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10 Steps to Remove Ticks From Your Fur Baby
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10 Steps to Remove Ticks From Your Fur Baby

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jan 17, 2023

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Ticks are disease carriers—they pose a risk to your dog's health and can make you and your household sick too.

Extracted ticks should go straight into a waiting jar of isopropyl alcohol. They'll die in the liquid, and you'll make it easier for your vet to identify the specific tick. Disinfect your dog's skin after removing these parasites.Important: When handling a dog with ticks, wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water when you're done.

1

Avoid dangerous methods

Part of hand holding a tick tweezers with tic in it which was on that dog. happyborder/ Getty Images

Incorrect tick removal techniques can make a bad situation worse. Don't bother smothering ticks with alcohol or petroleum jelly or burning them with matches or cigarettes—you could burn your dog when it has enough on its plate with the bloodsuckers. The wrong approach can make the tick regurgitate, which is both gross and dangerous.

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2

Flea or tick shampoo

A pet groomer scrubbing a big dog Aleksandar Jankovic/ Getty Images

Before using a tick-killing shampoo, chat with your vet about whether your dog has an increased risk of a poor reaction to the product. Read the instructions on your brand of tick shampoo to learn how long to leave the product on, and spare Fido that familiar burning, stinging sensation by taking great pains not to get the stuff into its eyes and ears when you're rinsing.

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3

Topical treatments

Female veterinarian giving medication to dog owner in veterinary surgery Westend61/ Getty Images

Topical medications contain chemicals that can prevent ticks and kill them on contact—the effects can last as long as a few weeks. Your vet can advise you about the best spot-on treatments, weight-related dosage, and whether a tick spray may be a good option. These treatments are not interchangeable between dogs and cats, so exercise caution when using them around other pets. Expect topical treatments to take two days, at most, to do their job.

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4

Oral medication

Pet owner giving his dog a pill. Focus on the plastic bottle with vitamins Alexandr Vorontsov/ Getty Images

What's excellent about tablets is that they pose no harm to kids and other pets in the home. You'll require a prescription for these drugs because the wrong dose can be harmful. Your dog will need to take the medication only once a month, and the fleas will start dying within two hours of consumption.

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5

Tick removal kit

Veterinarian parasite mite removes of the dog's skin Fly_dragonfly/ Getty Images

Tick removal kits often include combs and tools like Tick Keys that allow you to grasp these parasites one at a time to pull them away from your dog's body. There are usually two sizes: one to grip small ticks and one for engorged ticks full of blood from feeding. The process can be quick or involve pulling steadily until the arachnid gives up and dislodges. Try not to twist the tool because the tick may burst and cause further issues.

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6

Tick dips

Process of washing a black and tan German pinscher in a bathtub sommersby/ getty Images

Tick dips are potent, and dilution is necessary. After bathing with your usual dog shampoo, apply the dip solution with a sponge. The chemicals don't get washed off, so the product must be deemed safe for your pet before use. Tick dips are a no-no for pregnant or lactating dogs and puppies younger than four months old.

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7

Dish soap

Dog grooming expert giving a small breed dog a bath before giving a new haircut juanma hache/ Getty Images

Fill a small bowl with half a cup of warm water and add just under a quarter cup of dish soap. Soak a cotton ball in the soapy mixture for about two minutes before placing it firmly over the tick for a few minutes. If it doesn't let go, use a tick removal tool or pair of tweezers to complete the mission.

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8

Hot needle

acupuncture needles with moxa stick Jordan Lye/ Getty Images

You could heat a needle in the flame from a lighter or candle and use it to agitate the tick until it detaches its head. But this method is not without risks and should be a last resort. You don't want to kill the tick while it's still clinging on because it becomes more challenging to extract the head, and heat may cause it to produce disease-causing saliva.

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9

Olive oil

Natural,Cosmetics,With,Olives,,Cotton,Balls,And,Plant,Branches,On

Dip a cotton ball in olive oil and place it over a tick with gentle but steady pressure. The olive oil works by suffocating the tick, which causes detachment. Using oil is affordable and will leave your dog's coat with a pleasant shine, so it's worth a shot. A drop of neem oil directly on the tick can help too.

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10

When to call your vet

A large breed black and brown dog lays down on an exam table while on a visit to the Veterinarian. FatCamera/ Getty Images

If your efforts result in ticks embedding themselves into lil' buddy skin, or the tick heads remain, you'll need to make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible. Detached tick heads increase the odds of infection. The sooner the ticks exit the scene, the less likely it will be that your fur baby will get ill.

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