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How to remove a dog tick the right way

Ticks are notoriously keen to hang on once they’ve had a bite of your dog but they can be removed safely if you know what you’re doing.

Ticks are stubborn parasites that hang out in areas like long grass and woodland, and latch on to your dog when they’re passing by. Once they’ve attached, they can be tricky to remove. Ticks do drop off of their own accord after they’ve finished feeding, but that can take days so don’t be tempted to wait – they can carry nasty diseases that can cause serious health problems for your dog. The longer they stay attached, the greater the risk of infection.

Put your gloves on
You should always wear gloves when dealing with ticks. The ticks found on your dog are very effective disease carriers and some of these diseases can also affect you and your family.

Calm your pet
Only try to remove ticks from your dog when they are calm and happily lying down. You need them to stay still to get a decent grasp of the tick with a tick hook. If you try to grab at it, you risk leaving part of the tick behind in your dog’s skin. When your pet stays still you have much more chance of removing the tick in one piece.

Expose the tick
Gently part your dog’s fur around the tick and keep it flat with one hand so you have the other free to twist the tick out. Don’t worry, the tick isn’t going anywhere fast – as you’re about to find out.

Twist and pull
A tick twister or tick hook is shaped to get under the parasite’s body and twist it out in one go, without squeezing. These tools can be bought from high street chemists and local vets as well as from some supermarkets. It is not recommended that you use regular tweezers as these are likely to squash the tick or leave part of it inside your dog. Follow the instructions on your tick tool to slowly slide underneath the tick, pinching and pulling gently, but moving steadily straight upwards to remove it.

Dispose of the tick
Drop the tick into a jar or sealable container, close the lid and put it in the bin. Wipe the affected area on your pet with pet-friendly antiseptic, bin the gloves and wash your hands thoroughly. Clean your tick tool with disinfectant and store it somewhere safely for future use.

To reduce the chance that you’ll have to remove ticks from your dog, keep him protected by using regular tick treatment. Some tick products (e.g. tablets and some spot-ons) are active in the bloodstream, so kill ticks once they start to feed. Other products repel ticks, meaning they do not have to bite the pet to be affected, and shortly after being repelled they die.1

Did you know…
Ex-England rugby captain Matt Dawson had to have heart surgery after being bitten by an infected tick in a park in London.2

Ask your vet for advice on effective tick treatments for your dog.

1 This information is regarding mode of action and is not intended to imply ticks can be completely stopped from biting