No one is happy to discover that a tick is feasting on our pet, and removing one (or more) isn’t pleasant, but it’s very important to do it quickly and correctly. Even though the task may seem intimidating at first, once you know how to remove a tick from your dog, it is easier than it may seem.
Ticks can infect both animals and people with several diseases and illnesses. One of the most well-known diseases that ticks can transmit is Lyme disease. But they can also transmit diseases such as Anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and more. The transfer of bacteria and diseases from ticks to your dog can happen in just a few hours, so removing the tick quickly is crucial to make sure your pet doesn’t get infected.
Unlike a flea that has a head, thorax, and abdomen, ticks have a one-piece body. The mouth of a tick has spear-like spikes that attach for feeding, and they use their legs to attach to the skin. Some ticks even release a substance that helps them stay attached to their host while feeding. There are several different species of ticks, and the sizes of ticks range from barely noticeable to large such as the American Dog Tick. Ticks can also become engorged from feeding, which causes them to grow larger. There are several species of ticks throughout the world and in the United States. They can survive and live in many different environments, from urban city areas to yards of homes and wooded areas.
So, let’s get rid of this nasty tick! One of the most well-known ways to safely and effectively remove a tick is by using tweezers. However, it is important to make sure you have the right pair of tweezers to remove the tick from your dog’s body effectively. Tweezers used at home often have blunt tips. Since ticks have a one-piece body, blunt tweezers can cause the tick to tear. This can potentially cause infection and disease in the area where the tick is attached. For this reason, when removing ticks, it is recommended that you use fine-point tweezers to help fully remove the tick from your pet’s skin without tearing. You can also use tools specifically designed for tick removal, which we will cover more in the section below.
NEVER remove a tick with your fingers! Not only is it ineffective, but the squeezing may further inject infectious material!
Ticks do not have heads like fleas, so when a tick is attached to your pet, it is the mouth and not the head that is inserted for feeding. When removing the tick, the goal is to do so gently so that the mouth isn’t left behind, which can cause infection. Keeping in mind that fully removing the tick without tearing it is essential in the tick-removal process, part your pet’s fur, exposing the tick. Use the fine-point tweezers to gently grip the tick as close as you can to your dog’s skin. Slowly and gently pull straight upward to avoid tearing the tick and leaving the tick’s mouth in your dog’s skin.
After you’ve removed the tick, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly, clean the site of the bite with alcohol and rinse the tweezers or tool with disinfectant.
There are several products and tools you can use to remove a tick from your dog. If you do not have a pair of fine-point tweezers, you can also use a tool like the Tick Remover. This tool is even easier to use than tweezers. You just place the loop over the tick and twist upward to safely remove the tick.
Resultix Tick Spray is a fantastic product to keep on hand, especially if your pet seems to be a “tick magnet!” Just spray the tick with two sprays of the solution, and the tick will be dead within three hours. It will simply fall off your pet or will be immobile, which makes the tick easier to remove.
Looking for more ways to prevent and remove ticks from your dog? Check out Jeffers’ full line of dog flea and tick products.
Learn more about getting rid of ticks in Jeffers’ blog How to Get Rid of Ticks and Why You Should.
Renee Jones, CPDT-KSA, is a certified professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers: Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, and Jean Donaldson, to name a few. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She serves as a Pet Marketing and Canine Specialist for Jeffers Pet and JeffersPet.com.