How to Remove a Tick From Your Pet Or Yourself

A hand holding a tick
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There are many ideas about the best way to remove a tick, one of the most common tricks is to light a match, blow it out, and put the hot tip on the tick to make the tick "angry" enough to back out on its own. The truth is, this can actually make things worse for you and the tick; injecting more foreign material into you (or your pet) from the tick. Early removal of the tick is very important. Find out how to check for and remove ticks safely in this how to.

  1. Use latex exam gloves to examine your pet for ticks. Examine using good lighting.
  2. Check your pet daily for ticks by thoroughly feeling for any lumps under the hair. Pay close attention to ears, around the face, eyes, legs, and belly.
  3. Ticks will range in size from the size of a sesame seed to the size of a fingernail (engorged).
  4. When the tick is found embedded in the skin, use fine-pointed tweezers or tick remover tool (shop and compare) at the point of attachment, and grasp the tick head firmly and as close to the skin as possible. Remember to wear latex gloves when doing this.
  5. Using slow, steady, and firm traction, pull the tick straight out from the skin. Some tools, such as the Tick Twister, recommend a circular twist motion while pulling.
  6. It is critical to NOT squeeze the tick body at any time -- this can inject more potential pathogens into you or your pet while the tick is embedded.
  7. Cleanse the skin with mild soap and water.
  8. If a small part of the tick breaks off, you can try to remove it as you would a splinter, but it is probably best to leave it alone. The body will 'eject' it in time.
  1. Place the tick in a jar of alcohol, noting the date, in case of future illness. Tick identification and location of tick infestation will be important.


  1. Do NOT use a match or caustic materials to try to smother the tick or get the tick to "back out". This doesn't work and may be causing the tick to regurgitate more saliva (and potential pathogens) into the skin. Same goes for "smothering" the tick with petroleum jelly or similar material.
  2. Talk to your vet about effective tick control (spray, powder, spot-on, or collar) for your pet.
  3. Check pet daily, especially in the spring when ticks are most common.

What You Need

  • Latex gloves
  • Good pair of tweezers
  • Soap and water
  • Jar or plastic bag to label and save removed tick