Because of our moderate climate, ticks are virtually always in season in southern California. These blood-sucking pests can be a severe health threat in some parts of the US by spreading viral and bacterial diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme’s disease.
Here in southern California, there is less threat of these diseases but certainly, the discomfort and “ick factor” of having an infestation is not pleasant. Wilderness and nature trails are the most commonplace for your dog to pick up tick passengers.
Can I pull the tick off? What if I leave the head embedded in the skin?
Using tweezers and gently teasing the tick out of the skin is okay. If the head is left behind or even if it isn’t, a mild infection, think pimple, will occur at the bite site and dissolve any tick remnants. Pressing an extinguished hot match to the tick body risks burning your dog’s skin and making a worse problem. Alcohol applied to the area may or may not cause the tick to back out.
The best solution is to apply topically or give orally a flea and tick preventative that will kill the feeding tick and won’t produce any infection. Applying tick-specific essential oils can cause the tick to back out and quit feeding on your dog.
Natural products like essential oils will not kill ticks but they are good at repelling ticks and avoiding their penetrating the skin. Unfortunately, these products must be applied to your dog every time they go out to areas infested by ticks
There are many products that kill ticks that are topically applied or given orally. We can help you choose the best one for your dog at her next wellness exam.