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How to Check a Dog for Ticks & Remove Any You Find

Did you know your fine furry friend can get Lyme disease too? Giving Fido a once-over will not only protect him from infection, but can help keep you and your family safe too.


  • Step 1: Wash tweezers Before starting, wash the tweezers thoroughly in soapy water, or wipe them carefully with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol. If you do find a tick, you'll want to be ready to remove it right away.
  • Step 2: Sit dog down Sit your dog down.
  • TIP: If you have a small dog, it may be easier to put him on a sturdy counter or table with a towel under him.
  • Step 3: Run hands through hair Run your hands over the dog's body gently but thoroughly, beginning with the face and ears and moving back toward the tail.
  • Step 4: Check entire body Check the dog's chest, stomach, legs, and feet. Be sure to examine between the toes, in the "armpits," and inside the ears. Remember—some ticks are as small as the head of a pin!
  • Step 5: Examine bumps If you feel any bumps beneath the skin, separate the fur to examine the area more closely.
  • Step 6: Grasp with tweezers If you find a tick, it may have already formed a protective sac around itself. Use the clean tweezers to grasp the sac as closely as possible to the dog's skin. Try to avoid crushing the tick's body. This may be difficult with very small ticks, but do your best.
  • Step 7: Remove from skin Pull the sac away from the dog's skin. If the tick's mouthparts are left behind, don't be concerned—once the body is removed, it can no longer transmit bacteria.
  • Step 8: Place in container Do not prick, crush, or burn the tick. Instead, place it in a sealable container, such as a lidded jar, with a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Seal the container and throw it away.
  • TIP: If you don't have a lidded jar, place the tick in a sealable plastic baggie and throw it away.
  • Step 9: Clean area Clean the bitten area with rubbing alcohol.
  • Step 10: Wash hands Wash your hands thoroughly.
  • Step 11: Keep an eye on spot Over the next few weeks, check the spot where you pulled the tick. Some dogs may have a red spot or slight swelling in the area for several days. If serious redness, swelling, or tenderness occurs, contact your veterinarian.
  • Step 12: Talk to your vet Talk to your vet about whether your dog might benefit from collars, pills, or topical applications that protect against fleas and ticks.
  • FACT: The most common symptom of Lyme disease in dogs is lameness and painful swelling of the joints.

You Will Need

  • Fine-tipped tweezers
  • Soap
  • Warm water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • A sealed container
  • A veterinarian
  • A sturdy table or counter
  • A towel
  • A sealable plastic baggie

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