Recently, after coming home from a walk with my dog Coco, I found a tick lodged on her forehead. It was right above her eyelid and every time I tried to remove it, she would run away and hide. Needless to say, it was an unnerving experience.
So, what can one do in such a case? How do you remove a tick from your dog when it doesn’t allow you to do so?
The best way to rid an uncooperative dog of ticks is to leave it to your vet. However, in cases of mild Infestation, you may have to wait till your dog is at rest. Then, start by parting his fur to make the tick visible and using a pair of tweezers to pull the tick out completely. If your dog is still non-compliant, take the help of anyone around to hold your dog down.
Kindly take your dog to the vet at the failure of all attempts or if you encounter any further issues like retained tick head.
Ticks carry deadly diseases and can even result in death from respiratory failure if left unremoved from your dog. Therefore, you must act fast. You simply cannot expect the tick to fall away on its own.
In this guide, we tell you exactly how to remove a tick when your dog won’t let you. We will also cover important questions regarding tick removal on dogs.
How to Get a Tick Off a Dog That Won’t Let You
If you find ticks in your bed, or worse, on your dog, and they won’t let you remove it, here are a few steps that can make tick removal easier from an uncooperative dog.
A pair of tweezers is the main tool required for tick removal. You also need a comb to part your dog’s fur to see the tick clearly. If you want, you may use gloves to protect your hands.
Also, keep some antibiotic cream or lotion handy to treat the site of the tick bite. You also need some alcohol solution to dispose of the tick after removing it.
Wait until your dog is resting.
It is important that your dog is calm and not moving during the tick removal. You don’t want your dog to move as that could result in not getting the tick out completely.
If needed, have a family member or friend hold your dog down or pet it. You can also distract your dog with some treats, bones, or toys.
3. Part Your Dog’s Fur
This will help you see the tick clearly. If needed, use a comb or a brush with one hand to part your dog’s fur. Hold the tick removal tool or tweezers firmly in the other hand.
4. Grasp the Tick with The Tweezers
Take time with this step. Understand that ticks embed their heads completely into the dog’s skin so there is a chance they won’t move too much.
This leaves their abdomen exposed to you. This is the part you need to grasp firmly with the tweezers.
Slide the tool under the tick and slightly pinch it.
5. Squeeze and Pull the Tick Out
Once you have a grip on the tick, pull it out in one single upward motion.
It is very important not to squeeze the tick. If you do, it could burst, releasing infected blood on your dog. This can be dangerous if the tick is carrying any disease-causing pathogens. If the head of the tick is stuck in your dog skin, the veterinary intervention will be needed.
Use a steady, upward straight movement to remove the tick.
6. Dispose of the Tick
Place the removed tick in rubbing alcohol solution, dish soap, or surgical spirit. You can also take a picture of the tick to show to your vet later if needed.
7. Clean the Tick Bite Area Using an Antiseptic Medicine
This is necessary to prevent infection in your dog. Use an antiseptic spray, cream, or lotion over the bitten area. Reapply it several times a day.
8. Make Sure There are No More Ticks
Inspect your dog. If there is one tick, there is likely there are more. Groom your dog and remove all of the ticks that you find using the steps above.
Tick removal may or may not be painful to dogs. It depends on how deeply the tick has embedded itself in the dog. It also depends on the area where the tick is present.
In most cases, tick removal on dogs will be painful if the tick leaves its head embedded deeply into the dog’s skin. It can also be painful if the tick has embedded itself in a delicate area such as over your dog’s eyelid.
Also, if you use improper methods to remove the tick, it could cause immense pain to your dog and may even injure it. Please refrain from using these methods. If you’re unsure how to remove the tick, best let your vet do it.
Note that ticks can sometimes cause a localized infection or lumps on the dog’s skin which can also be painful to the dog.
There are three main reasons to see your vet when your dog has ticks.
If you aren’t sure how to remove the tick embedded in your dog’s skin, then it may be best to call your vet and have them remove it completely. You certainly don’t want any tick parts left behind on your dog’s body.
Ticks carry pathogens that could result in deadly diseases in dogs and humans. If you suspect your dog is unwell or has the following symptoms, then please see your vet right away:
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes.
Act early to prevent deadly complications.
You must see your vet if your dog has a massive tick infestation. Even if you find and remove one tick, there could be more.
A single tick can lay nearly 500 eggs! Therefore, it is important that you remove the ticks you see right away and also see your vet if you keep finding ticks on your dog.
Your vet will prescribe oral or topical medicines to eliminate the ticks. You might also want to use some ongoing tick prevention regime to protect your dog from ticks in the future.
Here are some important ways to keep your dog safe from ticks:
If you live in a tick-infested area, make sure to trim your lawn to a less-than-2-inch height. This will reduce the hiding areas for ticks.
Also, keep your pet away from grassy trails and trees which is where ticks usually hide. Always spray your dog’s body with anti-tick sprays before hiking on grassy trails.
It is a good idea to check your dog daily after coming home from walks. You can groom your pet as it will allow you to check for ticks.
Use brushes and combs to part your dog’s fur and also inspect under its armpits, inside the ears, and under its tail.
3. Groom Your Dog
In addition to daily brushing, also bathe your dog once a month using a vet-prescribed anti-tick shampoo to eliminate tick eggs and larvae.
There are many over-the-counter and prescription oral and topical tick medications to prevent and treat existing ticks.
- Oral medicines include chewable tablets like Bravecto and Nexgard. You can also use combination medicines like Simparica Trio which deter ticks and fleas, and also eliminate worms like hookworms. These three will need a vet’s prescription.
- OTC medicines for topical tick prevention like K9 Advantix eliminate fleas and ticks on contact.
- Tick collars like Seresto are some other options to eliminate and prevent ticks. They are available over the counter.
- Tick sprays can be sprayed on your dog before walks to repel fleas and ticks as well as mosquitos.
- Flea powders dusted over your dog’s fur can also repel fleas and ticks.
- Antiflea and tick shampoos are also effective to eliminate tick eggs and larvae.
Your vet can recommend the right tick medicine based on your dog’s age, size/weight, and overall health.
Ticks lay eggs in your home and yard. That makes it very important to clean the environment after you treat your dog for ticks.
- Vacuum the house completely. You can sprinkle some boric acid powder on the carpets and then vacuum them after a few hours. The boric powder will suffocate the ticks and also rip their exoskeleton. Vacuum again after 3 days to remove newly hatched ticks.
- Wash all linen in hot water – including your dog’s bed, curtains, sofa covers, bed sheets, blankets, etc. This will kill the ticks’ eggs and larvae.
- Mow the law to a short height. This will prevent ticks from hiding in the grass.
- Eliminate clutter under patio and decks to deter possums and raccoons that are often tick carriers.
- Treat your yard with beneficial nematode spray. These biological agents infect ticks with microbes that kill ticks within 24 hours. Repeat the yard treatment every 15 days.
Yes, ticks could bite humans. That is why you should never allow the ticks to just fall off on their own. Here are some possible scenarios if you don’t remove ticks from your dog’s body:
- You will never know where the ticks fall off. This could be in your house or yard where they will lay thousands of eggs and re-infect your dog.
- Worse still, the ticks could bite you and your family members and cause deadly diseases like Lyme disease, tick meningoencephalitis, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, tularemia, etc.
- Unremoved ticks can cause localized infections on your dog’s skin. This can result in blisters that may require antibiotics to treat. Ticks can even result in deadly diseases in dogs. They may cause respiratory failure and eventually death in vulnerable pets.
If your dog won’t let you remove a tick from its body, try waiting until it rests.
Then use a pair of tweezers to tug the tick out. If needed, take the help of your friend/family members to hold the dog down. Pull the tick upwards completely to prevent its head from remaining in the dog’s skin.
If this does not work, please see your vet right away.
Always use an ongoing tick prevention regime to ensure the protection of your dog from ticks. Do remove ticks promptly and dispose of them properly to prevent re-infestation.