Tick Control for Dogs: How to prevent and remove tick bites on dogs

20 May 2021

Ticks on dogs are no fun! But with these prevention and control measures, you can ensure you and your dog(s) stay healthy and tick free, all summer long!

Tick bite on dog

Warm weather is here, and you’re spending more time outside with your favorite furry friend(s)? Great! While you enjoy your adventures together, it’s important to be aware of the warm weather dangers for dogs, including ticks on dogs. Ticks can bite your dog at a moment’s notice and, if left untreated, cause some nasty consequences for your four-legged friend. So find out all about tick control for dogs, including prevention, treatment and when to see a vet here on the Tractive GPS blog.

What are ticks?

tick on skin

Scary but true – ticks are those creepy little creatures which come out in the summertime and pester us and our pets. Part of the arachnid family, they are related to spiders and mites. Ticks are parasites; they attach to the skin of mammals including humans and dogs, by biting them, and then feed on their blood. In doing so they can transmit diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and more.

Ticks tend to hang out in areas where there is tall grass or forest. They cannot jump or fly; instead they cling to you as you pass by. Once they’ve found a host, ticks bury their teeth inside the skin and the feeding lasts for days. It typically takes 24 – 48 hours for a tick to transmit a disease to its host1. You should always remove ticks as soon as you find one.

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Tick bite on dogs

So how do you check for a tick bite on dogs? After a day outside in areas where ticks could be lurking, be sure to carefully check your dog for ticks. They look and feel like a small bump on your dog’s skin – so search with both your eyes and your hands. Check between the toes, inside the ears, between the legs, and around the neck. If you notice a small unusual bump, pull the fur back to look closer. What does a tick look like on a dog? Tick bites on dogs look like this:

Tick bite on dog

How to remove a tick from a dog

If your dog has just been bitten, or let’s face it, if you are a dog parent, you should know how to get a tick off a dog. It’s important to remove the tick as soon as possible, and make sure to remove all parts of the tick’s body. The longer the tick stays attached to the dog, and the more of it which is attached, the higher the chances of the animal getting an infection like Lyme disease. So as soon as you find a tick, use tweezers to remove it as close to the body of the dog as possible. Then continue checking for additional tick bites on your dog – remove them all.

When to see a vet after a tick bite on dog

If your dog had a tick bite, it’s a good idea to monitor them carefully afterwards to make sure they’re not showing any signs of illness. If they do appear sick or unwell, take them to the vet as soon as possible. For example, your dog might have contracted Lyme disease, which can have the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Reduced appetite
  • Decreased energy
  • Difficulty walking
  • Pain, discomfort or stiffness
  • Swollen joints2

Also, talk with your veterinarian about vaccinating your pet against Lyme disease and about the best way to prevent fleas and ticks from latching on to your your beloved pet.

Tick prevention for dogs

Are you fed up with ticks on dogs, and want to know how to get rid of ticks on dogs for good? Keeping dogs out of grasses and woods would, of course, help to reduce their exposure to ticks. But it’s probably not realistic to keep dogs inside throughout tick season. Dogs love hiking, they love the woods and, therefore, they can quite easily have a tick crawl on board. Luckily, tick bites on dogs can be prevented through regular use of tick control for dog products, like the following:

Tick sprays

Tick spray kills ticks quickly and provides residual protection. Sprays can be used when you are planning to spend time out in wooded areas with your dog. Be careful when using this product around your dog’s face, and do not use it on or around any other animals in the home. Tick sprays often contain Permethrin (use on dogs only, not on cats) or Pyrethrin. When using a spray, you do not have to soak your dog with the spray, but be sure to spray all parts of the animal. Follow your veterinarian’s and the manufacturer’s directions on how often to spray.

Tick shampoos

Bathing your dog with a shampoo that contains medicated ingredients will generally kill ticks on contact. This can be an inexpensive method of protecting your dog during the peak tick season. You will need to repeat the process more often, about every two weeks, as the effective ingredients won’t last that long. To properly use a flea & tick shampoo, you must be sure to work the shampoo in over the entire body and then leave it on at least 10 minutes before you rinse it off.  Again, remember to protect the face, especially the eyes and ears, of your dog.


Powders are generally easy to apply, but can create a mess. If your dog has asthma, powders may not be the best choice since the powder could be inhaled.

Tick collars

Collars that repel ticks are easy to use, though they are mainly useful for protecting the neck and head from ticks. The tick collar needs to make contact with your dog’s skin in order to transfer the chemicals onto the dog’s fur and skin. Ask your vet, before putting a tick collar on your dog. If you go for this option, make sure there is just enough room to fit two fingers under the collar. Cut off any excess length of collar to prevent your dog from chewing on it. Check the package for information on duration of effectiveness since many collars lose effectiveness when they get wet. Watch carefully for any irritation under the collar. If this occurs, you may need to use a different product.


Keep your dog out of harm’s way with Tractive GPS

One way to help prevent tick bites on dogs is monitor your dog’s whereabouts with the help of a GPS dog tracker. If you let your dog roam freely on your property, or if you’re worried about them escaping, you can always know where they are with a Tractive GPS. Set up a Virtual Fence around the tick-free zone, and get notified on your phone in case your dog enters the danger zone! So you can remove any ticks and keep your furry pal as safe as possible.

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Conclusion: tick control for dogs

It’s the perfect time for walking in the woods and other outdoor activities. However, warm weather also means that ticks become active and this can lead to the transmission of tick-borne diseases via tick bites on dogs. That’s why we recommend to:

  1. Always search your dog for ticks after you’ve been in a grassy or forested warm area.
  2. If you find a tick on your dog, remove it immediately and completely with tweezers.
  3. Monitor your dog and take them to the vet in case they get sick from a tick bite.
  4. Use a tick control product mentioned above for long term tick prevention for dogs.
  5. Track your dog’s whereabouts with a GPS dog tracker for peace of mind.

For even more tips on tick control for dogs, check out the video below:

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