How to Successfully Remove a Dog Tick from Your Pet

If a dog tick has attached itself to your pet it is important to act quickly and safely in order to remove the tick and prevent any infection or illness. Dog ticks can cause serious illnesses like Lyme's disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever and may also lead to anemia or paralysis.

Removing Dog Ticks

Dog tick removal should be done as soon as possible; if you live in a wooded area or have a pet that enjoys spending a lot of time outside it is important to check for ticks every day. If you find one, follow these steps to safely remove the tick and keep your pet healthy.

  • Consider wearing latex gloves to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Use tweezers or a tick-removal instrument to pull the tick out of the dog's skin. Grab the tick by the head, not the body; pulling the tick by the body may cause the parasite to release bacteria and disease
  • into your dog and leave the head of the tick in your dog's skin.
  • Pull the tick out firmly but gently in a straight upward motion. Do not twist the tweezers when pulling out the tick.
  • Dip the tick in rubbing alcohol, burn it in a fire or flush it down a toilet to destroy the tick and prevent the spread of disease.
  • If the head remains in your dog's skin you can try and get out the remaining section of the tick, but generally this section should fall out on its own.
  • Wash the area with soap and warm water and watch the spot for infection or inflammation for a few days.
  • Don't try to place nail polish remover, chemicals or a burnt or lit match onto the tick in an attempt to make the tick "back out" of your dog's skin; this simply will not work and may harm your dog. Don't use petroleum jelly in order to smother the tick so it falls out on its own; this will also not work.

Preventing Ticks on Dogs

The best way to avoid removing dog ticks is to prevent them from attaching to your dog. Monthly treatment options are a popular, if sometimes expensive, way to protect your dog from parasites and the harmful diseases they could be carrying. Collars, sprays, dips, powders and spot-on treatments are all possibilities for tick prevention. Owners should be especially wary of tick bites when spending time in the woods or traveling to areas of high tick populations, like the Northeastern United States.