Tick patrol

Oh, tick season. While I don’t live in the tick heartland anymore, reports of bulging bloodsuckers from Georgia to Maine have inspired PTSD-memories of my years in tick-infested Westchester. I provided one tick removal strategy in Dog Park Wisdom, but some others have surfaced since then. I like the suggestion below, which came to me via Cindy Trimble Kelly, an interior designer in Georgia and a contributor of countless pet-friendly-design brainstorms for my book. Cindy learned this tick-removal recipe from a friend who got it from a nurse (quoted below) who got it from a pediatrician — good advice travels fast.

Apply a glob of liquid soap to a cotton ball. Cover the tick with the soap-soaked cotton ball and let it stay on the repulsive insect for a few seconds (15-20), after which the tick will come out on its own and be stuck to the cotton ball when you lift it away. This technique has worked every time I’ve used it (and that was frequently), and it’s much less traumatic for the patient and easier for me.

This is great, because it works in those places where it’s sometimes difficult to get to with tweezers — between toes, in the middle of a head full of dark hair, etc. I even had my doctor’s wife call me for advice because she had one stuck to her back and she couldn’t reach it with tweezers. She used this method and immediately called me back to say, “It worked!”

While this is a suggestion for humans, I’m all over trying it on my dog. Also, check out this blurb on “tick sticks.”

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1 Response to “Tick patrol”


  1. 1 AbbyK9 July 3, 2008 at 4:30 am

    In my experience removing ticks from both pets and humans, many of the so-called tricks to removing them are just old wives’ tales. I’m sure you’ve heard of soaking the tick in alcohol, burning the tick with a match, or covering the tick with nail polish. None of these work.

    The easiest way of removing a tick, and the only fool-proof way that I am aware of, is to purchase a set of nice tick tweezers. There are many kinds and shapes of those. The ones I have look kind of like scissors and came from REI. They are designed to grab the tick as close as possible to the neck, and make it easy to remove it by simply pulling it out once you’ve got your tick tweezers lined up.

    Ticks are bad in southern Virginia this year – so bad, in fact, that I found one on my stomach when I got out of the shower after getting up in the morning, and I also found a “full” one on my 11 year old cat who does not go outside. I swear the little bastards line up over the front door and parachute onto the dog!


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