Are Ticks Feeding on Your Dog?

Are Ticks Feeding on Your Dog?
engorged tick

engorged tick

Frolic through the woods with your furry friend lately? You better check him for ticks.

Ticks commonly live in tall grasses and densely wooded areas, and jump onto dogs that walk through their home. A tick feeds on your dog by drinking his blood and can carry diseases such as Lyme disease, which it can then transfer to your pet within 24 to 48 hours of attaching itself to its host.

If you notice a tick on your dog, use these tips to remove it as quickly as possible.

Grab a tool for tick removal

First, find something you can use to remove the tick. A pair of tweezers works well. You can also buy a tick remover tool at pet stores for about $5.

You also need a pair of gloves to protect yourself from catching any diseases the tick may transmit.

Fill a small container with rubbing alcohol to keep nearby. Dropping the tick in quickly kills it, whereas flushing it does not.

Keep antiseptic nearby to use on your pet after tick removal.

Find a helper to remove a tick

While you're trying to get rid of the tick, your dog might squirm. If you can, grab a friend to help hold your pet still.

Related: Learn more about vaccinating your dog.

Remove the tick

Tick removal tools come with different instructions, depending on their design. When using tweezers, gently grab onto the tick as close to the dog’s skin as you can, and pull straight upward, applying steady pressure.

Blacklegged Deer Tick_Female.jpg

blacklegged deer tick (Photo by )
A tick feeds on your dog by drinking its blood after attaching itself to its host. (Photo courtesy of National Pest Management Association/Tom Myers) (Photo by )

Don’t squeeze the tick, because its bodily fluids, which may contain bacteria, can spill out and infect you or your pet. Be sure that you also don’t twist the tick or tear it away too quickly, or its mouth could remain embedded in your pet’s skin.

Clean up the remains

If the tick's mouth parts get stuck in your pet, don’t panic. As long as the area isn’t red or inflamed, don’t try to force them out. Digging at your dog with the tweezers will only hurt him and increase the potential for infection.

Disinfect the area and put a warm compress over it to help expel the tick’s remains. Once you’ve removed the tick, drop it in the jar with alcohol and keep it until the tick bite heals.

Wash your hands with soap and water to get rid of any potentially harmful organisms from the tick.

Keep an eye out

Make sure to watch your pet for the next few weeks — both at the bite site and how the dog behaves. If anything seems off, take your pet to the veterinarian to have him checked. Take the tick with you for the vet to evaluate.

Sources: The Humane Society of the United States, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally published on June 23, 2014.


What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 3 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!