5 Tips for Safely Removing Ticks From Dogs

Checking your dog frequently for ticks may help you find and safely remove the tick before it digs into your pup’s skin and becomes embedded.

Ticks’ favorite places on your dog are found behind the ears, between the toes and on the underside of his belly. By: catmitchell

I’m sure all of you are aware that ticks are a danger to our health and that of our pets.

Ticks are certainly 1 of many banes to canines and their families. They not only carry horrific diseases but also cause discomfort to our pets. Without timely removal, a tick infestation may cause anemia and death.

Be Vigilant When Your Dog Plays Outside

Dog families must be diligent in checking for ticks. The ears, underbelly and tail are usually concealed, so you’ll have to play hide-and-seek with ticks. Long-coated dogs often present a challenge because the coat must be literally combed through to find these blood-sucking parasites.

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Most often, you’ll discover ticks on warm days, no matter what season of the year. Your dog can pick up a tick in the woods, in fields, even in your yard. Among a tick’s favorite places on your dog are behind the ears, between the toes and on the underside of his belly.

Checking your dog often (and thoroughly) on warm days may result in your being able to remove the tick before it digs into the skin and becomes embedded.

How to Safely Remove Ticks From Dogs

For those who don’t know how to safely remove ticks from dogs, try the following steps:

  1. Sterilize a pair of blunt tweezers with rubbing alcohol. Then, using the tweezers, grab the tick by the head or mouth. Do not try grabbing the whole body.
  2. Try not to twist the tick as you are pulling it off. Pull firmly and steadily. Hold the tick tightly, but do not crush it — this will leave the tick’s head embedded in the flesh, resulting in a trip to the veterinarian.
  3. Do not use alcohol or petroleum jelly to entice the tick to back out. Besides not doing the trick, these things may cause the tick to put more disease-carrying saliva into the wound.
  4. Once you’ve removed it, place the tick in alcohol to kill it.
  5. Clean the wound and apply a small amount of triple antibiotic ointment. Wash your hands thoroughly after the mission is accomplished.

Go over the dog’s body with a comb to be sure there aren’t more freeloaders. Check inside the ears and near the anus very carefully, as hidden ticks are often more dangerous.

Video Guide

Watch this quick video for more on safely removing ticks from dogs:


Remember: Ticks carry disease. To prevent transmitting disease, do not press into the tick.


Sometimes after a tick has been removed, a welt may appear on your dog’s skin. While it may take a week or longer for this to heal, hydrocortisone (affiliate link) may help with the irritation.

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Deer ticks are very small and often carry Lyme disease. If you suspect a tick to be a deer tick, put it in a plastic storage bag, sealing it completely, and label the bag with your pet’s name, the area that the tick was attached to the dog and the date. Take this to your veterinarian to have it checked.

Tick-related illnesses can take a while to show up, so if you find a tick of any kind on your pet, write down the date of the bite. According to Dog Lover’s Daily Companion, ticks are difficult to kill, so be sure you remove the head and body to prevent your puppy from getting an infection.


A cotton ball soaked in citronella and placed in your vacuum bag will help kill ticks in the house. Meanwhile, the pet med Frontline will help keep ticks away from your dog. Just 1 drop monthly between his shoulder blades should work help keep him free from ticks. These preventive medicines for ticks are usually not needed in the winter months.

Gayle Hickman

View posts by Gayle Hickman
Gayle Hickman has been researching and writing about pet behaviors since 2011. In addition to Petful, her articles have appeared on Reader's Digest, Yahoo Shine and WebVet, to name a few.

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