How to Remove a Tick from Your Dog
If you’re a dog owner, chances are you’ll encounter ticks at some point. These creepy crawlies look like small spiders and are commonly around 1mm to 1cm long. They’re usually found in woodlands, grasslands, heath areas and in the countryside where there are lots of deer and sheep.
If you find one of these nasty pests, you’ll probably be wondering the best way to remove a tick from your dog, which is why we’ve created this handy guide to tell you everything you need to know.
Spotting ticks on dogs
Contrary to popular belief, ticks can’t actually fly or jump and instead, just tend to drop on to your dog’s body as they walk past, hence why they’re most common in areas of dense foliage.
The best time to check your dog for ticks is as soon as you get back from your daily walks. Be sure to check for any lumps and bumps as ticks will usually feel similar to a small bump (which can sometimes be mistaken for a little skin swelling or mass). The key areas to inspect are the head, neck, ears and feet as these are where they’re most commonly found.
Ticks can start to pass on diseases in as little as 24 hours, so it is important that they’re found and removed as soon as possible in order to reduce the risk of transmission of potentially harmful organisms. Removing a tick from a dog can be difficult because it’s important that you get the whole tick out without leaving its mouthparts buried in your dog’s skin, as this could lead to an infection. If you’re not sure how to remove the tick or you have difficulty trying to get it all out, take your dog to a vet.
For more tips and information on spotting and treating ticks on dogs, read our guide.
What you’ll need
Before you start removing the tick from the dog, there’s a few things you’ll need to make the process easier and to prevent possible infection.
- A tick removing tool – these tools can be purchased from pet shops or your vet
- Disposable gloves
- Dog friendly disinfectant
- An extra pair of hands to keep your dog still
- A jar with a lid
How to remove a tick from a dog – step by step
Step 1: Put on your gloves
The initial step involves protecting you while removing the tick from your dog. Disposable gloves are the best choice as these can be quickly thrown away afterwards to prevent potentially spreading infection or disease.
Step 2: Keep your dog steady
When considering how to remove a tick from a dog, you need to make sure that they’re calm at all times. An extra pair of hands from a friend or family member to steady your dog and provide them with plenty of fuss and love will make all the difference during the process. However, if your dog really won’t stay still and seems to be visibly distressed, don’t persist! Instead, enlist the help of your vet.
Step 3: Time to use the tick removing tool
Once your dog is still, get your tick removing tool and place it around the part of the tick closest to your dog’s skin . Make sure you don’t accidentally catch their skin though! If you get your tick removing tool close to the skin, this should ensure that you’ll get the head out too. If you accidentally leave the head and mouthparts in, this could result in infection and will require veterinary attention as soon as possible.
Step 4: Gently pull the tick out
The next step in removing the tick from your dog is to gently pull it out with a pull and twist motion. Being sure to keep even, steady pressure on at all times, gently pull the tick up and away, and twist to detach the tick from your dog’s body. Make sure you don’t squeeze or crush the tick. If it doesn’t work the first time, repeat the motion slowly.
Step 5: Dispose of the tick
Once you’ve successfully removed the tick, put it in a jar with a lid and dispose of it safely.
Step 6: Disinfect the area
After you’ve removed the tick from the dog, disinfect the area with your dog-friendly disinfectant and be sure to give the area a good inspection. If it appears red, swollen or is leaking pus or fluid, take them to the vet right away as these can be signs of an infection.
Step 7: Keep an eye on your dog
Following the removal of the tick, keep an eye on your dog over the following week or so to make sure they’re not displaying possible signs of Lyme disease. If your dog has the disease, they may display the following symptoms: lethargy, fever, swollen/stiff joints, difficulty breathing and loss of appetite. If you’re worried about anything, take your dog to the vet.
Preventing future tick bites
Now you know the best way to remove a tick, you’ll need to know how to prevent tick bites in the future. A lot of flea treatments available on the current market actually work against ticks too, and these can be purchased from your vet practice. Some spot-ons or tablets are tick repellents (preventing ticks attaching in the first place), whilst others will kill the tick once it has attached and fed but do not prevent its initial attachment. Speak to your vet for further advice on the most appropriate product to use on your dog. By ensuring that their flea and tick treatments are kept up to date, you can help to ensure your dog doesn’t get bitten in the future, thus removing the chance of disease or infection.
Additionally, brushing your dog regularly can also help with tick management as not only will it enable you to keep a close eye out for any potential ticks, but you can also prevent them from attaching to your dog in the first place.