Ticks are a problem that can arise in several different areas, and Brooklyn and New York City, in general, are not immune. If you own a dog in Brooklyn, you need to understand how to identify and remove ticks, which can help keep you and your furry friend safe. With these four steps, you’ll be prepared for tick season, which most commonly occurs in the summertime.

1. Be able to identify ticks

The most common tick in Brooklyn is the American dog tick, likely the most commonly known tick in North America. The tick will have a flat, oval body, and the adult will have eight legs. It will attach to the host and feed on its blood, swelling to as large as the size of a jellybean, often with a reddish tint to it.

Because ticks can be fairly small, it can be hard to spot them, especially if your dog has long fur. If you’re going out during the summer, check your dog each day for ticks. Pay attention if your dog is repeatedly itching at a specific area of the skin, and look for small bumps on the skin or visible scabbing and reddish irritation in the area.

2. Avoid tick removal myths

When preparing to remove a tick from your dog, don’t default to tick removal myths without first checking to make sure they’re accurate. For example, you should never try to burn a tick out, as this can seriously injure your dog’s skin, and you don’t need to smear the tick with petroleum jelly to suffocate it before you can remove it. It’s possible to remove a tick from your dog with just a pair of tweezers.

3. Remove the tick directly

With tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as you can. Lift the tick until the skin tents. The tick will eventually let go of the skin in response to the pressure you’re putting on it. There’s no need to save the tick to identify it. You can simply kill it by putting it in alcohol, placing it in a sealed bag or container, wrapping it in tape, or flushing it down the toilet. Do not crush the tick, as this can spread pathogens.

Once you’ve removed the tick, wash the wound with gentle soap and water, then wash your hands and the tweezers.

4. Keep your dog safe from tick-borne illness

The American dog tick can spread Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can be a huge problem for your dog. And some ticks that have been tested in Brooklyn have also been found to spread Lyme disease, as well as other diseases.

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If you find that ticks are a regular problem for your dog, book an online virtual vet appointment about getting tick medication. This can help your dog stay safe even after a tick bite. If your dog starts displaying any symptoms of illness, including lethargy, confusion, or issues with coordination, contact a veterinarian right away.

Keep your dog healthy

Brooklyn dog owners should be paying attention to the possibility of ticks on their dogs. If you’re regularly going outdoors, especially in wooded areas, it’s always a good idea to check your dog for ticks afterward. Tick medication can also be an important part of keeping yourself and your dog safe. With these steps, you’ll be able to stay safe and healthy alongside your dog.