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Treatment and Prognosis for Ticks on Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015

How to Remove a Tick From Your Dog

You’ve discovered a tick on your dog, and you need to remove it as soon as possible. However improper tick removal can lead to skin infections, pain, and exposure to tick diseases. If you have found a tick on your dog, follow these safe tick removal steps below.

Step 1:

Once you have located a tick, grab a pair of tweezers, and a container of alcohol. Do not remove the tick with your bare hands or you may be exposed to tick diseases. If you do not have a pair of tweezers, wear gloves or wrap your hands in tissue.

Step 2:

Gently grab the tick near the base of the head with the tweezers and gently but firmly pull the tick straight out. You will be able to feel some resistance, and then the tick should start backing out. Do not use oils or matches to try to get the tick out; these methods are ineffective and can actually cause the tick to go deeper into the dog’s skin.

Step 3:

Place the tick in a container of alcohol to ensure that it dies; if you are worried about tick diseases, preserve the tick in alcohol so that your veterinarian can identify it.

Step 4:

Ticks like to congregate in the same places on your dog. Once you have removed one tick, there is more than likely another smaller one located in the same area. Check your dog over completely to ensure that you have removed all the ticks.

Step 5:

Gently wipe the area where the tick was with warm soapy water. You can place a small dab of antibiotic cream on the area if the skin looks inflamed or infected.

Periodically a tick will refuse to come out and you will end up breaking the tick at the neck. The tick’s head will remain in the dog’s skin, but this is okay. The dog’s body will absorb the head over time; if you can see the head you may try to remove it like you would a splinter.


The prognosis for dogs that have been parasitized by ticks is good, so long as the ticks are removed and effective measures are taken to prevent re-exposure and re-infestation. There are a number of commercial topical preventatives that are quite effective in managing ticks in companion dogs, including liquid on-spot treatments, rinses and collars. A veterinarian can recommend an appropriate product for dogs in particular geographic areas. Some tick preventatives are not appropriate for young puppies or in households with young children. Avoiding outdoor areas that harbor ticks is an excellent way to reduce the risk of infection. Certain vaccines are available for some diseases caused by tick-borne organisms, such as Lyme’s disease. Removing ticks promptly can help prevent transmission of tick-borne diseases. Long grass, weeds and brush should be kept trimmed low to eliminate the outdoor residential areas preferred by these parasites. Environmental pesticides are also available.

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