According to the vet, it is not tick season. So it was weird that last night, as we were getting ready to go to bed, we found 5 on Spike.
I’ve never had to pull ticks off a dog (one of the perks of growing up in Southern California.) The only tick I’d ever really seen was in my sister’s ear. I thought it was a spider and the experience disturbed me deeply.
Some facts about ticks:
- Ticks are arachnids (so it wasn’t totally ridiculous that I thought the tick in my sister’s ear was a spider).
- The most common ticks that your dog will pick up in North America is called the dermacentor variabilis, and does not carry Lyme disease. It can, however, carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
- The deer tick is the one you have to watch out for, that’s the one that carries Lyme disease and is found mostly in the Northeast.
- Once ticks get in there they hold on pretty tight (their legs have teeth…so gross), so the best way to get them out is to kill them without squishing them, because then they will let go and fall off. Certain chemicals will also make the tick loosen their grip.
- I was talking to a guy this morning that grew up on a farm and apparently it’s ok, so long as you get most of the tick off, if there is a leg left in the dog.
Some suggestions from friends and the internet on the best way to kill ticks included:
- Put a match to the tick and pop it
- Suffocate the tick with rubbing alcohol
- Suffocate the tick with clear nail polish
We figured a match to the dog’s head was probably not the best idea, we had no rubbing alcohol, and I couldn’t find my nail polish anywhere (probably still packed). We tried every cleaning product in the house (most of which were eco-friendly…probably didn’t help our cause), toilet bowl cleaner, and Paul’s cologne. Suckers WOULD NOT die. So we did our best with a pair of tweezers, but every single one left their disgusting front clampers in poor Spike. So gross.
Time to invest in tick medicine and rubbing alcohol.
Update: my coworker, who grew up in Eastern Kentucky, just told me a story about how she had a tick attach itself to her EYE, above and below. So when she opened her eye it would block her vision, she said her eyelashes would brush it. They used mineral oil to get the tick to let go.