Don't Use Meths If You Find Ticks On Your Pets

Warmer weather means the start of tick season, so pet owners in northern states need to be increasingly vigilant. Examine your dogs and cats daily, but don't fall for the old idea that you can use turps or methylated spirits to remove them.

Picture by Rueben Whitehouse

Veterinarian and Dogs NSW spokesman Dr Peter Higgins points out that this method can actually endanger your animals:

If owners do find a tick NEVER apply metho or turps to the area as this will cause the tick to inject all its venom at once.

If you do find a tick, remove it with a small pair of scissors and then take it to a vet immediately. Dogs NSW is predicting that the tick population will be larger than usual because of the recent mild winter, so make sure you check regularly (feeling the coat is more reliable than simply performing a visual check).


    small pair of scissors? How exactly do you do that? The best thing to do is spray the tick with something that will kill it, wait for it to die (about 10 mins) and carefully remove with a pair of tweezers. We keep a spray pack of Frontline Plus just for ticks on our cats. In a pinch, you can use fly/insect spray but this can cause a skin reaction and loss of hair in the affected area.

    @MrXion - Thats a bad idea, remove the tick immediately with a pair of tweezers, or you can get a tick removal tool from your local vet for a couple of bucks. Putting anything on the tick will cause it to become distressed and inject more venom. Ive just had my dog hospitalised over the last weekend after he got a paralysis tick that we missed. It only takes a day for even a big dog to get sick. Another 6 hours and we would have lost him. The anti-venom is expensive, and so is the hospitalisation. I didnt get much change from 700 bucks.

    I've not needed to use this method on our dog, but when removing ticks from the kids or myself I just use a length of thread tied in a simple overhand knot. Slip the loop over the head of the tick, pull the loop gently closed and apply a gentle but consistent pull to remove the whole tick.

    Anyone suggesting putting anything on a tick to kill it - heat, vaseline, kero etc. (though possibly not the powerful insecticide mentioned above) before removing it is asking for the tick to vomit up its stomach contents into the wound in its final death throes.

      I do like the cotton/overhand knot method. In my experience it's been pretty consistent in getting the entire tick and not just the body.

    Tweezers perhaps?

      I don't like the idea of using tweezers as it runs the risk of squeezing the tick and forcing it's venom into the dog.

      You need to lift the tick away without squeezing it. The knotted thread is a good idea, and there's also this kind of thing: (a tick key)

    Not just the northern states. Paralysis ticks have been found in Tasmania and Victoria too.

    Don’t Use Meth If You Find Ticks On Your Pets. Just say no to drugs !

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