4 Tick Removal Myths Busted

By PetMD Editorial on Sep. 3, 2015

MYTH #1: You should wiggle a tick to remove it.  

When removing a tick, you want to pull upward with steady, even pressure. Moving a tick’s body from side to side or twisting it can cause its mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin. Never wiggle a tick when removing it from your pet.

MYTH #2:  You can suffocate a tick by smothering it with petroleum jelly or nail polish.

Nail polish and petroleum jelly are not effective for killing ticks. These parasites breathe slowly, needing only 3-15 breaths per hour, so by the time a tick dies from suffocation, it may have passed disease-causing pathogens into your dog’s system.

TEXT: MYTH #3-Your fingers are the most effective method for removing ticks.

While you may think grabbing onto a tick with your fingers is the easiest way pull ticks off of your pets, touching a tick without protection is unsafe. Studies worldwide have found that people who use tweezers to remove ticks are far less likely to experience complications including secondary skin irritation, rashes and bacterial infections.

MYTH #4-You can burn off a tick with a match.

You want to remove the tick as quickly as possible, not wait for it to detach. Using heat to make a tick detach from your pet’s skin is ineffective and can easily burn your pet’s skin or your own. Practice safety and never use an open flame near your pet’s skin or fur.

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