If your dog is an outdoor adventurer, they may end up bringing home some unwanted guests: ticks. Don’t worry, you’ve done nothing wrong. Ticks are sneaky little bugs, and removing them properly is a pretty easy task. Leaving a tick could mean serious problems for your dog.
In this guide we run through the most painless way to remove ticks from a dog and give you step by step instructions to make it as stress free for you.
What you’ll need
Take a few moments to check for ticks after your dog has been outside for a while. If you find one, don’t panic, just remove it. There are several things not to do, though. Don’t try to burn it, and don’t coat it with anything. You need to remove the entire tick, head and all. For this, you’ll need some tools.
Keep yourself and your dog clean in case you come into contact with any fluids.
Many vets recommend povidone-iodine, but you can also use Neosporin or antiseptic wipes which will do the job. We find an antiseptic wipe is just fine, and does the job for us.
Tick removal tool
You can purchase a special tool to remove ticks online. We use a cheap but effective tool by HouChanges which we find works a treat and makes the process very smooth and speedy.
How to Remove a Tick From Your Dog without causing your dog pain
- Gather your tools and then glove up.
- Get your pup to stay still. If there is someone else that can help and hold them steady, then enlist their help to do so.
- Pull back your dogs fur so that you have a clear view of the tick
- Slide your tick removal tool to the very base of the tick, ensuring the tool is pressed against your dogs skin.
- Using a gentle and steady force, pull the tick up and away from the dog’s body using a twisting motion. You do not want to detach the tick’s head. Be confident during this movement and keep the motion smooth and constant, this will keep the process completely painless for your dog and ensure you get the whole tick out.
- Don’t yank or crush the tick. If you don’t get it the first time, try again, nice and slow. It has to come out.
- Once you have removed it, check that you have detached the whole tick (you should be able to see the ticks head and legs). Put the tick in a container with a lid or bag to seal and throw it away.
- Next, examine the area carefully where the tick was. If there is swelling or redness, or leaking fluid, head to the vet. You want to avoid any type of infection.
- Apply antiseptic to your dog’s skin where the tick was, or wipe it with an antiseptic wipe.
- Check your dog for the next few days to make sure the wound is healing as expected.
Keep an Eye Out for Lyme
Most likely, your dog won’t suffer any lasting consequences from a tick, but you should always keep an eye out for them. If your dog is a country dog, or you live in a heavily-wooded area, they could get a tick carrying Lyme disease. Symptoms of Lyme include stiff and swollen joints, laboured breathing, loss of appetite, and loss of energy.
Obviously, if you do have any concerns, see a vet sooner rather than later. You may save your dog’s life as a result. Even if it’s a false alarm, they won’t fault you for asking.
In most cases, you can remove ticks at home and the process is completely painless for your dog. There are also over-the-counter ointments you can apply to your dog that will keep ticks at bay. Speak to your vet about which ointment is a good choice for your dog.