How to Remove a Tick from a Dog

Updated: August 16, 2022

Wondering the best way how to remove a tick from a dog? Ticks can lead to diseases, so it is important to monitor your furbaby and remove any ticks as soon as possible. Removing a tick from a dog is a common dilemma for pet parents whose furbabies spend a lot of their time outdoors. Many areas in the United States have ticks that are active the whole year round.

The American Kennel Club states that ticks carry many infectious organisms that cause different illnesses in dogs, such as ehrlichiosis and lyme disease. The pathogen transmission after a tick bite happens in as fast as three to six hours so the sooner you remove the tick, the lesser the chances your dog will get sick. Removing a tick from a dog may sound so easy but it is a must to do it correctly and immediately. Here, we will go over how to remove a tick from a dog and what to do after removal.

"ticks carry many infectious organisms that cause different illnesses in dogs, such as ehrlichiosis and lyme disease."

1. Scan for Ticks.

Scanning for ticks is tricky as ticks may appear to be the size of a human fingertip but sometimes can also be almost impossible to be seen by the naked eye. One important tip when scanning for ticks is to slowly run your fingers all over your furbaby’s entire body. If ever you feel a bump or an inflamed area, carefully check if it is a tick. Do not limit your scanning just around your furbaby’s torso. Also check thoroughly around their face, inside their ears, under their neck, around their legs, in between their toes, and under their take. This is especially important after time in a wooded area.

2. Identify. Is it a tick?

how to remove a tick from dog

Ticks come in many sizes and shapes, but typically, they are small, flat, black, brown or tan, and oval in shape. They have heads that are much smaller than their bodies and they have eight legs.

Take note of what they look like and their characteristics because this will play a big part in helping your vet diagnose what is wrong with your furbaby. There are different types of ticks that are common in different regions. So, not all ticks will look the same.

3. Prepare Needed Equipment

Luckily, you don’t need much to stay safe while removing a dog’s tick. Prepare the equipment needed. In removing a tick from a dog, prepare the following:

  • Gloves
  • Clean tweezers/tick remover
  • Disinfectant or Isopropyl alcohol
  • A plastic bag or container

Never remove a tick with your bare fingers.

4. Remove The Tick from Your Dog

Provide Distractions for a Calm Dog

Before removing a tick from a dog, make sure that your dog is calm. Do not attempt to remove ticks when your dog is anxious and cannot behave. Consider offering a distraction while you remove the tick. Gnawtlers® are a great option to keep your dog preoccupied if they enjoy chewing. If your dog is heavily food motivated, spread some kibble around in a Forager™ Bowl. This will provide a distraction with mental enrichment. Not only will snuffling help to keep them distracted, but it will help drain excess energy because they are using their natural senses to find rewards.

brown dog tick, dog ticks

Wait until your furbaby is calm and distracted before you begin removing the tick. Get a good grasp of the tick using the tweezers or tick remover and slowly pull it out. If you pull it so suddenly, there is a risk that the tick’s head may get stuck in your dog, pushing blood back into your furbaby, increasing their chances of getting diseases and infections.

After removing the tick, there is a big possibility that there will be more so be sure to scan and check your dog’s body thoroughly.

What To Do if the Tick's Head is Stuck in Your Dog's Skin?

This happens frequently when removing a tick from your dog. What you can do is to get a good hold of the embedded tick body parts you can see and try to remove them. If you cannot get a good grasp, you may leave it as it is for the time being. Schedule an appointment with your vet for removal and wash the area with mild soap and rinse with running water. Your dog’s skin may also continue to work at it in the meantime.

Avoid poking the area where the embedded tick parts are as this may be painful for your dog and will only further cause infections and irritations.

5. Cleanup After Removing a Tick From a Dog

What to Do with the Removed Tick

The Humane Society of the United States stresses that after removing ticks, immediately placed them into a container or a Ziploc bag filled with isopropyl alcohol. Close the lid or seal it tightly. Isopropyl kills ticks. Just throwing ticks around will increase the possibility of your furbaby acquiring them again.

Also, do not forget to take a photo before throwing it away or save the tick to bring to your vet. You can show these photos or the tick itself to your vet for tick identification in the possibility that your dog begins to show signs of tick-borne diseases. These signs may include loss of appetite, sudden onset of arthritis, fatigue, fever, swollen lymph nodes, and even paralysis.

Keeping Your Dog Clean

Pet WiPees™ Dog All Purpose + Skin & Coat can be used daily to keep your furbaby’s skin clean. These pet wipes for dogs are formulated for creating a healthy barrier on the skin and nourishing the skin and coat. Plus, these dog wipes are made with our proprietary wipe material that is 100% hypoallergenic and is completely safe for your furbaby. It is a good idea to wipe the area every day after removing the tick from your dog and to keep an eye on the area.

  • Make sure to throw away the gloves you used and disinfect the tweezers or tick remover.
  • Brush your dog and use Pet WiPees™ daily to keep them clean and notice any other ticks that might be hiding.
  • Keep an eye on the areas where the tick was and observe any early onset of infections or changes in your furbaby’s behavior. If the affected area remains swollen or irritated, consult your vet.

The steps on how to remove a tick from a dog require every pet parent’s dedication and commitment. To help prevent the issue of removal, it is a good idea to have your dog on preventative flea and tick medication. There are lots of options for topical or oral preventative treatments.

Ticks can live and survive almost anywhere—in beach grass, in forests, in lawns, and even in urban areas, too. Ticks also feed on anything—insects, birds, mammals. This is why it is very crucial to prevent future bites. Talk to your vet about tick prevention methods that are suitable for your dog’s home environment, lifestyle, and geographical location.

"Pet WiPees™ Dog All Purpose + Skin & Coat can be used daily to keep your furbaby’s skin clean."