How to remove a tick from my dog:
- Know how to identify a tick correctly and safely.
- Use a special tick remover device (available from pet shops or online) to remove the creepy crawly.
- Safely dispose of the tick (you don’t want it crawling back onto your dog or into your home!).
- Spray your home and dog with tick repellent (there are some pesticide-free tick sprays available).
- Keep an eye on your dog for any signs of illness / seek advice from your vet.
Dogs are naturally inquisitive and as you’re probably already realising, they get into everything and anything! Long grass, woodland floors, brambles and hedges…these damp and dark areas can be a fun adventure for any dog, especially when they are puppies. But discovering that a dog has ticks, and trying to remove a tick from a dog, can be a very stressful and overwhelming experience for you and your four-legged friend.
How to remove a tick from your dog
Ticks can be carriers of some very serious diseases (including Lyme Disease) so it’s important to know how to recognise a tick, and remove a tick from your dog quickly and safely.
What is a tick?
Ticks are small in size, grey-brown in colour and egg-shaped. They jump on to a dog and then attach to the skin in order to suck your dog’s blood. (A quick google and you can see some examples of what to look for!). As they fill with blood, the ticks become bigger and darker, which is when it is easiest to spot them. By running your hands through your dog’s fur, you can easily feel a tick if they are large enough. Sometimes, however, they can be hard to spot, so by gently opening up the fur you can have a good check of your pup’s skin.
How do I remove a tick from my dog?
Once you’ve identified ticks in your dog (it might be one or several), you need to carefully remove the tick from your dog using a special tick remover. This special device will allow you to very carefully twist the tick off your dog, ensuring you don’t snap or squeeze the tick’s body (leaving the head inside your dog or allowing the tick’s blood to come into contact with your dog’s skin, can lead to infection).
- Once you’ve located the tick, it’s time to remove the tick from your dog. Gently part your dog’s fur so that you can easily see and reach the tick. With puppies, it can be best to wait until they’re having a nap or offer a distraction with dog treats..!
- Get your tick remover and slowly push it under the tick (Blue Cross has a really handy visual for you to use to check your technique or see the video below).
- When you have a good grasp of the tick, twist it in a clockwise direction several times until the tick comes loose.
- Next you need to examine your dog’s skin and make sure the tick is completely removed (ensure there is no head left in your dog’s skin). If the tick is still crawling, you can be sure you’ve got it out in one piece.
- Get rid of the tick by putting it in alcohol or popping it in tissue and flushing it down the toilet. Then wash your hands to ensure you are not contaminating yourself. You may want to spray your home and pet with a special tick repellent spray to help prevent ticks from attaching.
As ticks can spread disease, you need to keep an eye on the area over the next few days/weeks for any signs of infection. If you are at all unsure on how to remove a tick from your dog, call your vet for advice.
What if I cannot remove a tick from my dog?
Sometimes if a dog has been foraging, it is possible for them to get a face full of ticks (puppies in particular can be susceptible!). If this is the case and the idea of removing them one by one seems overwhelming, contact your vet who will be able to offer you a nurse consultation. The nurse can show you how to remove the ticks and/or give your dog some medication to kill the ticks immediately.
How to remove a tick from a dog without tweezers?
This method is not recommended as normal ‘human’ tweezers are not designed to remove ticks – instead, purchase a tick remover tool from your local pet shop or vets.
How can I prevent my dog from getting ticks?
There is no easy answer to this – as dogs do like to roam! Of course, it is best to try to prevent your dog from rolling around in long grasses and undergrowth, but the simplest method is to protect your dog from ticks using a treatment. Most vets and pet shops will offer a course of tablets/on the spot spray/tick collars to help provide protection from ticks.
It is also a good idea to keep checking your dog for ticks on a regular basis. When ticks are feeding, they will become much bigger – and it can be easier to spot them in your pet’s skin. Run your hands over your dog’s body when you get back from a walk to check for them. They tend to attach themselves to areas around a dog’s head, neck, ears and feet.
Where can I get advice on how to remove a tick from my dog?
Your vet will be more than happy to offer further advice and tips on how to remove a tick. Many dog charities also offer a wealth of advice and videos to help you perfect your tick removal technique, as well as advice for protecting your own health.