Tick Removal Step by Step

Since fleas and ticks can be a continual nuisance, tick removal is an important task for pet owners. Ticks can spread certain diseases, such as Lyme disease, which is an infectious disease caused by bacteria transmitted to an animal by a tick. Though the tick must be attached for 48 hours in order to transmit the disease, it may take several weeks for the disease to appear. Affecting heart, muscle and joint tissues, the disease can have life-long affects. Keeping the animal free of ticks by utilizing insecticides and repellents is one method of keeping a pet free of ticks. However, if a tick has attached itself to an animal, here is a method for removal.

Careful Removal

This process can be used for the removal of dog ticks as well as cat ticks.

  • Do not use your bare hands since any contact with a tick may transfer tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease. Do not apply petroleum jelly, finger nail polish or remover, pesticides, repellents or use a lighted match since this may agitate the tick and cause it to release infected fluids into the wound.
  • Use blunt tweezers, not sharp tweezers, so that the tick can be removed in one piece. Grab the tick as a whole piece not just by the tick head. This will prevent any secretion of fluids by the tick if the head is detached from the body during removal. Do not use any twisting motion in removing the tick since this can cause the tick to break apart and secrete any tick-borne diseases into the wound. Pull the tick away from the skin firmly. This may take some time, so be patient.
  • If any parts remain in the skin, remove them carefully.
  • Also remove the cement-like substance that the tick secretes in order to remain attached to the skin.
  • Wash the area clean with an antiseptic.
  • Wash your hands and sterilize any instruments used in the removal of the tick so that any tick-borne diseases will not be transmitted when the instruments are used next.
  • Keep the tick in a container so that it can be tested for diseases by your veterinarian.
  • Contact your veterinarian for any further instructions as to care of the wound left by the tick and/or the testing of the tick itself.


It is better to prevent ticks from attaching to an animal than it is to have to remove a tick. Shampoos, insecticides, topicals and tick collars can prevent any attachment of any ticks. Some topicals and collars work for 1 to 2 months and are easy to apply.

Advantix, Frontline, Vectra 3D, Promeris Canine and the Preventic collar will kill the tick and cause it to drop off before the 48-hour deadline. Permethrin and Amitraz are effective repellents. Maintaining a 90-foot radius surrounding the dog's house will also effectively prevent any tick infestation and in so doing prevent the transmission of any tick-borne diseases.