Guide for How to Remove Ticks from Your Dog

Guide for How to Remove Ticks from Your Dog

by ScritchSpot

After playing in wooded areas or during tick season, always thoroughly check your dog for ticks. Don’t forget to look in hiding places like between the toes and inside the ears. Your dog may also clue you into a tick bite if she continues to scratch or bite at a specific area. 

When you find a tick on your dog, your priority is to remove it as soon as possible. Prompt removal will greatly reduce the likelihood of your pet becoming infected with various tick-borne illnesses. 

How to remove a tick

  1. Using tweezers or a tool specifically made for removing ticks, get as close as possible to your dog’s skin and grab onto the tick.
  2. Gently pull it away from the skin.
  3. Kill the tick by dropping it in a cup of rubbing alcohol.
  4. Wash your hands and clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
  5. If you are concerned your pet may have contracted a disease, save the tick for testing, otherwise you can flush it down the toilet.

If you have never removed a tick before, you can also take your dog to the vet where they can remove the tick safely and show you how it’s done. 

What not to do:

  • Don’t pull the tick off with your fingers to avoid getting infected tick saliva or blood on your hands.
  • Don’t squish or crush the tick - this can force infected fluids into your dog.
  • Don’t try to burn the tick or use substances like nail polish or petroleum jelly to kill the tick; this can cause it to vomit into the bite, increasing your dog’s risk of infection.
  • Don’t toss the removed tick in the trash, sink or outside because it could find its way back to your dog or another pet.

Tick-borne diseases

There are a number of diseases that can be transmitted by ticks, which is why it’s important to remove a tick any time you find one. Symptoms of some diseases may not surface until months after infection. If you suspect your pet has been infected, take her to the veterinary clinic to be tested. The diseases and related symptoms your pet can get from a tick include: 

  • Lyme disease: stiffness, lameness, swollen joints, loss of appetite, fever and fatigue
  • Ehrlichiosis: fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, runny eyes and nose, nose bleeds and swollen limbs
  • Anaplasmosis: fever, loss of appetite, stiffness, lethargy, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever: fever, stiffness, neurological problems and skin lesions
  • Babesiosis: causes anemia, with symptoms such as pale gums, weakness and vomiting

Prevention

Though no method of prevention is 100% effective, there are a number of options on the market that can keep ticks at bay. These include monthly topical treatments, oral medication, tick collars, shampoos and dips. The chemicals, which are safe for pets in such small doses, work by killing a tick when it comes in contact with your dog’s coat. 

Ticks find their “victims” by smell. Certain essential oils like lemon eucalyptus, lavender, and citronella work as a sensory camouflage to naturally prevent ticks. You can make a natural tick repellent spray with just a lemon and some water. Cut the lemon into quarters and steep it in two cups of boiling water overnight. Pour the cooled liquid into a spray bottle and mist your dog all over (being careful to avoid the eyes and nose) before going outside to play.