How To Remove A Tick From Your Dog

With warmer weather well on the way in many parts of the U.S., tick season is fast approaching. And they are everywhere….from grass to forests to lawns and even beaches and cities. 

With over 200 different species of ticks in the U.S. alone, each one capable of harboring pathogens that can infect both dogs and people with diseases such as Lyme, ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, you need to know how to quickly and safely remove these pests from your dog. Ticks vary greatly in size, from nearly impossible to see to the size of the end of your little fingertip.

Fortunately, disease transmission doesn’t happen the instant your dog is bitten by a tick but occurs in a window of three to six hours. The sooner you can remove the tick the better for your dog and the less chance she has of developing an illness.

The easiest way to remove a tick is to use tweezers. But you want to use tweezers with a fine point, as using ones with a blunted point can tear the tick and cause pathogens to get into your dog’s skin.

To remove a tick, take your fingers and spread your dog’s fur apart so you can get a good view of the tick. The take the tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull very gently straight up in a steady, slow motion, to avoid leaving the tick’s mouth parts behind.

Once you have removed the tick, clean the site with an alcohol swab or a piece of paper towel or cotton ball dipped in alcohol. Also disinfect the tweezers and wash your hands throughly.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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