How to Identify and Remove Ticks on Your Pet

Ticks belong to the family of ectoparasites (external parasites) that feed on the blood of mammals by latching onto the body of a dog, cat, or even a human and eating until they are full before tearing themselves off the skin loosen and fall off to start the whole process over. Ticks are understandably quite nasty, both in appearance and behavior. When you spot a tick on your dog or cat, there is a strong temptation to scrape it off or otherwise remove it immediately.

In the summer months in particular, most veterinary surgeries are visited several times a week by concerned customers who want to have a tick removed from their pet, which any veterinarian or veterinarian can professionally remove in a matter of moments. However, identifying and removing ticks at home doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow some simple advice to ensure you get it right the first time. Read on to learn how to identify and remove ticks from your pet.

Detect ticks

The first step to finding ticks on your pet and removing them is knowing what a tick looks like! Ticks come in a variety of sizes, from the size of a pinhead to the size of a fingernail, depending on how old they are and how long they have been feeding. In general, a tick on your pet’s skin looks like a small, round pebble, because once a tick has attached itself to your pet, you can’t see its legs or the antennae it uses to pierce the skin.

Find ticks on your pet

Ticks can and will attach themselves to any exposed patch of skin on your pet, but generally, they seek out the least hairy areas that have good blood circulation just below the surface. The face and neck, the lower abdomen, and the inside of the legs are particularly favorable for ticks. Every time you return from a walk with your dog, or if your pet has been walking in long grass (especially in damp or wet areas such as woods or swamps), it is advisable to do a quick check for possible ticks.

How not to remove a tick

Before we tell you the best way to remove a tick from your pet’s skin, let’s first tell you a few ways not to remove a tick, although you may have heard or done it before!

  • Do not simply brush, scratch, or forcefully pull the tick off the skin. This can cause the tick spine to break off beneath the surface of the skin, creating a range of potential infections and problems.
  • Don’t leave the tick alone for your pet to deal with.
  • Don’t remove the tick with your bare hands or fingernails – ticks can transmit diseases and infections, like Lyme disease, to which you and your pet can be susceptible.
  • Don’t try to burn the tick.
  • Do not spray the tick with an insecticide or toxin.
  • Don’t use alcohol to remove a tick, and don’t try to smother the tick with a layer of petroleum jelly or soap.

Suitable methods for removing a tick

There are several ways to safely and effectively remove a tick from your pet’s body. The first thing you should think about is how you will dispose of the tick once it has been removed. Ticks are disease-carrying parasites and should not be thrown out or left alive. Have a suitable small jar or other small sealed container to place the tick in after removal for safe disposal.

By far the easiest, safest, and most effective way to remove a tick from your pet is to use something called a “tick puller.” These are small plastic pins with a claw-shaped head that insert themselves between the tick’s body and your pet. This allows you to harmlessly and effectively twist the tick out of your pet’s skin in one piece. If you’ve ever taken your pet to the vet to have a tick removed, your vet or vet nurse will almost certainly have used this tool. Most vets sell tick removers over the counter, or you can order them from various online retailers. A practical utensil to keep in reserve!

Or use blunt needle-nose tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible. Do not grab the tick’s body or squeeze it as this can kill the tick and leave the front part of the head under the skin and release toxins. Then gently twist and pry the tick out of the skin with even pressure. Don’t use too much force because, as mentioned before, you don’t want the tick’s head to break off under the skin.


Regardless of the method you use to remove the tick, it is important to be careful to remove the tick completely and not allow the head end of the tick to break off and remain under the skin. Once you have removed the tick, wash the affected area of skin thoroughly and rub with a topical antiseptic. After that, keep an eye on the affected area for a few days to make sure it doesn’t become sore or infected. Finally, although relatively rare, ticks can transmit Lyme disease to you or your pet once they attach themselves to the skin to have. Be aware of the possible symptoms of Lyme disease, which can include loss of appetite, lameness, general lethargy, and depression. If you have any concerns, speak to your vet immediately.

How to remove a tick from a dog with alcohol?

Dispose of the tick: If you have managed to remove the annoying animal, it must be disposed of. It is safest to lay the animal on a piece of kitchen paper, close it and crush it with a hard object. If you have at least 40% alcohol at home, you can also kill the tick in it.

How to remove a tick from a dog without tweezers?

If you need to be particularly quick, you can remove the tick with your fingers. Gently grasp the tick between your thumb and forefinger and as close to the skin as possible. Pull them out carefully. If you are unsure, it is better to contact your trusted veterinarian.

How to take a tick off a dog

How to remove a tick without tweezers?

If you don’t have tweezers or tick tweezers handy, you can try inserting a needle under the tick’s mouthpart. You can then carefully pry the tick out of the skin. After successfully removing the tick, you should clean the affected area with disinfectant.

What is the best way to remove a tick from a dog?

Strip the hair around the tick to one side so that you don’t pull your dog’s hair out. Place the tick tweezer as close to the dog’s skin as possible. Once you have a grip on your head or front of your body, slowly begin to pull.

How quickly should a tick be removed from a dog?

If you discover a tick on your dog, remove it as soon as possible. It is best to remove them before a tick bites. But even if the tick has attached itself, it is not too late. There are various tools that will make it easier for you to pull them out.

How to remove a tick with tweezers?

Grab the tick with fine, pointed tweezers just above the skin and slowly pull it straight out while pulling evenly. As an alternative to special tick tweezers, normal tweezers with angled tips can also be used.

Should you turn ticks out or pull them out?

Do not turn the tick and in particular do not squeeze it, as this makes it easier for pathogens to get into the wound. If the tick is difficult to remove, turning it back and forth can help. Other tools are e.g. a tick card (see picture) or a tick picker.

How quickly does a tick need to be removed?

It takes an average of 12-24 hours for infection with Lyme disease bacteria to occur. The transmission of TBE viruses, on the other hand, begins immediately after the tick bite, since the virus is in the salivary glands of the tick.

Why not turn ticks out?

With all aids, it is important that the tick is gripped as closely as possible. This prevents the tick from being crushed and potentially dangerous bodily fluids being released. Also, do not remove the tick with a strong jerk and do not turn it – ticks have no thread.

What happens if a tick is not completely removed?

No panic! Most of the time these are just remnants of the biting apparatus, not the head of the tick. Over time, the body often expels the foreign bodies on its own. To be on the safe side, you can have stuck parts removed by a doctor.

How do I remove a tick with tick tweezers?

Bring the opened tick tweezers up close to the tick. Close the tick tweezers close to the skin and the puncture site. Do not squeeze the tick’s abdomen. Remove the tick from the body with a gentle, continuous pull.

What to do if the head of a tick gets stuck on the dog?

If you discover that a tick’s head is stuck, try using a narrow, smooth object to pry the tick’s head off the skin. To do this, it is best to take a small credit card or your fingernail and try to detach the head of the tick from the skin when you run over it.

In which direction do you turn a tick out of a dog?

Not to turn, neither to the left nor to the right. This is because ticks do not have a thread on their pricking tool and turning it means that parts of the tick are more likely to get stuck in the animal.

When to go to the vet after a tick bite?

If the dog is repeatedly knocked off or lame after a tick bite, it is important to take it to the vet. An insidious course of the disease can complicate the course.

What to do after removing a tick from the dog?

Disinfecting the bite site in the dog is just as important as disposing of the tick. Alcohol or an ointment containing iodine are suitable for this. Over the next few days, it is important to observe the dog closely and identify any changes in behavior.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

Leave a Reply


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *