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How Do I Remove a Tick on a Dog?

It's important to remove all parts of a tick from the bite.
First loosen the tick's grip on the dog, by applying hot water to the tick.
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  • Written By: Marco Sumayao
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2014
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In order to remove a tick on a dog, owners should first loosen the parasite's grip on the pet's skin; one of the most common techniques for doing this is to apply hot water to the tick. Removing the insect without first loosening its bite can lead to infections on the dog's skin. Once the tick has released its teeth from the dog's skin, owners should carefully pull the tick out, making sure not to leave its head behind. Once removed, the tick should be killed and the dog's skin disinfected.

Experts recommend that owners wear protective gloves when attempting to remove a tick on a dog. This prevents any infectious diseases from transferring through the tick into the owner's system. In addition, owners should avoid direct contact with the tick as much as possible; using implements such as tweezers and droppers can significantly reduce the risk of infection on both the dog and its owners.

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Ticks' teeth dig deep into the dogs' skin when they feed, and their curved shape make it difficult to pull the parasites out. Immobilizing a tick on a dog will help loosen its grip on the skin, making tick removal much easier. Many experts advise dipping a cotton ball in hot water, then applying it to the insect. The discomfort will often cause the tick to unhook its teeth from the dog's skin. If hot water is unavailable, dabbing alcohol through a cotton ball or applying it directly onto the tick with the use of a dropper will suffice.

After stunning the tick, owners should test whether or not the tick has released its bite. Pet owners should clamp tweezers as close as possible to the tick's head and give it a light twist. If it feels like the tick moves, it is likely that it has unhooked its teeth. Owners should then pull the tick out in a slow and steady fashion, so as not to risk leaving the tick's head behind. Owners should also avoid bursting the tick on a dog, as the blood can be poisonous to the pet.

Once a tick on a dog is removed, it should be tossed into a small jar of hot water or alcohol or incinerated. Owners should examine the dog's skin for any parts of the tick that might have been left behind and remove them accordingly. The area of tick bite should be disinfected with a dog-friendly antiseptic to ensure a perfectly healthy dog.

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Discuss this Article

Oceana
Post 4

The best way to deal with ticks is to prevent them from ever latching onto your dog, but if they are already present, you can use tick control for dogs. I usually wait until I see the first tick of the spring on my dog to start using this.

I buy it from my vet, and it is sold by the weight of the dog. My dog is 80 pounds, so I have to buy a bigger tube for her.

I squeeze the liquid out of the tube down the center of her back. I do this once a month, and it wards off ticks and fleas.

It also kills the ticks that are already there. It makes them sick, and they dry up and turn pale, eventually falling off.

kylee07drg
Post 3

@Perdido – I'm not sure if ticks can drown. Think about all the outdoor dogs that go swimming and all the hunting dogs who do their work in ponds. Their ticks survive the water.

I always burn my ticks with a match. Squishing them makes me nauseous, and I'm afraid that hot water kills them too slowly.

I use alcohol to loosen the tick, and then I pull it out with tweezers. I put it on the concrete carport, and my husband holds a lit match to it until it pops.

If I threw it down the toilet, I would be afraid it could somehow work its way back up into my bathroom. After I remove a tick, I want to be certain that it is dead.

Perdido
Post 2

I use gloves instead of tweezers to remove my dog's ticks. He has long fur, and often, I don't discover the ticks until they are big and full of blood. Tweezers could easily rupture a fat tick, and that would be so messy and nasty.

I use my spray bottle to squirt hot water onto the tick. It is amazing that something as simple as heated water will make this parasite let go.

I wiggle it out with my gloves. Then, I flush it down the toilet. Toilet water is not hot, but I figure that surely ticks will drown in the sewer.

orangey03
Post 1

I never knew that removing ticks from dogs could be so complicated! I grew up out in the country, where plenty of tall grass and forests meant an ample supply of ticks. I have yanked millions of ticks from my dogs' skin over the years, but I never used any of these methods.

I simply got a good hold on the base of the tick and yanked it out rapidly. A small chunk of my dog's skin always came out with the tick. Then, I would smash it between two rocks to kill it.

A couple of times, my dog would get a hard, red lump where I yanked the tick out. This probably meant that I should be doing something different. I am going to start using the hot water method now that I have read this article.

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