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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Don't get ticked off... Get the ticks off!

It is a silly title for a not so silly topic. Ticks are not just gross, they can also be dangerous to our pets, as well as us. We have outdoor dogs and no matter what prevention or remedy we try, they still get ticks. I cannot touch them! That is why I got married. Having a handsome, manly man around to do that job is the way to go!  However, my manly man works, so it isn't always possible to have him do it.  I can't stand to leave them attached and alive.

Today, I noticed a very big, blood sucking, disgusting tick inside my dog's ear.  It was one of those that got bigger with each gulp of blood.  Like a balloon from a horror movie. What to do?? I had to take matters into my own hands.

I remembered something about cutting a "v" into the end of a plastic spoon and scoop the tick into the slot to make it come out. I tried that and it worked, but not as well on all the ticks.

I also remember, as a teenager, arriving at the home of the boy I used to babysit just to discover his mom holding a pair of pliers with blood droplets all over them and the front of her shirt.  Do not try to remove these balloon ticks with pliers! They explode!

I opted for my own reinvention.  Grabbing a plain, disposable plastic fork and my kitchen shears, I went to work. I turned this...

Into this...

I suppose I could have left the tines long, but the tick was inside the ear and I couldn't get it into the end of the "v" of the tines. Now, all you have to do is catch the little blood sucker between what is left of the tines and keep pushing it toward the bottom, or the "v" of the tines... Continue on until the tick pops out. It worked great!

I purposely cut them at an angle. It gave me different slot sizes to choose from.

I couldn't get it to work on the flat ticks, but those are okay to grab with the tweezers, before they get engorged.  Just be sure to grab them in the head and not the body. If you squeeze the body, you can make them expell bacteria back into the dogs skin and cause infection.

So, what do you do with the ticks you remove?  If my dad has visited and he pulls it, he tosses it to a chicken.  Problem solved. If removing several, I may get a little cup of bleach and drop them in as I remove them. If it is one big one, I have been known to flush it (picture a huge sewer tick coming back for revenge).  When the ticks are flat and I just remove one, I pinch it between tape and toss it in the trash. This method works well with fleas too.

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