The lowly tick is in the spotlight — thanks to growing concern about Lyme disease and a new awareness of all the dangers ticks can bring.

These nasty little creatures carry at least 15 common diseases, including Rocky Mountain fever, Lyme disease and others so serious you – or your dog – can die! There are countless other infections, bacteria and diseases that they also carry.

Ticks are hard to treat and control. They have the tenacity of cockroaches. Some types can live for more than a year without a meal.

They can wait on a small branch or stem for up to six months for a victim to walk by. Then they latch on and start their “blood fest.”

Ticks bite the victim, or ‘host,’ then burrow their heads under the skin. A barbed feeding tube syphons off the host’s blood. As they gorge, ticks expand up to 100 times their original size, filling themselves with blood. A tick that starts out the size of a poppy seed, can blow up to the size of a freakish grape after feeding.

Common tick, before and after feeding


Dog ticks removal

You can remove the tick yourself, if it hasn’t attached itself to an inner ear, an eyelid or some other delicate location.

Some owners prefer to go straight to the Vet to have the tick safely and cleanly removed.

It’s important to get the tick out within 24 hours of biting but don’t worry in most cases, the tick must be attached at least 36 hours to infect the victim with a disease.

You’ll need tweezers and rubbing alcohol or iodine and tweezers. The alcohol or iodine is for cleaning up the bite area after you’ve removed the tick. Plus you should have a small container filled with rubbing alcohol, to pop the tick in to kill it.

Be very careful – any contact with the tick’s blood can transmit infection to your dog or even to you! Wear rubber gloves. Gently but steadily pull the tick straight up

To start, pull your dog’s hair back and splash some of the rubbing alcohol around the area. It might temporarily stun the tick, and will also help keep the area cleaner. Then use your tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible. Start steadily pulling straight up. DO NOT TWIST OR TURN THE TICK. DO NOT SQUISH THE TICK.


Remember, the tick’s head is firmly embedded under your dog’s skin at this point. This head is barbed with backward-curving spines so the tick is firmly embedded.  Once the tick is out, thoroughly wash your dog’s wound with water and mild soap and apply rubbing alcohol or iodine.

Store the evidence

Without touching the tick with your bare hands, drop it into a small container that contains rubbing alcohol (the alcohol will quickly kill the tick), and mark the date on the container.

Keep the container.

If your dog begins to show symptoms of a tickborne illness, your Veterinarian may want to identify or test the tick.

Follow up

Keep an eye on the area where the tick was to see if an infection develops. If the skin remains irritated or infected, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Wash your hands thoroughly when you’re done.

 The tick remover tool

A special “tick remover” tool can be found online or in stores, sold as The Tick Key (which clips onto your key ring); the Tick Nipper (which has a handy built-in magnifying glass) or the Original TICKED OFF tool. Of course you’ll need to be prepared with one BEFORE you actually spot a tick, since time to safely remove the tick is short.




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