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Ticks! Your Pets and Ours worst outdoor nuisance!

When we moved to New Jersey, our cat, Cuddles went outside just as he did in Michigan.  We lived in a safe, suburban lake community and I thought that he would be safe from cars or predators.  

He was a rescued feral kitten and I could not keep him inside, so we tried to make him as safe as possible as an indoor/outdoor cat.

A month or so after we moved into our rental property, I began finding odd looking grape-like things on the floor.  I kept picking them up and chastising my kids for dropping food on the floor.

Oh! What a stupid, stupid mom I was!

Those ‘grapes’ that I was finding were not fruit! They were full of blood TICKS!  I am not sure who was bringing them in, Cuddles or our black lab, probably both.

Thankfully, I soon figured out that those disgusting things were not grapes, but ticks that were engorged with blood and had dropped off our pet onto the floor.  Presumably to find a good place to lay eggs and create more horrid, disease carrying ticks.

Of course, the discovery that they were engorged ticks made the next step a panicked one.  Checking our pets!

Luckily, our dog was not overwhelmed with them.  Possibly because we were using Revolution on him.  However, poor Cuddles. 

When Pete picked him up to look a him, we discovered that he was COVERED with them!

We called our vet and they saw us immediately.  Rather than chastising us for our ignorance, they were very kind both to Cuddles and to us. 

They explained that it is rare for cats to get lymes from ticks.  Cuddles didn’t seem to mind that he was dinner for those horrid bugs but obviously we had to get them OFF!

We watched as they used their Tick Spoons.  They tucked the spoon snugly under the tick’s butt and lifted gently until they successfully pulled them all the way out.  Then they put it in a jar of alcohol.

We left him in their capable hands and when we returned a few hours later, they told us that they had removed 27 ticks from his little body.  

We were given Frontline for him and we also purchased the handy Tick Spoons that we sell on our website.

The reason that we carry only these Tick Spoons is because when you remove a tick, it is important that they do not leave their heads in either your body or your pet’s body. 

It is also important to make sure that they do not vomit into their bite.  That means NO essential oils and/or burning them off.  

The old wives tale about using a match to get them to move off is absolutely WRONG.  I can attest to this first hand. 

 I went camping in the California mountains as a young woman and when I waded through tall grass into an idyllic stream, five ticks hitched a ride back out on me!

My friends swore that was the way to dislodge the tick that was attached to my rib cage, just below my armpit.  Their cigarette (it was the 80s) did not make him leave.  It killed him. 

As we were young and fearless, none of us had a first aid kit and we certainly didn’t have access to any cell phone information about what to do.  We tried to pull him out.  His body broke off and his head was left in, burrowed firmly beneath my skin.

In the end, I had a 2nd degree burn from the cigarette and a gigantic circle around the tick bite.  It was infected and took a long time to finally heal.  

I completely ruined the camping trip because I insisted upon leaving right now! and going down the mountain to take care of my wound.  Nobody was happy with me.  Which is probably why that was the last time that I hung out with that group of ‘friends.’

I’ll never forget talking to the nurse who told me, “I’ve never heard of a person getting a tick.  My dog does, but not me!” 

All in all, my experience was terrible and while it did not leave any physical scars, I do have strong emotional responses to ticks and I am especially adamant that everyone in our family keep/carry a Tick Spoon in their car or in their pack if they are hiking.  I don’t ever want anyone else to have a tick’s head stuck in them.

The Tick Spoon addresses all of the problems that we have when confronted with a tick butt poking up from our pet.  

There is a narrow triangular slit in the spoon that you push firmly against the tick, gliding against the skin.  When the tick is right tight in the tiniest part of the ‘V,’ you push a little bit as you gently pry up and then ‘Pop!’ You have a tick IN THE SPOON!

The tick spoon not only gently and painlessly removes the tick but it CATCHES it too!! HOORAY!  

We have had enough unfortunate experience with ticks that haven’t stuck their snouts in out pets for a snack to know that they move FAST!  

Personally, I panic when I see them, so between me panicked and them in a hurry, it is usually a gamble whether I catch the critter or not.  I have gotten better but I am still suffering from Tick PTSD.

So, the beauty of the SPOON part of the Tick Spoon is that it holds the tick in it for a few seconds so you can dump it into some alcohol or a piece of toilet paper and flush it down the pipes.

Yes, it is okay to flush them.  They don’t swim back up.  I don’t know why people worry that they might not die right away.  But I am content to have a colony of ticks in our septic tank.  They won’t crawl up and bite bottoms like Black Widow Spiders.

Do you know, (missing the point of this blog post) that many people are bitten on their butts by Black Widow Spiders when they use outhouses??  That seems like an important piece of information for everyone to know.

Remember!  When you remove a tick or a blood sucker/leech, do your best not to have them regurgitate into your wound.  This causes infection and you may end up going to the doctor.

If you or your pet gets a leech, take a pocket knife and scrape it off.  DO NOT put salt on it!  Do not put Essential Oils on Ticks!

If you don’t feel comfortable removing these parasites, go to your emergency room, your med center or doctor.  Have them help you because, the infection is significant.

 (Yes, we have personal experience with this too.  It was my fault.  I gave my husband salt to put on the leech.  It threw up into his foot.  He had to go to the emergency room. 

 A decade later, his foot still hurts where the leech bit him.  I am not sure which hurts more at this point, my guilty conscience or his foot.)

Once the tick is out, safely disposed of or put in a sealed jar for safe keeping until you can dispose of it, you need to clean the wound.

I use betadine or a first aid wash but the CDC says soap and water or rubbing alcohol works just fine.

Keep an eye on it.  There may be a bulls eye or maybe not.  But lymes disease is a real illness and you need to be aware of the symptoms.  On the East Coast, it is good to speak to your doctor about whether or not to get antibiotics.  

A couple final notes:  It is good to take two showers within 24 hours when you have been in a tick area.  Pay special attention to your hair when you shampoo it.  

I had a tick drop down from a tree branch one morning when I was talking to my daughter.  My arm was on the gate and we both watched as it dropped lightly on my arm to find a nice breakfast.

Also, please consider using light colored bed sheets.  Unfortunately, our fur babies (and we) sometimes carry ticks inside.  Ticks show up right away on light colored bed clothes.  No sense in being a midnight snack for the wee beasties.

Remember:

Don’t panic

Gently pry the tick out using firm, even pressure

Catch the tick 

Dispose of him

Clean your pet’s wound

Take a good shower because if your pet has a tick, you could too.

Tick Removal Device Sold Here!!!
Adventurous

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