How to remove a tick

Photo courtesy of Megan Van Paris

Photo courtesy of Megan Van Paris

If your dog spends a lot of time outside, especially during the warmer months, doing routine tick checks should become a daily habit.   Even if your dog is on a tick preventative, this is not always completely effective in stopping a tick from latching on.   On average, it takes 24-48 hours for an infection to transmit to your dog from a tick, so finding and removing a tick is important.

  • Where to check – Check all over your dog’s body! Ticks can embed themselves in your pup’s ears, torso and armpits, in between their toes and around their face and chin. During your check, if you feel a bump, take a closer look and make sure a tick hasn’t burrowed into your dog’s skin!
  • Is this a tick? – It is sometimes difficult to correctly identify if what you’re seeing on your dog is a tick. Ticks can be brown, black or tan and have eight legs. Some species of tick are very tiny – about the size of a pin head – so if you are unsure of what you’re seeing, call us at Blum and we will be happy to help you out!

Tick Removal Steps

When you find a tick on your furry family member, here are some quick and easy tips on how to remove it.

  1. Proper equipment – Before you remove the tick, make sure you have a pair of pointy nosed tweezers or other tick removing tool (such as a Tick Twister), Isopropyl alcohol, antiseptic and gloves.
  2. Tick removal – Since ticks can transmit diseases to humans, it is recommended to wear gloves for the removal process.

-If you are using tweezers, grab the tick as closely as possible to your dog’s skin without pinching it. As steady as possible, pull outward. Make sure you have removed the entire tick because any part that is left behind could cause an infection.

-If you are using a Tick Twister or similar product, slide the notch of the remover underneath the tick until it is caught in the middle of the prongs. Twist and pull the tick free. The entire tick should come out easily. Again, make sure no parts are left behind.

  1. Save the evidence – Once you have removed the tick, place into a small container filled with Isopropyl alcohol, which will quickly kill the tick. Date the container so if your dog starts displaying any signs of a tick-borne disease, the doctor can examine the tick that was removed.
  2. Clean up – Using antiseptic, clean the area where the tick was removed. Make sure the skin does not stay red or irritated, and if it does contact your doctor at Blum for further instruction.

If you are concerned about removing a tick by yourself, we are always available to help you at Blum! For any tick-related questions or concerns, please call us at: (773) 327-4446.

Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.