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How To Remove A Tick From Your Dog In 4 Easy Steps

How To Remove A Tick From Your Dog In 4 Easy Steps

May 06, 2021
AUTHOR Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM

Reviewed by Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM

Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced companion animal veterinarian with a passion for providing reliable veterinary insight & expert advice to help pet parents better care for their pups.


  • This article will discuss how to remove a tick from a dog using tweezers in 4 easy steps.
  • Ticks should be quickly removed from your dog as soon as you notice them to reduce the risk of Lyme disease.
  • Dogs should be kept on a year-round tick preventative so you don’t have to worry about ticks and Lyme disease in your dog.

How to Check for Ticks

Ticks are nasty little creatures, and they can cause severe disease if they are not detected and removed early. You should be vigilant about ticks on your dog especially after going hiking or letting your dog play in the woods or fields. To check for ticks, flip through the hair of your dog to look at their skin. Be sure to check in between the toes, around the face and ears, and on the belly. Ticks can bite anywhere on your dog, so you must do a thorough check to find ticks.

How To Remove A Tick From Your Dog In 4 Easy Steps

How quickly should a tick be removed from a dog?

You should try to remove the tick as soon as possible. The longer a tick is bit in, the higher the chances that the tick will transit a dangerous tick-borne illness to your dog. After 48 hours of the tick being bit in, the chances of Lyme disease in dogs goes up drastically.

How To Get a Tick off a Dog: 4 Easy Steps

The easiest way to remove a tick from a dog is by using tweezers. The CDC recommends the tweezer method in people, and this method is also preferred by most veterinarians. For this method, you will need tweezers and a small cotton ball or paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol. Follow the steps below to safely and effectively remove the tick. If your dog will not let you remove the tick or if you are unsure of your ability to remove the tick, speak with your veterinarian as they have a lot of experience removing ticks.

How To Remove A Tick From Your Dog In 4 Easy Steps

Step 1: Grasp the Tick with Tweezers Close to Your Dog’s Skin

First, grasp the tick by the mouth-parts as close as possible to your dog’s skin. You want to avoid grasping the body of the tick as this may make them regurgitate into your dog. By grasping as close as possible to your dog’s skin, you can ensure that you are grabbing most of the mouth-parts, so you will successfully remove the entire tick.

Step 2: Gently Pull the Tick Off

With gentle, steady, and even pressure pull the tick straight off. Try not to twist or jerk as this may break off the mouth-parts of the tick. If the mouth-parts break off, you can try to gently remove them with the tweezers, but don’t dig around too much because this may hurt your dog and cause damage to the skin.

Step 3: Clean the Area With a Small Amount of Rubbing Alcohol

Clean the area where you just removed the tick with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Place some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or a paper towel, and then rub the area clean where the tick was bitten in previously.

Step 4: Dispose of the Tick

You can dispose of the newly removed tick by flushing it down the toilet, placing it in alcohol, or putting it in a sealed bag.  Don’t forget to give your dog a tasty treat after you remove the tick! These all-natural Alpha Paw Doggy Cookies are a great option for treats.

Dangers of Tick Bites on Dogs

Ticks can carry many dangerous diseases including Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. You should monitor your dog after a tick bite to ensure that they stay healthy. Many of these tick-borne illnesses can be fatal if left untreated, so it is important to alert your veterinarian if your dog has not been feeling well especially after a tick bite.

How To Remove A Tick From Your Dog In 4 Easy Steps

Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease is a dangerous condition in dogs. If left untreated, Lyme disease can be fatal. There are effective treatment options available for Lyme disease in dogs, and the sooner you catch the disease, the better the chances are for a faster recovery. According to the AKC, symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Limping
  • Joint swelling
  • Decreased energy

When should I visit the vet?

You should visit the vet if you notice a red rash or swelling around the tick bite. This may indicate that the bite is either infected, or this may be an early warning sign of Lyme disease. If you notice that your dog is eating less, limping, or not acting like themselves after a tick bite, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss testing for Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses. Other signs that you should visit a veterinarian as soon as possible are detailed in this Alpha Paw article.

Tick Prevention for Dogs

The good news is that there are many safe and effective flea and tick preventatives available for use in dogs. This article discusses some of my favorite flea and tick combination product recommendations. Nexgard, a monthly chewable flea and tick medication, is currently approved by the FDA for preventing infections causing Lyme disease in dogs because it is extremely effective at killing black-legged ticks, the main tick involved in the transmission of Lyme disease.

I recommend using Nexgard as a year-round tick preventative to reduce the risk of Lyme disease.

Key Takeaways

To safely remove ticks on dogs, grasp the tick with tweezers as close as possible to your dog’s skin. Then, clean the area where the tick was bit in with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. You should visit your vet if your pet exhibits any symptoms of Lyme disease or if the tick bite develops into a rash. The safest and most effective way to protect against ticks and Lyme disease is to place your dog on Nexgard, a monthly oral flea and tick preventative.

author image

Dr. Addie Reinhard, DVM

Member of Alpha Paw’s Board of Pet Experts

Dr. Addie Reinhard is an experienced companion animal veterinarian who lives in Lexington, KY with her husband, greyhound, and four cats. She graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, and currently practices in the central Kentucky region. Dr. Addie has special interests in preventative care, dermatology, and diseases, and she enjoys creating helpful educational resources related to these topics to help pet parents keep their four-legged family members happy and healthy. We love Dr. Addie’s passion for providing reliable veterinary insight and medical advice to help pet parents like us give their pups the happy & healthy lives they deserve!

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