Fleas and ticks are no fun for your pooch – they make your dog uncomfortable and even transmit a variety of diseases. Applying flea or tick medicine to your dog can help, but even these may fail to stop the occasional tick from latching on.
Don’t worry! We’ll explain how to remove a tick from your dog and share some other pet-pest tips below!
Removing Ticks from Your Dog: Key Takeaways
- Tick removal is pretty easy — you’ll just need a pair of tweezers (or a tick-removal tool), some gloves, and a bit of soap, and some isopropyl alcohol.
- Pull the tick off by gently grasping it close to your dog’s skin and then pulling straight back in a steady motion.
- Always preserve the tick in alcohol after removing it, in case your dog gets sick later.
- Ticks can carry some gross and dangerous germs, so be sure to wash up thoroughly after you’re finished.
How to Remove a Tick From a Dog
If your dog already has a tick, you’ll have to remove it before applying any future flea and tick medicine.
Also, because your dog is probably more likely to become sick from a tick that’s allowed to remain attached for a long time than one that is promptly removed, you’ll want to get busy as soon as you notice the offending arthropod.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Put on a pair of latex or nitrile gloves. This will help prevent any potential disease from being transmitted to you.
- Part your dog’s hair as necessary to provide easy access to the tick. Be sure to praise your dog to keep him calm during the process.
- Getting as close to your dog’s skin as possible, grasp the tick with a set of tweezers. Be careful not to pinch your dog’s skin.
- Pull outward in a straight and steady motion. The tick should come loose pretty easily — superhuman strength is not necessary.
Be careful not to twist or jerk the tick — pieces of its mouth may remain stuck in your dog’s skin, which can lead to infection. Also avoid crushing the tick, since its inner fluids may be infected and spread gross bacteria or viruses all over the place. Also, be sure that you’ve removed the entire tick.
Never use folk remedies to remove ticks — they rarely work, and they often increase the danger to your dog. This includes touching a hot match to the tick or covering the tick in nail polish or anything else.
After you’ve removed the tick, you’ll want to:
- Keep the tick. Put the tick into a sealed container with isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol will kill the tick. Write the date on the container and keep it for a few weeks in case your dog shows symptoms of illness. Keeping the tick will help the vet in testing for illness.
- Don’t forget to wash up! Clean your hands, clean the tweezers, and clean your dog’s skin with soap, water, and a bit of antiseptic (isopropyl alcohol will work here too).
When Should I Use Flea and Tick Medicine on My Dog?
Spring and summer are usually the worst time for fleas and ticks, but in some parts of the country, they are nuisance all year. Accordingly, it is wise to use a flea-and-tick preventative all year long, unless your vet cautions against doing so.
Types of Flea and Tick Prevention
The most popular products for preventing ticks and fleas are topical, spot-on treatments that you apply to a pet’s outer coat.
However, there are many other options available as well. Products can come in the form of:
How to Safely Apply Flea and Tick Medicine
Talk with your vet before using flea or tick medicine on your pets, as some animals don’t react well to the medication. Pets you need to be especially careful with are:
- Elderly pets
- Sick animals
- Puppies or kittens
- Pets who are pregnant or nursing
- Pets that are already on existing medication
Others Things to Keep in Mind With Flea & Tick Medicine
- Read instructions carefully, and only use dog flea and tick medicine on a dog, and cat flea and tick medicine on a cat. Never use medicine on an animal other than the one it is intended for, as different insecticides can be fatal if used on the incorrect animal.
- There are natural flea and tick treatments available for owners who’d prefer them. However, most mainstream flea and tick treatments are perfectly safe when used as instructed and in conjunction with your vet’s advice.
- Only apply the recommended dosage. Don’t apply more of the treatment than instructed, and avoid “doubling up,” by using multiple products (for example, you don’t want to use a topical treatment and a shampoo treatment).
- Wear gloves when you apply the flea and tick medicine, or wash your hands with soap after applying. Read instructions on proper application, storage, and disposal.
- After applying flea and tick medication, keep your pets separated from one another to prevent them from grooming one another, and swallowing the chemicals as a result.
- Watch your pet carefully after applying the flea and tick medication. Some animals may have a bad reaction to the product, especially if it is their first time. Call your vet if you notice your pet is acting unusual or demonstrates a change in appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, or excessive salivation.
Remember, while flea and tick medicine provides a major relief for pets, improper use can cause your pet to fall ill.
Have you ever had to remove a tick (or two…or three…) from your pet’s coat? Did you find it easy to do so? We’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!