How to Check Your Dog for Ticks

PetMD Editorial
By PetMD Editorial on Mar. 11, 2015
How to Check Your Dog for Ticks

Ticks are nasty parasites that feed on blood and transmit dangerous diseases to our pets. While any canine can be exposed to ticks, dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors are more susceptible to exposure.

Ticks are tiny. For instance, a deer tick is about the size of a sesame seed, and some species are no bigger than a grain of sand. Due to their small size, ticks often go undetected on dogs if pet parents aren’t specifically looking for them.

To keep your dog healthy, it is important to regularly check your dog for ticks after outdoor playtime and walks, even if your pet is on a flea and tick preventative. Here are some simple steps to help you check for ticks on your dog.

Where to Look for Ticks

Unlike fleas and other insects, ticks do not jump or fly. They latch onto dogs from the ground and crawl upward. Ticks are drawn to dark, moist areas on the body. It’s also important to note that dogs with longer hair give ticks more opportunities to hide. So if you have a breed with long fur, spend extra time examining him for these pesky parasites.

Steps for Removing a Tick

Step 1: Start by examining your dog’s skin for areas that appear red or irritated. If you see a spot, get in closer to see if a tick is causing the irritation.

Step 2: Then, starting at your dog’s head, use your fingers like a comb and run your hands over your dog’s body. You are feeling for lumps or bumps you previously did not notice.

Make sure to check under your dog’s collar, inside the groin area, and under your dog’s front legs. It’s also important to examine under your dog’s tail and between his toes.

Step 3: Check your dog’s ears thoroughly looking inside and out. It may help to shine a flashlight into the ear canal when examining for ticks.

Step 4: Using a brush or a flea comb to check through your dog’s fur is also a good idea. If you hit a bump or a snag, do not pull or force the comb over the bump. Stop, part the fur at the location, and find out what the bump is before proceeding.

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