Ticked Off!

Back in June we all went up Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran. On the ferry back, a couple we got talking to warned us to check Beanie & Biggles for ticks; apparently Arran has a big population of these unpleasant little critters. We carried out a half-arsed examination of our two pups but unsurprisingly found nothing, so the whole subject was completely forgotten.

A couple of days later, it became apparent that our tick search should have been much more thorough. Now fully engorged on our dogs’ blood, they were really easy to spot. Beanie had one on her eyebrow and one on her neck, while Biggles had a couple in the area around his naughty bits! We didn’t have a proper tick tool, so I grabbed a pair of tweezers and proceeded with the extraction. It was actually quite easy to remove Beanie’s ticks, because she held very still while I got a good grip, twisted and pulled. As far as I could see I got both ticks out fully (without leaving behind their mouth parts) though they kind of exploded from the pressure of the tweezers once I’d got them clear of Beanie. It was way, way harder to remove Biggles’ ticks. He’s never liked anybody, human or dog, messing about around his joy department and he wriggled about like a thing possessed. Trying to bullseye ticks with the tweezers while he was struggling like that was difficult in the extreme. It would have been easier to play “Operation” on the top of a washing machine doing its spin cycle. Anyway I eventually pulled the ticks, or at least their bodies, off my boy and happily neither our two dogs nor us suffered any ill effects.

The experience convinced me that we needed a proper tick extraction tool, so I hunted about on Amazon for a bit and eventually ended up with an “O’Tom Tick Twister‘.


It was the only device that didn’t seem to be a variation on tweezers and had good reviews. I popped it in our doggy care kit and promptly forgot about it – until yesterday that is! A couple of days ago we had a long walk around Culzean Castle, and then yesterday Susan spotted a tick on Biggles as he rolled over for a tummy tickle. Curiously it had chosen to attach itself to his nether regions again. Biggles’ nethers have always attracted other male dogs, but now they’re clearly a magnet for ticks as well. It’s a hard life being a Bigglet.

I went to get the tick twister, while Susan prepared to put our new Biggles handling routine to the test. Happily both the twister and the handling worked beautifully. Biggles struggled for a couple of secs then calmed right down, allowing me to go to work unhassled.

The twister kit contains two different sized plastic er.. well, let’s call them “forks” for want of a better term.


The idea is to slide the appropriate sized fork in around the tick’s attachment point. Once the tick’s mouth is securely gripped by the “V” of the fork, twist slightly and pull the nasty little critter off your dog. When I tried this on Biggles it worked perfectly! The tick came away intact and alive, so I wrapped it in toilet paper, squished it and gave it a burial at sea (flushed the bugger down the loo).

So now we’ve got a tick remover that really works and a little boy that doesn’t mind us handling him as long as we go about it the right way. We do however still have a spoiled little girl who tends to get stroppy if she doesn’t get her own way. We’ve been taking care to win all our little battles with her, but she still vocalizes her indignation when her demands aren’t met, as evidenced by this photo from our visit to Culzean:


Beanie seeks an answer from the heavens! It’s time for more treats but the humans aren’t taking the hint! Why??!!!

A couple more shots from our dreary but still enjoyable day at Culzean: