Tick Treatment in Dogs

By Susan Sivek


Ticks--a common canine problem--carry disease and cause discomfort for dogs. One variety of the pest, the deer tick, can also infect humans with Lyme disease. Whether you're dealing with an occasional issue or an ongoing challenge, you can find methods to get ticks under control.

Hand Removal of Ticks

You can remove ticks from your dog by hand, if your dog gets ticks only rarely and you proceed carefully. Wear gloves while removing the tick, as the insects can carry disease to humans. Use your fingers delicately or tweezers sterilized with alcohol to pull the tick with a steady motion from your dog’s skin. Do not jerk the tick out or use a stop-and-go movement, as doing so may leave the tick’s head in your dog’s skin, potentially leading to infection. Dab alcohol on the tick bite, and praise your dog for his patience in enduring this process.

Spot Treatment

Tick sprays and powders are also available for dogs. These products are applied to the dog to repel ticks (and usually fleas as well). Keep these products away from your dog’s eyes; use a cotton ball sprayed with the tick control product to apply it around the dog’s eyes and nose. Do not use powder if your dog has asthma, as it may aggravate the condition. Use these sprays outdoors to avoid getting them in your carpets and to provide good ventilation.

Systematic Treatment

If ticks have become a recurring problem for your dog, consider improving your dog’s environment and using a pharmaceutical treatment for ticks that is designed for dogs. Ticks like to live in brush and tall grass, so reduce these environmental factors in your dog’s living area. Keep your dog away from contact with deer and rodents, both of which often carry ticks. If you choose to spray an insecticide outdoors, use a spray with minimal environmental impact and that is safe for animals. Indoor ticks can be controlled with insecticides as well, preferably those that are safest for human and animal contact. Tick control needs to take place year-round to reduce infestations. The easiest treatment for most dogs is a once-a-month application of a tick control medication like Frontline or Advantix. These medications are sold in small tubes, and the liquid is applied between the dog’s shoulders and/or at the base of the tail once a month. These medications also typically prevent fleas, and are extremely effective in controlling ticks for dogs.
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