How to Remove Ticks from Dogs: A Complete DIY Guide

I have to admit – I'm not the best when it comes to removing a tick. I usually ask my partner to handle it because, let's be honest, ticks are creepy! However, as a responsible pet parent, I do what’s necessary for my furry kids. And I want you to be able to do the same! Here’s an expanded guide on how to effectively remove ticks from your dog, especially during the tick-prone summer months.

The Importance of Regular Tick Checks

Ticks are more than just a nuisance; they can carry diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which are harmful to both dogs and humans. Therefore, performing regular tick checks on your dog, especially after outdoor activities, is crucial.

How to Perform a Tick Check on Your Dog

Check Before Entering Your Home: Before bringing your dog inside, give them a thorough check to prevent ticks from entering your home. Ticks, such as the American Dog Tick, can live up to two years without a host!

Inspect Common Tick Hiding Spots: Comb your fingers through your dog’s fur, pressing gently against the skin to feel for any bumps. Pay extra attention to:

  • Face and Neck
  • Inside the Ears
  • Under the Collar
  • Between the Toes
  • Groin Area

If you feel a bump, part your dog's hair to see the skin. Ticks will appear as black, brown, or grayish-brown specks, and you might see their legs.

DIY Tick Removal: Step by Step Guide

Removing a tick can be daunting, but with the right approach and tools, it’s a manageable task. Here’s how you can do it safely and effectively:

Gather Your Supplies:

  • Gloves
  • Tweezers
  • Jar with a screw-top lid and a small amount of rubbing alcohol
  • Soap and water

Steps to Remove a Tick:

  • Prepare Yourself: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Put on gloves to protect yourself from potential diseases carried by the tick.
  • Grasp the Tick Properly: Using tweezers, grasp the tick as close to your dog's skin as possible. Do not twist or jerk the tick; this might cause its mouthparts to break off and remain in the skin, or it might cause the tick to release infectious fluids.
  • Remove the Tick: Pull straight upwards with steady, even pressure. Avoid squeezing or crushing the tick’s body.
  • Dispose of the Tick: Place the tick in the jar with rubbing alcohol. This will kill the tick and preserve it for testing if your pet becomes ill.
  • Clean the Area: Disinfect the tweezers with rubbing alcohol and wash your hands again.
  • Monitor Your Dog: Keep an eye on the area where the tick was attached and watch for signs of infection or illness. If you notice any unusual symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

Preventing Ticks on Your Dog

To help keep ticks off your dog in the future, consider using tick repellents. Consult your vet for recommendations; products like Frontline are popular and effective. Here are additional tips for tick prevention:

  • Regular Grooming: Regularly groom your dog to spot and remove ticks before they become attached.
  • Tick Preventive Medications: Use vet-recommended tick prevention treatments, which can be oral or topical.
  • Keep Yard Tidy: Maintain your yard by keeping the grass short and removing leaf litter, which are common places for ticks to hide.


Removing ticks might not be the most pleasant task, but it’s essential for your dog’s health and well-being. With this guide, you’re equipped with the knowledge to perform a thorough tick check and safely remove any ticks you find. Remember, preventing ticks is just as important as removing them, so talk to your vet about the best tick prevention strategies for your dog. Enjoy a tick-free summer with your furry friend!

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