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Published: Mar 08, 2012

Dogs love to explore their surroundings, but in some parts of the U.S. this can mean they have a good chance of encountering ticks, which can be dangerous to a dog's health. Ticks are bloodsucking arachnids that are known to carry a variety of harmful diseases, so owners should check regularly for ticks and know how to remove them.

When removing ticks from dogs, the most important thing to do is to remove the entire tick from the animal. You also want to try to prevent pain to the dog if possible. It's useful to have a friend or family member hold the dog as you remove the tick with tweezers, as the animal will likely not understand what you're doing and try to get free.

Do not twist or yank in order to remove the tick, as this could potentially leave the tick's mouthparts inside the dog’s skin and allow an infection to spread. Instead, VCA Animal Hospitals recommends grasping the tick as close to the skin surface and pulling with a steady, even pressure. It's better to remove the tick slowly and ensure that it's completely out than to quickly jerk back on the tweezers and risk leaving parts inside the dog. If you are concerned that the removal didn't go well, or the dog shows signs of infection, take your pet to the vet immediately.

Keep in mind there are several tick prevention products on the market that do an effective job in protecting dogs. Your veterinarian can make a recommendation as to which might be appropriate for your dog.