Dog Tick Removal : Removing Ticks from Dogs the Right Way

Improper dog tick removal increases the risk of disease transmission from an infected tick and could cause your dog to get a secondary bacterial infection.

Fortunately, removing ticks from dogs correctly is quick and easy as long as you use the right tools and technique...

Consequences of Improper Dog Tick Removal

You should have two concerns following a tick bite:

  1. Getting the tick removed quickly
  2. How to remove ticks properly

Get the Tick Removed Quickly

Even though most ticks do not carry a disease, any attached ticks should be removed as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher the risk your dog has of contracting a disease from an infected tick.

For example, one study tested three sets of 14 hosts of ticks infected with Lyme disease after 24, 48 and 72 hours. Following were the number of infected hosts after each time frame:

  • 24 hours - 1 out of 14 were infected
  • 48 hours - 5 out of 14 were infected
  • 72 hours - 13 out of 14 were infeted

Method of Tick Removal

While there is conflicting evidence that the method of dog tick removal has any impact on the transmission of Lyme disease (this study vs this information, for example), be on the safe side and don't squeeze the body of the tick. Some say that doing so artificially injects the body with any disease that the tick may be carrying.

The much more agreed-upon potential result of improper tick removal is a secondary bacterial infection from the tick's mouth parts left in your dog's skin.

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Proper Dog Tick Removal in 7 Steps

Follow these dog tick removal guidelines…If you find a tick that is still attached to your or your dog’s skin,

  1. If possible, do not touch the tick with your bare hands. Some research suggests that tick secretions may carry disease.
  2. Never squeeze the body of the tick as you may squirt fluid from the tick back into your or your dog’s body. While there's conflicting evidence that any harm will come to your dog if you do, don't risk it.
  3. Use a good commercial tick remover instead of tweezers, as studies have shown that commercial tick removers are more effective. The Ticked Off Tick Remover (pictured right) is an inexpensive option that easily gets the job done. Ticked Off's packaging clearly states how to use the tool properly:
    1. Once the tick has been isolated, is clearly visible and free from obstruction, place the wide part of the notch on the skin near the tick (hold skin taut if necessary).
    2. Apply slight pressure downward on the skin, slide the remover forward so the small part of the notch is framing the tick.
    3. Continuous forward sliding motion detaches the tick (do not pry, lever or lift up... just slide it forward.)
  4. Safely dispose of the tick of by placing it in a container of alcohol or soapy water and flushing it down the toilet or by wrapping it in sticky tape and throwing it away.
  5. Inspect the spot of the bite for any remaining tick mouth parts. If you see them, remove them with disinfected tweezers.
  6. Finally, wash the area around the bite and apply an antiseptic. We've found antiseptic pads to be more effective than antiseptic spray as they are better at cleansing the small tick bites.
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Natural Dog Tick Bite Treatment

Newton Homeopathics Flea & Bug Bites for Dogs and Cats

There may be some irritation or itching around the bites, in which case you can apply either an external or internal remedy.

For internal dog flea and tick medicine, Ledum and Arnica work well. Newton Homeopathics Flea & Bug Bite contains both. Simply feed your dog 3 to 6 drops (depending on your dog's size) every 15 minutes until the irritation subsides.

For an external dog flea and tick medicine, rub a small amount of nettle extract (one or two drops) into the skin on and around the bite.

If you or your dog are bitten by a tick that is carrying a disease, proper tick removal and washing may not be enough, even if you remove the tick quickly.  Keep an eye out for symptoms of tick-related diseases, including:

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