A couple of kids are playing with their neighbor's dog, a two-year-old yellow lab. They notice a grey bump the size of a blueberry by his ear, and take a closer look. It's a tick. Ticks, small blood-sucking arachnid parasites, are not well-known in Alaska. One species, generally found on squirrels and hares, is fairly common and native to the state, but biologists are concerned about the introduction of non-native ticks to Alaska.
If you find a tick on your pet, or a person, you can remove it yourself or take your pet to a vet. It's easy to remove a tick. Don't put oil or solvents on the tick, and definitely do not apply heat to it. Just pull it out with tweezers. Use fine pointed tweezers, grasp the tick close to the skin, apply firm, steady tension straight out and in just a few seconds, it will release. Don't squash it. Wash up afterward.
Biologists are studying ticks to determine if non-native ticks are becoming established in Alaska; they're also testing ticks to monitor the potential introduction of tick-borne diseases to Alaska. You can call your local Fish and Game office if you have any questions about ticks you find on pets, people or wildlife.