Removing Ticks from a Dog
Ticks actually belong to the Arachnid family, along with
spiders and mites. They are parasites that feed on the blood
of a host animal. They also carry infectious diseases and
other parasites at times. Ticks like warm environments and
most of the time you will not have a problem with ticks in
the winter unless you live in a tropical environment where
winters are warm.
Ticks have a round body with six legs when young and eight
legs when they become adults. They have a small head with
oversized pincers. They usually drop onto a host animal from
overhanging foliage or make it onto a host animal when the
host brushes against their perch. Some species of ticks
actually stalk their hosts on foot. It is suspected that
they either sense their prey by either body heat and/or
carbon dioxide from the animal's breath.
After the tick makes it onto a host animal it sinks in its
jaws and burrows its head into the skin. It then feeds for
two to three days until its body becomes swollen with blood.
Then it detaches itself from the host and goes and lays eggs
(if female) to perpetuate the next generation of parasites.
Ticks tend to live in undisturbed wooded or grassy areas,
plus they are very common on horse paths or deer paths where
there is frequent animal traffic. Dog paths through wooded
areas are also stalked by the tick.
Ticks that carry a common zoonotic (contagious to humans)
disease known as Lyme Disease are endemic in certain parts
of the United States such as California, Connecticut,
Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
There are many traditional methods of removing ticks that
are in fact a bad idea. The methods that you may have
learned from your parents are probably not the correct
methods. For instance, burning the tick with fire or
smothering the tick are not methods that you should use.
The proper way to remove a tick is to first sterilize the
skin around the tick with rubbing alcohol. Then use some
tweezers that have been sterilized with alcohol and work the
tweezers between the tick and the skin as much as you can.
Gently and patiently pull on the tick. Be careful not to
grab the tick's abdomen, you do not want to smother the tick
and cause the tick to regurgitate blood and toxins into the
Do not yank the tick, as this can cause the head of the tick
to pull off and be left in the wound, causing infection. If
the head does become detached then you should take the dog
to the doctor to have the head removed.
You should have ready a glass jar with a few inches on
alcohol in it to kill the tick when you are done. This is so
that the tick will die and you will have the specimen should
the dog get sick afterward. You can then take the tick to
the doctor with the dog, to see if the tick was carrying any
illness that affected the dog.
Be sure to check your dog (and yourself) over for ticks
after it has been outdoors, especially during tick season.
Avoid long grasses and woods during tick season, especially
in the warmth of the day.
Where to find natural tick control products
Special Dog Breed Specific Gift Items