Dogs and Cats and TICKS… oh my

The appearance of a tick on your favored pet can give you the heebies for certain.  However, finding one attached to yourself can send you over the edge!  I have on several occasions found ticks crawling on me,  and now can sense almost immediately when I feel one on my skin.  EW!  And so it is, from time to time, that I have found them attached to me.  Shudder… and they seem to prefer that soft tissue around my belt line, or the hairline of my head.

This year the authorities have been predicting a high tick season, due to the unusually warm winter and early spring.   I think they are correct, because so far this spring I have found and removed two ticks from our bed, three ticks from myself, and HORRORS, one that was attached to me yesterday.

The cats and dogs of course are flea and tick free due to monthly applications of a preventive medication.  However, this does not mean that they are not carriers of the little beasties.  I got one from the cat when I picked her to put her outside earlier this week.  Fortunately, I saw it on my shirt and dispensed with it immediately!

So what can you do when you have been latched onto by a tick?  Well, read on, but warning… if you are squeamish then stop here.

But seriously? 

You need to know this!

How to safely remove a tick

There are many ways to remove a tick, but only one recommended and sure way to safely remove a tick.

What you will need:

  1. Alcohol wipes
  2. Tweezers with  long, smooth, pointed tips
  3. Fortitude and a steady hand

Procedure:

  1. Find the little sucker
  2. Clean the area with alcohol
  3. Grasp the little beast’s head down close to the skin… while trying not scream
  4. Now, gently but firmly pull straight out until the head and mouth parts pull free from your skin
  5. Clean the area with a fresh alcohol wipe and try not to pass out
  6. Keep an eye on the area of the bite to make sure it does not develop a redness or target shaped rash.  If so, get to the Doctor for treatment right away. 

THINGS NOT RECOMMENDED IN THE REMOVAL OF A TICK:

  1. Just wait it out.   The little sucker will get full and fall off all by itself.  This will guarantee the transmission of the spirochetes that give you Lime Disease if the tick is a carrier.  Do you feel lucky?
  2. Burn its little backside with the head of a hot match.  This is GROSS, and ineffective!
  3. Apply Vaseline.  This is not gross, but is equally ineffective.
  4. Grab the body, squeezing tightly, and pull.  This will cause the contents of the little creep to enter your bite site for certain.  GAACK!
  5. Grab the little sucker and give it a good twist and pull motion.  Do you really want to leave that head and mouth parts behind?  I don’t think so.

Yesterday, I found an infant, or nymph, sized tick along that belt line I told you about.

It was the size of the one on the right.

I used the preferred method, but unfortunately the little sucker has left me with a parting gift…  So this afternoon at 4:15PM I have an appointment with the Doc to have his little head removed.

GAACK!

Last night I told Bob that I will be ordering guinea hens.  Strangely, this time he didn’t argue with me.  :)

Yup!  That aught-about do it!

~*~

So what is it that can make your hair stand on end?

~*~

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56 responses to “Dogs and Cats and TICKS… oh my

  1. Yes, ticks can be horrid, and the itch lingers for what seems forever!

    Vampire bats make my hair stand on end. I’m better now, but after the first bite, I was pretty freaked for a very long time!

    Paradise has its unique set of problems!
    Z

      • three times in costa rica, once in nicaragua, and once in ecuador. who knows why, but i’ve been told (by locals in CR) that the bats tend to return to a certain animal in the herd or one person in a household..
        i’ll have to write a post about what i’ve learned – one of these days!
        you’ve done your homework, as the guineas are supposed to be very beneficial! i enjoyed your post and your tips
        good luck!
        z

  2. A few weeks ago, we found on tick on each dog. We promptly checked ourselves and found none. The min pin had a regular wood tick, but the Vizsla had a deer tick. It wasn’t there long enough to engorge, but it was major yucky. We’ve since bombed the yard. The dogs get regular flea & tick treatment, but the ticks still attached anyhow.

    • So far, we haven’t found any attached to the animals after treatment. However, I recently read that they will travel around for hours before latching onto their host. Which is why they seam to hitch a ride into the house, and ultimately onto us and the furniture. ~ L

  3. Guinea Hens are quite an alarm system also, was raised around them. Charles

  4. Ooh I hate ticks! Tick season is well underway here, and we have to keep an eye on one another. This is such a useful post, but I have full body heebie jeebies now!

    • Yes we do! Glad you find the information useful, and just so you know… It gave me the heebies just writing about it! ;)
      ~ L

  5. Yup ticks will do it! Very gross! I have guineas too but the dogs need searching for ticks every day. If you place the hot match on the tick AND pull with your tweezers at the same time they do come out easier, but I only use this method when i find them on John. You are right leaving the head in is diabolical. I have a friend who found a tiny tool that gets under them and whips them out. If i do find this tool i shall let you know .. HATE TICKS! c

    • Thanks Celi! Yes, we check them pretty well, cats too, when they come in from out back, but even so we can miss one and end up wearing it ourselves later on. I will look forward to seeing this tool if you can locate it. ~ L

  6. Hi,
    Yes we also have a tick season, but we don’t get many where I live, I am fairly close to the city. I did find a tick on our dog once in the 5 years we have been living in this area, and it obviously came from the park, like your animals she is fully protected, but I check her all the same each night in summer, as we take her walking, to the beach etc. so we do go to a lot of different areas.

    • We lived in your situation in California, and never found ticks on our dogs. A flea now and again, but never ticks! Sigh, I suppose there were advantages to our living in the burbs. At least one anyway. LOL!
      ~ L

    • Yes! I am taking a little trip to Washington DC soon. And because I feel bad enough that Bob has to look after the new baby “Crotch-Biters” (His words not mine!!!) ;) I will have to order them to come in when I get return.
      I’m excited because now the Weechu will have her own kind to hang with and not have to hang at the back fence crying “Come-back, come-back,come-back…” ~L

  7. We have tick issues here, as well. It’s still chilly here (Washington State) and I’m already pulling ticks off of the dogs after walks. so far I think after two walks this week we’re up about 8 on the dogs, 1 on the bed, and 1 in my hair…Yuck!!

    • Oh dear! The first tick I ever saw was on my dog Buddy. I was petting him and felt this little bump behind his ear. Then, on closer inspection I realized it was a tick, and not a wart! I panicked! First one I ever found on me was in my hairline. I thought it was a little mulch chip stuck in my hair from gardening. I tried to brush it away and it wouldn’t come off… I PANICKED!

      It does get easier to deal with them over time, but it still makes my skin crawl! ~ L

  8. Yes, this is the time when we enter the “tick heebie-jeebies” and it will last until September. Luckily our dogs (Vizslas) have very short hair. When I hike with them or walk them I keep my eye out for any ticks and flick them off of them as soon as possible. Last year was worse. I would have to remove 10-15 off of each dog as we walked (I walk, they run through the brush chasing birds and rodents) and then remove more from their underbellies when we got home. Then of course, because our dogs are spoiled and are allowed to cuddle on the bed with us…and because I have enough hair on my head for 3 people… wonder for days if I removed them all or if some of them have left the dogs and are living on me somewhere. Ha! ;)

    • Hahaha! If I let my dogs do that they would just keep on going! Well, actually Tucker is now good about coming back and he does have short fur. It’s Buddy who still has puppy brain and way to much fur! He would be a nightmare. ~ L

      PS: I went looking for pictures of Vizslas because I had never heard of them before. Beautiful dogs! The interesting thing is, that you may have solved a little mystery about a dog and we owned in the early years of our marriage. We always thought he was a mix of Weimeriner and Airedale, but after seeing all those photos on Google I think he was a Wire haired Vizsla! When we got him his fur was very short. By 4 months he had this little whiskery fringe around his jawline, by nine months he was wiry all over! His name was McGee, but we nicknamed him Liver-Lips because of his skin coloring. ;)

  9. Nope….. not enough guinea. How about twice that many?

    I’ve already pulled two ticks off myself. Both times it was on the soft skin on the underside of my arm. Hurt like heck to pull them off by myself. That was about three weeks ago and the spots still hurt. I haven’t seen ticks anywhere near me for about 50 years so it must be a bad year.

    Ummm…. do you check the ducks and chickens for ticks too?

    • Anita, I am thankful that mine have never hurt. Though everything I read about other peoples tick bites said that theirs did. Wonder why? As for the chickens, well I hadn’t in the past, but after doing my research for this post, I think I should. More than a few “birds with ticks” pictures out there. EW! ~ L

  10. I grew up in the woods and ticks were a weekly occurance in our house. I have many memories of my dad, a hot match, and being told to stand very still. Ticks don’t phase me much, because of this, but that is probably a bad thing with Lyme’s disease being so common these days. This is a great post, hopefully I won’t need to refer to it though!

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  12. We have a rather fine implement for taking ticks off animals – like a tiny bent two-tined fork which gets right under the head. (have a photo if you haven’t seen them before). This is the absolutely worst time for ticks and we know all about that Gaack moment when you know one is crawling up your leg (vom!).

    • Point me to the picture, please! And yes, those adult ticks do have a distinctive creep when crawling up your leg or neck! Trouble is, you can’t feel them in your sleep, and you can’t feel them if they are the tiny nymphs! I think your tool would be excellent at getting out the nymphs. ~ L

  13. Wow! You sound just like me….I actually brought home our 6 baby guineas this past Sunday…and this is the reason I had to have them – to EAT Ticks!! Our area is heavily wooded and I am outdoors all day – found several ticks on me already, so hoping the guineas grow fast!

    • The last ones I brought home didn’t seem to grow fast, but boy can they FLY!!! Mine were only about 6 inches tall when one day something spooked them and they all took off flying right up the the ridge line of the house! Be prepared for losses. If you raise them with the chickens then they will go to roost at night, but if not, then they will roost in the highest tree.
      Only Weechu, a female is left of the original six we brought home 2 years ago. :(
      ~ L

  14. So strange – I can’t remember ever running into a tick. It’s not like I haven’t spent plenty of time tromping around in woods, fields, etc. Maybe we don’t have them as frequently in Texas – or maybe I’d find more if I had a dog!

    I take it guineas find them tasty? My grandmother had guineas – Mom used to tell stories about their effectiveness as watch-fowl!

    At least I know where to come now if a tick shows up. I did have one decades ago, and I still remember what a gross little creature it was!

    • Get a dog or a cat, and you will have ticks. We treat and comb, but you can’t get them all. I told Bob that the next cats we get will be BARN cats. So, for the summer and fall those cats our are out! They run all over in the field out back. 21/2 acres of prime tick farm! :P When the weather gets cold, then they they can come back in to sleep in the mudroom again. I like the comfort of a tick free bed and furniture.

      Yes, Guineas will eat any bugs they find, and apparently have keen eyesight for ticks! You grandmother was right about them being an alarm system too! Which is the quality my husband hates them for! LOL! ~ L

  15. My sister-in-law got some guineas last year. I didn’t know they would eat ticks and such. It’s a wonder you found a tick so tiny! Thanks for the refresher on how to get rid of one that has latched on. Ew, water bugs gross me out.

    • Water bugs, Palmetto bugs, doesn’t much matter what fancy name you give a cockroach now does it? Yeah, they are pretty gross! I don’t like chemicals. I won’t use them in my lawn or gardens. However, I detest ticks and roaches and where they are concerned I do make an exception. It is hard for me to admit that BTW. But I have the bug man out 4 times a year to spray around the cracks on the house (OUTSIDE ONLY) and I do treat the dogs and cats to aid in the prevention of fleas and ticks coming in. A little prevention is healthy in this southern climate. ~ L

  16. My! What a lot of comments! I too have had several attached ticks this year. Daisy deer is covered with them most nights when she comes to visit so I pick them off of her. For three days I worked to get one off of the tear duct area of her eye. She wasn’t too patient… that’s why it took 3 days. I used to be squeamish about removing them but not anymore. Just like I had to get used to snakes and scorpions out here. If you live with them long enough, you no longer fear them.

    Thank you for the instructions to correctly remove them. I always just give them a tug. Whoopsie.

  17. I have ticks on me every year and a high population of disease carrying ticks here. blech… and yes I have guineas but my god there are times I want to shoo them they are so loud and obnoxious. But I dont….

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