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Removing Ticks from Dogs

Checking for and removing ticks from dogs regularly can prevent tick borne diseases such as Lyme disease, canine ehrlichiosis, and rocky mountain spotted fever. This page shows you how to remove a tick from your dog.

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Ticks can cause various tick borne diseases in dogs (such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis). In addition, tick saliva can cause an allergic hypersensitivity reaction in dogs.

It is therefore very important to regularly check your dog for ticks and remove them immediately if found, especially if you live in high risk areas. In particular, always check your dog carefully after hiking in tick-infested areas. Ticks must fasten themselves to a dog for several hours before they can transmit diseases. Therefore, removing ticks from dogs promptly after they have been out in the fields or woods can prevent many tick-borne infections.

Ticks can fasten to any part of a dog's skin, but are commonly found around the ears, between the toes, within skin folds, and sometimes in the armpits.

Removing ticks from dogs is not too difficult. This page shows you how.

Tools for Dog Tick Removal

To remove ticks from your dog, you need:
  • A pair of tweezers
  • Disposable rubber gloves
  • Rubbing alcohol in a small container (to put the ticks in)
Instead of using a pair tweezers, you can also get a special tick removing device available at pet stores, such as "Ticked Off", "Tick Key", and others.

Several Simple Steps To Remove Ticks From Dogs

  • Put on a pair of disposable rubber gloves.
  • Using a pair of tweezers or a tick removal device, grasp the tick firmly by the head or mouth parts right where they enter the skin. (Do not grab on to the the tick' body because doing so may crush the tick and force harmful bacteria to leave the tick and enter the dog's bloodstream.)
  • In one firm outward pull, lift the tick off your dog's body. Remember to pull directly without twisting.
  • After the tick has been removed, kill it by putting it in a small container of rubbing alcohol. Seal and dispose of the container. Flushing the tick down the toilet will not kill it so be sure to drown it in alcohol.
  • Clean the site of the bite with a disinfectant.
  • To prevent skin infections, you may want to put a dab of antibiotic ointment on the site.
  • Be sure to disinfect the tweezers thoroughly.
Sometimes a dog bitten by a tick may show some skin irritation at the site of the bite. This skin irritation is caused by the saliva of the tick. In most cases, the reaction will disappear within a couple of days. If the irritation seems to be worsening, you may need to take your dog to be examined by a vet. In some cases, the tick bite may leave a permanent scar on the dog's skin.

Removing Ticks from Dogs - Do's and Don'ts

  • Do wear gloves before removing ticks from dogs.
  • Don't remove or dispose of ticks with your fingers. Do use tweezers or a tick removal device.
  • Don't crush ticks with your fingers as the content inside them may transmit disease.
  • Don't flush ticks down the toilet.
  • Do use alcohol to kill ticks.
  • Don't use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish or other products to remove a tick.
  • Don't try to remove ticks that are deep in your dog's ear canals. Ask your vet to remove them instead.

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