how to find and
remove ticks on pets

Vector graphic of a tick

Get your tweezers ready for action

Mammals like cats, dogs, and people can all get chomped on by ticks. And unfortunately, ticks carry some pretty nasty diseases. There is a vaccine available for dogs against Lyme disease, but it doesn’t cover the other bad stuff transmitted in tick bites — yet another reason we always recommend effective, year-round flea and tick control for the pet you love. Ask your veterinary team about what they recommend for your unique pet, their location, and their lifestyle.

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Do not use fingernail polish, petroleum jelly, 70 percent isopropyl alcohol, a hot match, or gasoline on ticks. They don’t work and could be dangerous to you, or to your pet. 

Your guide to finding and foiling ticks

Arm yourself with a pair of fine-point tweezers, a steady hand, and a keen eye.

Vector graphic of the hiding spots of ticks on a dog

Take a look for ticks

Examine your pet from nose to tail, especially after they’ve been outdoors. You’re looking for little dark spots, sized anywhere from a little ballpoint-pen-sized dot to about half an inch long. Check both visible skin and under fuzz.

Favorite tick hiding places include:

  • Around the eyes and ears
  • Inside the ears
  • Under collars
  • Between the front and back legs
  • On the tail
  • Between front and back toes

Ticks are very good at going unnoticed. One good tip is to look in your pet’s fur for areas where hair has been pushed away to make room for the tick’s body.

Vector graphic of a tick tweezers

Let the tick-tweezing begin.

If you find a tick, don’t panic. You’ve got this.

  • Your goal in removing a tick is to try to get it off all in one piece. That means grasping a tick near its head —the part that’s closest to your pet’s skin — and slowly and steadily pulling it out. It may seem easier to grab the bigger round end, but don’t. That’s likely to give you only part of the tick, leaving its mouth bits behind.
  • Take a pair of fine-point tweezers. Grasp the head of the tick — not the tush end — where it’s feeding on your pet. Get as close to the skin as you can.
  • Grasp and pull off the tick in one slow, steady, smooth motion. Try to avoid twisting the tweezer as you pull.
  • If you do accidentally leave tick parts behind, don’t go fishing for them. Let your pet’s skin heal without further poking.
  • Did you manage to get a live and kicking tick? Congrats! Now don’t squish it. Drown it in some rubbing alcohol in case your vet wants to take a look.
  • Clean the newly tick-free area on your pet with soap and water. Then wash your hands. Congrats! You’re a tick-tweezing star.

Store any ticks you find in a small, clean bag or jar. The vet will want to examine them if your BFF shows symptoms like joint pain, lameness, and fever.

When to call the vet

Safety first! If your pet won’t stand still for an examination, much less let you remove ticks, contact your veterinary team. We can both help you remove ticks, and make sure that all tick parts have been removed. Plus, we can advise on Lyme Disease and other symptoms, the Lyme Disease vaccine, help you with effective flea and tick protection, and more.

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