Since humans can get diseases from ticks, it is best not to remove the tick with your bare fingers. Use either tweezers or a tick removal instrument.
To safely remove a tick:
1. Try using an alcohol swab, which may irritate the tick and cause it to loosen its grip.
2. Grab the tick with the tweezers where the mouth enters the skin. Do not grab it by its body.
3. With a slow steady pull, remove the whole tick without twisting it as you pull.
4. Deposit the tick in alcohol to kill it.
5. Clean the area with a disinfectant and apply an antibiotic.
6. Wash your hands thoroughly.
Swelling and skin irritation may occur after the tick is removed. This is a reaction to the toxic saliva of the tick, not due to the head remaining in the wound (which rarely happens if you grasp the head of the tick during removal).
Don't do these things:
• Do not try to remove a tick by burning it off. This is ineffective and may hurt your dog.
• Do not use petroleum jelly. This does not cause the tick to back out, and may actually cause the tick to deposit more disease-carrying saliva in the wound.
• Flushing a tick down the toilet will not kill it.
• Do not squash the tick with your fingers. The contents of the tick can transmit disease.
How to avoid ticks:
• Protect your pet with a prevention program. Use products designed specifically to repel ticks.
• Avoid woody or grassy tick habitats.
• Apply a repellent to your clothes and skin.
• Tuck your clothes in to reduce the amount of skin exposed.
• Do a tick check on your pet when returning from a place where ticks would be.
• Do a tick check on yourself. Wearing light colors will help you see ticks attached to your clothes.
• Remove ticks promptly.
• Controlling Ticks
• Are Ticks Ticking Off Your Pets?
Article courtesy of PETsMART.com