What Kills Ticks on Dogs Instantly?

Key point

  • Certain ticks, such as brown dog, deer or psyllids, can infest a dog’s coat and pose a risk of dangerous diseases.
  • Most home remedies don’t work; however, it can be handy to remove the arachnids with a pair of tweezers and wipe them down with rubbing alcohol.
  • For more severe infections, you may need to seek veterinary help, or rely on commercial products to resolve the problem.

Dogs are one of life’s greatest blessings, but there are some downsides to caring for a pet dog. One of the most distasteful of these drawbacks is having to remove a tick, or worse, multiple ticks, from your dog! The concept is so disgusting, we’re willing to bet that’s why you’re here! So, what kills ticks on dogs instantly?

Most experts agree that it’s best to remove the tick before attempting to kill it. It’s important to know the proper way to remove a tick from your dog, as well as what to do with it. Also, it’s important to know how to prevent your dog from picking up ticks, and which products will kill both the tick and the eggs.

How to Remove and Kill Ticks on Dogs Instantly

Removing Dog Ticks from Cats with a Tick Removal Kit
Removing ticks from your dog is best done with tweezers.

If you notice that one or more ticks have attached to your dog, it is recommended that you physically remove the ticks. Dip ticks in Original Listerine or rub them with alcohol to kill them instantly . However, while applying these substances may kill the tick, it will remain attached to your dog’s skin unless you remove it with tweezers. It’s important to know that dogs are susceptible to dangerous species such as deer ticks, American dog ticks, and psyllids, and can contract the same life-threatening diseases that we do. Also, we can’t forget about the disgusting dog tick or its indoor-loving cousin, the brown dog tick!

Best Practices for Removing Ticks from Your Dog

To safely remove ticks from your dog, follow these steps:

  1. Using clean, fine-tipped tweezers, hold the tick close to the dog’s skin.
  2. Using steady pressure, gently pull on the tick in a straight upward motion.
  3. Do not twist, jerk, or squeeze the tick when removing it from the skin. This can make the head embedded and more difficult to remove from the dog’s skin or fur.
  4. If the head comes off, carefully remove it using tweezers.
  5. If the mouthparts don’t come out, let them come out naturally.
  6. Clean the affected area and hands thoroughly with alcohol or soap and water.
  7. If the tick is alive when removed, to kill it, use rubbing alcohol or original Listerine Amber, place it in an airtight plastic bag or container, seal with tape, or flush the tick down the toilet.
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American dog tick isolated on white background.
If you think your dog has a tick that is one of the species known to transmit serious disease, take your dog to the veterinarian ASAP!

It’s important to remember that many home remedies don’t work. What’s more, some remedies may even be harmful or dangerous to your dog or other pets. For example, some natural remedies may be safe for your dog but toxic for your cat! Plus, some home remedies are worse than unsafe; they’re dangerous.

The following home remedies are not recommended for killing ticks on dogs:

  • Nail polish
  • Dish detergent
  • Essential oil
  • Flammable materials such as gasoline
  • Fire, flame or heat
  • Caustic chemicals, such as bleach

We cannot stress enough that fire, flames, or highly flammable materials should not be used to kill any ticks. Also, many of these products may not be safe for your dog to ingest. Do not use chemicals or products of any kind on your dog unless approved by a trusted veterinarian.

Veterinarian is examining bernese mountain dog
A veterinarian checks a Bernese Mountain Dog for ticks.

When to Take Your Dog to the Vet

In some cases, you should take your dog to the veterinarian to have the ticks removed instead of removing them yourself. Also, certain species of ticks can transmit serious diseases to your dog. Additionally, a full-blown tick infestation is a life-threatening situation for any pet. This is true for both adults and puppies. We strongly recommend that you take any pet with multiple ticks to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

You should take your dog to the veterinarian if:

  • Your dog has more than a few ticks. Only a professional veterinarian should manage a large tick infestation. Trying to remove many ticks can harm your dog, and multiple ticks may require additional medical attention!
  • reddened skin near or around the bite
  • Have symptoms of fever, rash, or lethargy
  • There are other symptoms of disease.
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Remember, your veterinarian is your best and most trusted source for pinpointing any health issues. Even the mildest symptoms of illness associated with a tick bite should be discussed with your veterinarian. Visiting the veterinarian is especially important when dealing with many ticks. Remember, ticks are blood-sucking parasites!

Products that Kill Ticks on Dogs

why do dogs roll in the grass
Topicals like Frontline offer products for dogs of all ages.

Many commercially available products will not only kill adult ticks on your dog, but their eggs as well. This often has the added benefit of killing ticks on any surface the dog encounters. You, too, can take steps to eliminate ticks from yourself and your yard!

Commercial tick and flea products include:

  • Use a topical treatment like Frontline monthly to kill ticks and fleas.
  • Oral medication is given monthly to effectively kill ticks and fleas without contacting the medication through the dog’s skin.
  • Flea and Tick Shampoo for Dogs instantly kills all ticks on your dog for up to two weeks.
  • Leaves ticks on skin and fur. This method is not recommended for dogs under four months, pregnant dogs, or lactating dogs.
  • Tick collar to protect pet’s head and neck. This method does not necessarily prevent ticks on the body.
  • Tick powders and sprays are specially designed for dogs to kill ticks instantly and last for up to a week.

Remember to always make sure that any products or chemicals you use on your dog are veterinarian-approved and safe! For more information on what to do with ticks, check out our articles on where ticks live, how long they live, and what a tick looks like!

Unsafe Tick Removal Methods Could Harm Your Dog

While there is a lot of information online on how to get rid of pests like ticks and fleas on dogs, some methods are not safe. Both commercial products and home remedies can pose serious risks to your dog! Remember to always consult your veterinarian before using any flea and tick removal method on your dog. You can also check out our selection of dog flea and tick treatments.

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Substances known to cause harmful effects in dogs are:

  • High in permethrin
  • Essential oils such as clove or cinnamon. These can cause stomach problems, vomiting, drooling, foaming at the mouth, skin irritation, drowsiness, or liver damage.
  • Any product intended for human use or for other pets or livestock

Also, products like dish soap or vinegar have little effect on killing or preventing ticks in dogs. While many home remedies praise the use of these products, none have been proven effective.

Treat Fleas and Ticks on Dogs With New Product

Veterinary advice is strongly recommended before using new products

To find commercial products that are safe for your dog, read labels carefully and look for EPA-approved or FDA-registered products. Also, watch your dog closely when using new products. If you notice any signs of discomfort or illness, discontinue use of this product and call your veterinarian!

Ticks are an unfortunate part of owning a dog, but the problem doesn’t have to be terribly scary. While prevention is key, knowing what to do if your furry friend becomes tick infested is just another way to show that you love them!

What are ticks?

Ticks (Ixodes order, Parasites Superorder mites) are parasitic arachnids. As parasites, they feed on the blood of mammals, birds, and sometimes reptiles and amphibians. As arachnids, they are related to mites and spiders, as both are eight-legged arthropods. Ticks grow to be 3-5 mm long, depending on age, sex, species and “fullness”.

Ticks live in grass, bushes, or wooded areas, including your backyard. They are most active during the warmer months (April to September).

For both humans and dogs, most tick bites cause only mild skin irritation. Sometimes, however, a tick bite can lead to serious illness as it becomes infected with bacteria, viruses, and other disease-carrying organisms. The most dire consequences of tick bites are Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

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