Top 3 Tick-Removing Myths – Busted!

Tis’ the season for ticks, and not the blue superhero version. These parasites are more closely related to spiders than to fleas and other insects, and are technically arachnids. If that doesn’t send a chill down your spine, then you probably don’t have any latent spider phobias. 🙂

Even if you don’t, and for those of us who do, ticks should be avoided on us and our pets at all costs! Not only is the mere thought of a blood-sucking parasite enough to give anyone a case of the “willies”, but ticks carry diseases, some of which can even be deadly.

What happens when you come home from a day of outdoor fun with your dog and see that one or more of the dirty scoundrels has attached itself to your poor pup? Scouring the internet and asking friends can produce some interesting methods for removing ticks “the right way”. We are here to set the story straight, but first let’s go over some sure fire tick removing advice.. that maybe you should avoid.

Myth #1: Burn it off. Kill it with fire!

We have heard this old tale a million times! More than one source may tell you that if you apply something very hot to the body of the tick, such as a lit match or one that’s just been blown out, the tick will back out of the skin to flee, and you can easily remove it at that point. The downside of this method is the safety factor. Tick bodies can be extremely tiny, and you risk burning your dog which will make him less inclined to sit still the next time when you approach him with a book of matches or a lighter – as well he shouldn’t!

Myth #2: Just wiggle it out! 

Wiggling when removing a tick that’s embedded can lead to pieces of it’s mouth parts breaking off and staying stuck in the skin. The best method is an upward, straight pull with steady pressure.

Myth #3: Drown it in Vaseline! 

This is another one we hear all the time! While technically it is true that you can suffocate a tick by surrounding them in a viscous fluid, ticks breathe super slow, and might only take three breaths in an hour! By the time they suffocate, they have been embedded long enough to transmit diseases and cause serious harm.

The final verdict is that if you see a tick on your pet, the best method for removal is to grab a pair a tweezers, grasp the stinker as close to the skin as you can with firm pressure, and pull it out slowly upwards with steady, even pressure. You can also use a tool such as a Tick Twister.

This neat little device allows you to grasp the tick very close to the skin, and then twist it up and out of your precious pet. You can dispose of the tick in whatever method you prefer. Flushing them down the toilet works, as does the simple squish and toss. If you want to dispose of them in a really fun way like the vet techs do, you can inject them with peroxide. They explode! (No really, they explode. If you have a strong stomach, you can check it out on Youtube!)