Ticks are the most dangerous parasites next to mosquitoes. These little ninjas hide almost anywhere – grass blades, rotting wood, toys, old furniture, broken bikes, and whatnot. They mount on rats and possums as they raid your house, declaring war. While they’re at it, they also leave larvae and eggs along the way.
Do not panic if you find a tick feasting on your pet’s blood or yours. Hopefully, the bloodsucker is still pretty small. Grab a tick removal tool and pull out the little sucker out before it gets bigger. The longer it feeds, the greater the chances that it has already transmitted harmful pathogens to you. Never squeeze the tick or pull it out using your fingers, regardless of how tempting it is because you don’t want a blood and germ explosion to take place.
Ticks on Dogs
You need to distinguish ticks from other little buggers, in case you see one attached on your skin or on your pet's. Ticks have eight legs, which mean they are arachnids — the same class as spiders and scorpions. They may appear brown, reddish brown, yellowish, or white depending on their species. Others may also bear special markings.
Ticks are as difficult as fleas to spot, especially during their early-stage forms. A tick larva is just about the size of a dot on your screen, while a nymph is just as big as a poppy seed. An adult tick is roughly the size of a sesame seed, but its body can grow as big as a peanut and appear olive grey in color when engorged.
These creepy crawlies can't exactly jump and run after you because they are blind. Nevertheless, ticks possess a unique complex sensory structure called the fore-tarsal Haller's organ. It is found exclusively at a tick's first pair of legs. This organ detects chemicals, humidity, and temperature. Additionally, their tiny little mouths have a tiny harpoon-like straw called hypostome, which allows them to suck the blood out of their host.
Why Ticks are Drawn to Dogs...and Humans
Ticks don't just laze around grass, hoping to snack on your dog's blood by chance. They are holoparasites, which means they cannot complete their life cycle and reproduce if they fail to find a suitable host to exploit. Therefore, they have a strong motivation to seek out that warm all-you-can-eat buffet. But why are they particularly drawn to dogs and humans?
Ticks aren’t fussy eaters. They will seek out all kinds of warm-blooded animals, even an amphibian, for their meals. What attracts ticks are carbon dioxide and heat. Dogs are easy targets because they emit carbon dioxide as they exhale and they emit more when they're asleep. Not to mention their curiosity and playful nature often lead them to tick territory.
Although ticks can only see vague images, their special sensory organ allows them to track potential hosts. Some species will dig in once they’ve landed, while others roam around in search for a spot they can easily puncture. One of their favorite spots is around the ears where the skin is thin. When pets are absent, ticks will feast on humans, instead. Ticks also love to snack on moist areas of the body, such as the groin.
How Harmful are Tick Bites?
Ticks inject certain enzymes through their saliva. Those enzymes have an anesthetic effect. Also, it prevents the blood from thickening so the tiny bloodsuckers can feed with ease. However, some individuals are sensitive to this saliva, resulting in inflammation.
In addition, ticks can harbor multiple pathogens that cause life-threatening illnesses not just to dogs but also to humans. At the time of writing, the Global Lyme Alliance listed 15 tick-borne diseases. The most chronic of all tick-borne illnesses is Lyme disease.
Popular Ways to Remove a Tick…that Don’t Work
So many improper tick removal methods saturate the Internet. While some people swear that these methods work, scientific studies prove otherwise. Here are tick removal methods you should never try:
Burning a tick using a kitchen match
Heating the tick won’t convince it to let go, but rather it increases your exposure to pathogens when the tick regurgitates or ruptures.
Pouring rubbing alcohol on a tick
Surely, you can drown a tick in a plastic cap filled with rubbing alcohol but simply squirting a few drops won’t cause it to disengage from the skin.
Applying petroleum jelly to a tick
You can’t easily suffocate a tick using petroleum jelly. According to Dr. Glen R. Needham, PhD. ticks can survive breathing only as little as four times per hour. Therefore, it could take a very long time before it gives up its grip.
Covering a tick with a thick coat of nail polish
This strategy has the same logical thinking as the petroleum jelly technique. Smothering a tick with nail polish only immobilizes it and give it a secure place on the skin.
Sprinkling peppermint oil on a tick
Dr. Neeta Connally, the assistant professor of Biology at Western Connecticut State University, warns that this method is not only ineffective but also dangerous. Peppermint oil aggravates ticks and causes them to salivate further. This means the risk of disease-causing pathogens that enter into your body increases as well.
Using your fingers to pull a tick
There are many wrong ways to remove a tick but the worst is using your fingers to pull it. It is unhygienic and you could squash the tick, increasing your exposure to disease-carrying pathogens.
The Best Way to Remove a Tick
According to the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the best way to remove a tick is to simply pull it straight upwards in a clean motion. To achieve this, you need the best tick removal tool.
Ticks get a good grip on the skin because of the lateral barbs extending from their mouthparts. But with a tick removal tool, you can safely and effortlessly get rid of these little buggers from your pets. Unlike regular tweezers, a tick removal tool won’t leave a part of the tick attached on the skin. Rather, it ensures the tick is entirely removed without the risk of squeezing it. The last thing you want is blood squirting out of that bloodsucker! This nifty tool usually has a curved tip so you can effortlessly glide it.
Best Tick Removal Tools
Our team has handpicked 6 best of the best tick removal tools in the market to save you from the exhausting work of browsing hundreds of products. We’ve also set out to find the advantages and disadvantages of each item to help you narrow down your choices. So, scroll down and enjoy!
1. Tick Twister Tick Remover Set
A greedy engorged tick needs to be pulled from as close to the skin as possible. Otherwise, disease-infected fluids might spurt out when the tick is squeezed. You don’t want that to happen, do you?
The Tick Twister Tick Remover Set aims to pull out ticks in one piece without involving unnecessary risks to you and your pet. No pet hair gets pulled, too. And although ticks have lithe mouthparts, you can easily pull its head away from the skin. All you have to do is aim for the tick, make a steady lift, and do two to three twists. It’s that simple! Your pet won’t feel anything but the relief from itchiness.
The Tick Twister is currently Amazon’s best-selling tick removal tool for pets. This product was invented by a French vet using injected polymer plastic. So, it’s durable, recyclable, and resilient enough against a number of disinfectants and solvents.
This product is now available in five colors: green, pink, purple, orange, and blue. Each pack contains two tick twisters – one for large ticks, such as deer ticks, and another for small ticks.
Tip: We recommend you get a strip of sticky tape ready before you start.
- Amazon’s best-selling tick remover tool
- Removes a tick in seconds without causing pain in pets
- No squeezing involved, thereby reducing the risk of an infection
- Doesn’t leave the head or mouthparts of a tick behind
- Durable, recyclable, and resilient enough against a number of chemicals
- Suitable for fussy kids and pets
- Each pack contains 2 tick twisters
- Available in 5 colors
- Super affordable
- Some pet owners complained it isn’t that effective on nymphs and other microscopic ticks
- Involves twisting motions that the CDC discourages
2. TickCheck Premium Tick Remover Kit
The TickCheck Premium Tick Remover Kit may cost twice more than product no.1 but you’ll definitely get what you pay for!
The company’s research laboratory has extensively tested the product’s versatility, durability, and safety. Their specially designed tick removal tweezers are made of stainless steel. The super-fine curved tip allows you to pull out the tiniest ticks with ease. While the V-shaped tip lets you dig out stubborn engorged ticks regardless of size or species.
Additionally, this kit has complied with CDC recommendations for the safe removal of ticks in adults, children, and pets. There is no twisting or jerking involved, which is a big plus since the CDC discourages such practice.
What we like the most about this product is that it comes with a handy storage case so you can pack it along with other stuff in a hygienic way. Likewise, this kit includes a tick identification card to help you distinguish the three most common ticks found in North America.
- Made with stainless steel
- The V-shaped tip or fork lets you dig out large ticks
- The super-fine curved tip is perfect for microscopic ticks
- No squeezing involved, thereby reducing the risk of an infection
- Has complied with CDC recommendations for the safe removal of ticks in adults, children, and pets
- No twisting or jerking involved that may cause the mouthparts of a tick to remain attached
- Complete with a handy storage case and a tick ID card
- Features a non-slip grip
- Not recommended for removing engorged ticks in your pet’s waterline
3. TickEase Tick Removal Tweezers
Do you want to remove ticks from your pets or from your kids with just one tool? Introducing, the TickEase Tick Removal Tweezers. This dual-sided device measures 5 ½ inches long and both ends have various features. The fine pointy end is designed specifically for the effective removal of nymphs and smaller tick species, such as deer ticks. The opposite end with a V-shaped scoop is for big engorged ticks.
Moreover, this product is created by a tick prevention specialist using quality stainless steel. You can always sanitize it after use. We suggest you use the broader end if you have a pet or a kid who can’t sit still.
- Measures 5.5” long, providing good distance between you and the tick
- Created by a tick prevention specialist using quality stainless steel
- The fine pointy end pulls out small tick species, even nymphs
- V-shaped pulls large engorged ticks without clamping or gripping
- No squeezing involved, thereby reducing the risk of an infection
- Some owners complained that the fine pointy end was so sharp, it can cause nicks and cuts
</div> <div class="prev" id=""> <h3 id="ticked-off-tick-remover">4. Ticked Off Tick Remover</h3> <p> <img class="alignright" src="https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/511i1UkpHTL._SL300_.jpg" alt="4. Ticked Off Tick Remover"/> </p> <p>The Ticked Off Tick Remover tool takes out ticks so effectively that you’d never have to touch those little buggers with your fingers again!</p> <p>One pack comes with three colorful tick-removing tools, which resemble measuring spoons. Each tool measures six inches and has a narrow V-shaped notch to pull the tick.</p> <p>No more questioning whether or not you grabbed the head of a tick or your pet’s hair. No more putting your dog at an awkward pose just to get rid of a tick at hard to reach areas. You just part your dog’s hair, glide the scoop along the skin towards the little sucker. It’s quick and drama-free! What’s more, you can easily dispose of the tick by filling the scoop with rubbing alcohol.</p> <p>This proud all-American product is made of good quality plastic so it can be reused. Nonetheless, it is inexpensive enough that if you need to dispose of one, like after removing a tick from your pet’s butt!</p> <div class="pros"> <h5>pros</h5> <ul> <li>No jerking, no pulling, no squeezing</li> <li>Completely pain-free</li> <li>The bowl-shaped end allows easy disposal of ticks</li> <li>Each pack contains three reusable scoopers</li> <li>Vet-endorsed and CDC compliant</li> </ul> </div> <div class="cons"> <h5>cons</h5> <ul> <li>May not work for nymphs and other small tick species</li> <li>Some owners complained that the plastic is too thick for pets with dense fur</li> </ul> </div> <div class="amz"> <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CAQ7C8K/?tag=petcomn-20" data-amzn-asin="B00CAQ7C8K">View on Amazon</a> </div> </div>
5. Tick Key for Tick Removal
The Tick Key for Tick Removal set could be the key to your dilemma. Each key is made of high-strength anodized aluminum and has a tear-shaped slot resembling a keyhole, which you use to slip over a pesky tick. You can remove a tick with just one motion; so quickly and painlessly that your pet would barely notice what you’re doing.
Each set comes with three tick removal tools. These tools are small and removable, making it perfect for nature walks, backpacking, and whatnot. Because they come in beautiful metallic colors, people would mistake it for a key holder instead of a tick remover. Many pet owners like to attach it to their pet’s leash so they can get rid of ticks ASAP.
- Made of high-strength anodized aluminum
- Can be easily stored on a leash, pocket, etc.
- Each pack contains 3 tick remover tools
- Comes in beautiful metallic colors
- Resembles a key holder
- Some owners complained that it is more difficult to use than other products
- Not suitable for hard-to-reach areas, such as the groin and ears
6. Tick Tornado ZenPet Tick Removal Tool
Many pet owners love this twisting device by ZenPet because it removes ticks in seconds. It pulls ticks intact – including the head – so you won’t have to worry that the little buggers might bury their mouthparts deep into your pet’s skin. You just hook, twist, and lift to pop out those little buggers!
This product is developed by an expert vet, so rest assured it has your pet’s best interest in mind. The product is made of sturdy plastic, so don’t worry it might cause nicks or cuts on your pet.
- Straightforward application
- Unique tornado motion ensures ticks remain intact when removed
- Effective on ticks of all sizes
- Some owners report that it sometimes leaves the head of an engorged tick
Tips for Removing Ticks
Always sterilize the tool before and after taking action. Remember, you are exposing yourself to harmful microorganisms as you dig into an open wound.
Clean the bite area the minute you remove a tick. You can clean the wound with an iodine scrub, rubbing alcohol, or soap and water.
Observe proper disposal of ticks. You can kill a tick by submersing it in rubbing alcohol or by simply flushing it down the loo.
Don’t panic if you’ve been bitten by a tick. Not all ticks transmit life-threatening diseases but you may want to contain the tick that bit you so you can have a medical expert examine it.
Is There Any Other Way to Remove Ticks on Your Pet?
There are other ways for removing those pesky bloodsuckers on your pets, especially when you seem to lose count how many they are. Here are some suggestions:
1. Spot-on Treatments
Spot-on treatments contain concentrated chemicals that are applied between your pet’s shoulder blades to take effect. The chemicals are not meant to be washed off right after application, especially for non-waterproof formulations. These ingredients are effective at killing ticks of all life stages, as well as preventing a re-infestation for a certain period.
2. Medicated Shampoos
Bathing your pooch with a medicated shampoo is an inexpensive method of keeping pests at bay, especially during the peak tick season. However, the protection won’t last as long compared to spot-on treatments.
3. Tick Collars
Tick collars contain active ingredients that kill ticks on contact. Similar to spot-on treatments, it leaves a continual presence of active ingredients on your dog’s skin and coat. It kills every tick that lands on your pet.
Farming ticks from your dog isn’t a fun hobby, especially during spring and summer where they are rampant. They emerge from their hiding places and continue their search for food. These little buggers look nasty and without the right tick removal tool, you might turn the tick into a tube of toothpaste – bursting all that blood and germs into your skin…or eyes if you aren’t careful.
The long and short of this is that you don’t want to handle a tick using your fingers but rather use the right equipment intended for tick removal. Also, we are strongly against using home remedies and DIY methods that many tick victims spread across the Internet, such as using string or dental floss. Such methods run the risk of cutting the tick in half and leave its head sunk beneath the skin.