Male deer ticks are black. Females are a brownish / redish color. They must be on you 24-48 hrs before any risk of lyme's.
As I said, I have had dozens on me. Most had not swelled up with blood before I found them.You use a hot match head to get them to back out of your body.
Believe me a blood swollen tick on you is something you will never forget.
I'm sure you wife is fine, but save your pet tick for a few days , in the rare case your wife gets ill. You would have it available for testing. (If they even do such a thing)
There's been a lot of Lyme disease issues with the deer ticks around a border area a few hours away from me. A number of people got quite ill ongoing. Seems the medical in the area started treating with a couple of days of antibiotics right off the bat to combat if a deer tick was found attached to a person. If Lyme's doesn't get a chance to go systemic, everyone seems good.
Lyme's or other tick borne illnesses don't happen in all cases of course, but knowing people who've developed it, best not to take chances.
Most doctors today no longer recommend using a hot match head, it can cause the tick to regurgitate which will give you lyme if the tick is a carrier of it. (not all are)
Today's preferred method of removal is to grasp the tick at the head with tweezers or one of the "tick removal tools" and slowly and gently pull, the tick will release its grip and then you can dispose or place in a container.
As Thomas brought up, saving the tick allows for testing should the bitten person develop any symptom or symptoms of lyme or any of the other tick borne diseases like rocky mountain tick fever.
The main ticks to really worry about will have one white spot on the abdomen (the rocky mountain spotted fever tick) or multiple white spots, those are the really bad guys and you really want to get them off as soon as detected and use the slow, gentle pull method to remove them.
It does seem to come down to how many hours the tick has been attached.
But....I've removed plenty over the years myself, and I have the least amount of redness and welt by making it back out by itself.
I put a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol or Bactine on it for maybe 5 seconds, not enough to suffocate it, just saturate it, then tickle its butt about once every 30 seconds to annoy it. In another couple minutes give it more alcohol or Bactine, keep tickling its butt. In about 5 minutes put a piece of sturdy tape on either side of it, give it a little tug, it will disconnect it. If it doesn't, then just wait a little bit more. Then I use Bactine on it, and Cortaid. By the next day there is hardly a mark.
We all might have a different reaction to the anesthetic it uses to insert its probiscus, so I can't guarantee everyone's skin reaction to it, but so far this method has left the least amount of swelling for me.
You do want to be ready with a piece of tape if it disconnects before then, because it could hop away. It won't hop farther away than a flea would, but you don't want to have to hunt for it. I also put a piece of duct tape on the dash of my car to catch any wanderers, or any I find on the ceiling of the interior of the car. They usually walk upwards until they get to the highest point.
When I have used tweezers to "unscrew" the barb on the end of the probiscus, I get really big welts. And honestly, I think squeezing it also could inject something else in through the probiscus. The swelling I get shows something else is going on when I use tweezers.
So try not to freak out, try to be patient, it won't feel like anything. It definitely wants out of there, but it's not very fast. I've tried just waiting 15-20 minutes, but psychologically and practically it's hard to wait that long.
If the tick is swollen with blood, it's been connected for a long time, and in that case save it in a jar with a tight lid, and take it to the doctor, let them decide what's going on.
And then we all jump out and yell "surprise! we got you this tiny ad!"
Dave Burton's Boot Adventures at Wheaton Labs and Basecamp