly pull upwards to put some tension on the tick (they grip inside the skin so pulling too hard or fast can rupture the tick and leave the head attached – not good.) With a twist & pull against the skin until you feel some tension build up, hold it there and wait for the tick to release its grip. I find that depositing the offender on a dog-shit-shovel and incinerating it with a lighter is a suitably fitting and permanent end. Don’t just drop it in a bin, it might be waiting on top of the bin next time you’re there…