Dogs are man’s best friend – and no one can stand to see their best friend in pain.
Dog owners know the pain of seeing their pet continuously getting bullied by blood-sucking fleas. The same can happen with ticks.
Knowing how to remove a tick from a dog is a question that sometimes leaves even seasoned pet parents guessing.
Mostly surfacing in the spring and summer, these eight-legged, blood-sucking external parasites take up residence on your dog’s body, inserting their jaws through its skin and feeding on its blood. (1)
Ticks can carry many diseases transmittable to pets. Ticks spend much of their time off of pets so your yard or home will also need to be treated in some manner.
And not only do they cause problems for your pet, but they can also cause health issues if found on people’s skin, with elderly people and babies being the most prone victims to ticks. Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever are the most common tick-borne diseases, seen among dogs as well as humans.
Natural Ways to Remove Ticks from Dogs
When dealing with ticks, keep checking for any rashes or irritation that might be disturbing your dog. If such symptoms occur, contact your veterinarian immediately for assistance to ensure that your canine friend remains safe, healthy and happy.
Below are three ways that you can use to remove a tick from a dog.
Method 1: Using Tweezers
This simple method uses a pair of tweezers and involves the point-and-pluck technique, but you have to be very careful while doing this. Using tweezers requires extreme precaution as well as precision in order not to make the problem worse. (2)
Fine point tweezers or special tick hooks should be used, not the normal everyday tweezers most people have on hand.
Follow the steps below to ensure smooth manual removal of ticks:
- Wear rubber gloves, so the tweezers don’t slip out of your hands and hurt your dog. This will also ensure that you don’t pick up any ticks or related infections.
- Grab a pair of tweezers (preferably sharp ones) and carefully look for the ticks on the dog’s skin.
- When spotted, grab hold of the tick near its mouth, as close as possible to your dog’s skin. Do Not grab it by its body. Be careful not to pinch the dog, or it will most likely run away. Use extra care when the tick is near the eye area.
- Once you’ve grabbed the tick, pluck it upward and out steadily in one straight motion. If you twist it or do it slowly, the tick’s mouth parts may remain stuck to your dog’s body. Remember, while it’s a little tricky, one quick and precise motion will get the job done.
- Kill the tick by placing it in a container filled with rubbing alcohol. It will die in no time. Don’t leave the tick lying around after plucking it, as it can reattach itself to your dog’s body or even yours or other family members.
- When dead, put it in a plastic bag and dispose of it. You can also flush the dead tick down the toilet.
- Disinfect the affected area to prevent any further infection in your dog. Be careful applying the disinfectant if it’s near the eyes.
- If you see any red rashes or inflammation near the bite area, contact your veterinarian for further help.
Alternatively, if you are not as brave-hearted to use a pair of tweezers around your dog’s skin, you can give them a comfortable touch and use your fingers instead. Just have a firm hold on the tick and in one quick motion, go.
Another technique that works is giving the tick a nudge, round-and-round treatment. Use your finger to nudge the tick around in a circular motion.
A few motions and you’ll see the tick loosening its grip and trying to get out. Pull them off easily once they loosen their jaws and properly dispose them of as stated above.
Method 2: Using Liquid Dish Soap
It is a popular and effective folk remedy advocated by many pet lovers. Using liquid dish soap is simple, and it eliminates the hassle and pain of tweezing the tick out, for both you and your dog. Most bugs can be killed with dish soap.
Follow the procedure below to get rid of ticks on your dog:
- Dip a cotton ball into liquid dish soap. You can also use soapy water for this purpose. Apply the soaked cotton ball directly on the area where the tick is and hold it there for around a minute.
- When you lift the cotton ball, you’ll see the tick is stuck to it.
- Dip the tick in rubbing alcohol to kill it. Dispose of the dead tick in a plastic bag or flush it down the toilet.
- Apply a disinfectant to the area with the tick bite to prevent any infection.
Method 3: Using Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) is a highly effective method for killing ticks on your dog. While it appears like a superfine powder to us, its structure resembles shards of broken glass at a microscopic level.
As a result, DE makes lesions in the exoskeleton of bugs, including ticks, ultimately desiccating them and causing them to die within 24 to 72 hours.
Food-grade DE is safe to be touched or consumed by mammals. However, wear gloves and a dust mask as a precaution, especially if you have asthma, as any fine dust may cause irritation or breathing problems.
- Apply DE on your pet’s skin, and dust it on its coat and fur.
- Be careful and make sure that you don’t get any in the dog’s eyes, nose or ears.
- Use your fingers to apply it in between their paws, and in other critical areas.
- Keep checking every day for the dead ticks that get stuck in the fur, so you can remove and dispose of them.
Wet application of DE is also possible. It can make your task easier and save you the hassle of dry dusting, but you need to let it get dry for it to work properly. If your pooch has a long and lush coat, dry dusting may be more feasible.
- Give your pet a bath with a solution made of 1 cup of food-grade DE mixed into 1 gallon of water.
- Directly apply the solution or use a spray bottle to target the areas where you’ve spotted ticks.
- Be careful when bathing your dog and see to it that his eyes, nose, and ears are protected.
- There is no need to rinse the solution off with water. Let the DE dry and wait for the ticks to drop dead.
- Don’t forget to pick out the dead ticks stuck in your dog’s fur.
Tips to help your dog
- When plucking ticks out with tweezers, get someone who can hold your dog and keep him calm. Irregular touching can irritate dogs, and they can get hurt by the tweezers if they jerk away in sudden movements.
- Other methods of applying DE include the salt shaker method (putting dry DE in a salt shaker and applying it over the dog’s skin and fur) and the cosmetic powder puff method (using your cosmetic powder puff to apply dry DE on its coat).
- Sprinkle DE on carpets, curtains, the dog’s bed and rugs where your dog mostly sits. Vacuum to remove any dead bugs every third day of application.
- Maurelli MP, Pepe P, al et. A national survey of Ixodidae ticks on privately owned dogs in Italy. Parasites & Vectors. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6048866/. Published 2018.
- Tick bites: What are ticks and how can they be removed? InformedHealth.org [Internet]. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279240/. Published April 20, 2016.