How to Remove a Tick From a Dog

Sara Bledsoe, DVM, CVA, CHPV
Written by:
Published: June 30, 2020
How to Remove a Tick From a Dog

After any outdoor activity, it’s always a great idea to get in the routine of checking your dog for ticks. This is because ticks can transmit diseases in as little as 24 hours after attachment.

Ticks like to hide on your dog, especially in these spots:

  • Around their face

  • Around their neck

  • Inside their ears

  • Under their arms and legs

  • Between their toes

If you do find a tick on your dog, it’s important to know how to safely get ticks off dogs. Follow this guide to learn how to remove a tick from a dog and dispose of it properly.

Tools You’ll Need to Remove a Tick

To remove a tick safely, you’ll need these supplies:

  • Latex or rubber gloves

  • Extra lighting and a magnifying glass

  • Tweezers or a tick removal tool (my personal favorites are the Tick Tornado and the Tick Twister)

  • Isopropyl alcohol

  • Jar or small container with a lid

  • Triple antibiotic ointment

  • Treats!

Steps for Removing Ticks From Dogs

Use caution when trying to remove ticks that are attached near your dog's eyes, around their mouth, and inside their ears. If the tick is in an area that seems uncomfortable for your dog, don’t be afraid to call your veterinarian and ask for assistance.

Use the treats as distractions and rewards for your dog during the tick removal process. Here’s how to get ticks off dogs using tweezers or a tick removal tool.

Using Tweezers to Remove Ticks

If you are using tweezers to remove a tick, follow these steps:

  1. Try to grab the base of the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible. Try not to pinch your dog! Also make sure you are not squeezing the tick too tightly, as it may crush the tick and make it more difficult to remove.

  2. Slowly begin to pull the tick out from your dog’s skin in a steady motion. Do not twist or jerk your hand while pulling the tick out. The goal is to pull the head of the tick out of your dog’s skin while it is still attached to its body.

  3. Once the tick has been removed, examine it to make sure all body parts have been removed from your dog’s skin.

Using a Tick Removal Tool

If you are using a tick removal tool—like the Tick Twister—follow these steps:

  1. Gently “hook” the body of the tick in the notch of the tool.

  2. Rotate the tool clockwise or counterclockwise until the tick detaches from the skin (do not pull on the tick while it is still attached).

  3. Once the tick has detached, lift the tick away from the skin.

  4. Examine the tick to make sure all body parts have been removed from your dog’s skin.

What to Do If the Head of the Tick Gets Stuck in Your Dog’s Skin

If the head of the tick is still embedded in your dog’s skin after the body has been removed, there’s no need to panic.

Do not try to dig the head of the tick out of your dog’s skin. This will cause more irritation and inflammation and will open the skin to infection.

Instead, take your dog to the veterinarian to remove any remaining embedded pieces of the tick.

How to Kill a Tick

Once the tick has safely been removed, place it in a jar or small container that is filled with isopropyl alcohol and put the lid on the jar. The isopropyl alcohol will kill the tick.

Many veterinarians recommend keeping the tick in the container in case your dog starts to show any signs of illness. Different types of ticks can carry different diseases, so having your veterinarian identify the tick may help with a diagnosis.

Disinfecting the Skin

After disposing of the tick, you can tend to the tick bite area.

Gently clean the site of tick attachment with soap and water. Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Hydrogel spray can be applied to the area as well.

Continue to watch the area where the tick was attached. If you notice any redness or inflammation, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Preventing Tick Bites

Keep your dog on flea and tick prevention year-round.

There are very effective oral prescription products available, including Nexgard and Bravecto, that will provide great protection against fleas and ticks.

For over-the-counter flea and tick prevention, consider Frontline Plus or a Seresto collar for continued prevention.

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