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Getting a Tick Off of Your Dog

Pit Bull in Grass 270x224


If your dog spends lots of time outdoors, tick checks should be part of your daily routine. Here’s how to spot a tick – and what to do if one has grabbed hold of your pet.


  1. Scan for ticks
  2. Is it a tick?
  3. Safe removal
  4. Cleanup and after-care
  5. Prevent future bites

Step 1: Scan for ticks

Start by running your fingers slowly over your dog's entire body. If you feel a bump or swollen area, check to see if a tick has burrowed there. Don't limit your search to your dog's torso: check between his toes, under his armpits, the insides of his ears, and around his face and chin.

Photo by ErikKarits/iStockphoto

Step 2: Is it a tick?

Ticks can be black, brown or tan and they have eight legs. They can also be tiny: some species are only as large as the head of a pin.

Step 3: Safe removal


  • Gloves
  • Clean tweezers / tick remover
  • Disinfectant or antiseptic cream
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Stay Safe! Always wear gloves while handling ticks to avoid contact with your skin.

Using tweezers:

  • Grasp the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible (without pinching your pet).
  • Pull it out in a straight, steady motion. Anything left behind could lead to an infection.

Using a tick remover:

  • Gently press the remover against your pet’s skin near the tick.
  • Slide the notch of the remover under the tick, pulling it free.

Step 4: Cleanup and after-care

Drop the tick into isopropyl alcohol and note the date you found the tick. If your pet begins displaying symptoms of a tick-borne illness, your veterinarian may want to identify or test it.

Wash your hands, clean your pet’s wound with antiseptic and make sure to clean your tweezers with isopropyl alcohol.

Keep an eye on the area where the tick was to see if an infection surfaces. If the skin remains irritated or infected, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Watch your pet for symptoms of tick-borne diseases. Some symptoms include arthritis or lameness that lasts for three to four days, reluctance to move, swollen joints, fever, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, loss of appetite and neurological problems.

Step 5: Prevent future bites

If you or your companion animals spend any time outdoors, you should routinely check for ticks. Ticks transfer between hosts, so it is important to check all family members after outdoor activities in wooded, leafy or grassy areas.an outing.

In many areas of the United States, ticks are active year-round, even after a killing frost.

Protect your pet from ticks, fleas and other pests. Learn how to prevent bites before they occur.

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