Ticks are small blood-sucking parasites related to spiders. Anyone who spends time in the great outdoors knows about the threat of disease-carrying ticks to dogs and their owners.
To prevent serious tick issues, always check your dog and yourself for ticks when you return from areas with long grass, forests and shrubs. Remember that ticks can be as small as a pencil point or as large as a bean.
If you find a tick attached to your pet’s skin, don’t panic. Although it doesn’t necessarily mean disease, it is important to remove the tick properly. All parts of the tick need to be removed to avoid risk of infection. If you have never removed a tick properly, or you tear the tick during removal, visit your veterinary clinic for help.
Don’t apply any substances (alcohol, etc.) to the tick hoping it will let go—it won’t.
Wear latex-type gloves to protect your hands.
Use sharp, pointed tweezers or special tick tweezers (ask your veterinarian).
Grasp the tick as close to its embedded mouthparts as possible, next to your pet’s skin. Do not grasp or squeeze the tick’s head or body—this can help expel more organisms into your pet.
Pull straight out with a slow, steady motion. Don’t twist or turn the tick as you go, as this may disconnect the head or mouthparts.
Keep the tick in a clean jar or container so you can take it to your veterinarian for identification, so you know what species it was to help determine risks of disease transmission.
Once the tick is removed, wash the bite area with mild soap and warm water. Keep an eye on it over the next several days for signs of irritation or infection. It should clear up in a few days—if not, see your veterinarian.
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