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How to Remove Wood Ticks on Dogs

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Rubber or latex gloves

  • Tweezers

  • Small jar (optional)

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Soap

  • Disinfectant

Wood ticks are arachnids, rather than insects. Adult ticks have four pairs of legs and no antennae. They lie in wait on the tips of grasses and shrubs for a host animal to pass by. When the animal brushes against the grass or shrub, the tick climbs on board. Ticks cannot fly or jump. They can only crawl. They will attach themselves to humans or medium-size animals such as dogs. Ticks have barbed mouths that can transmit disease. Remove a wood tick from your dog promptly—and correctly—to avoid infection.

Place the dog on a table at waist height. Put on rubber or latex gloves.

Using tweezers, carefully flip the tick over onto its back. Grasp the tick with the tweezers as close as possible to the dog’s skin.

Gently pull the tweezers until the tick comes free. Do not twist or turn the tweezers because this may cause the tick's mouth parts or head to break off in the skin and cause an infection.

Rinse the tick down the sink or flush it down a toilet. Or place it in a small jar filled with alcohol to take to a vet in case the dog develops an infection.

Wash the area of the bite with soap and water or a mild disinfectant.

Dispose of your gloves and disinfect the tweezers.


  • Check the area of the bite over several days for any sign of a reaction, such as a rash or infection.

    If any portions of the head or mouth parts of the tick remain in the dog’s skin, contact a veterinarian to remove them.

    Never attempt to dislodge a tick by holding a burnt match to it or covering it with nail polish, petroleum jelly or gasoline. This may only cause more injury to the dog and stimulate the tick to secrete more pathogens into the site.