About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday's tip # 25 Removing Ticks

 This post has been updated and a few corrections made.
One of the most important corrections is a warning not to squeeze a tick while trying to remove it. 

Thanks to a lot of the topical flea and tick spot-on treatments, I don't see very many ticks on dogs anymore.
If we find one, it is usually in the tub once the dog is wet.
If we miss one in the tub, the HV will defiantly find them.

Most of the ticks that we find are the common Brown Dog Tick, or the American Dog Tick.
Sometimes they are already dead or close to it, because of the spot-on treatment, and can be picked off very easily.
Other ticks may have recently attached themselves, and can also be removed fairly easily with the aid of a tick removal tool.

When bathing a Shih-Tzu the other day, my son found this female tick, engorged with blood.

This was the first time he had seen a female tick that was as big as this one.

She was so full of blood, she was just about ready to fall off.

I told him to lift her up and see if the male tick was still under her.

Sure enough, there he was.

If you come across a female tick, there will almost always be a male under her. 

A female American, Brown, and Deer Tick will change size and color as she feeds and becomes engorged.

This is a female, American Dog Tick that is fully engorged on blood.

The brown and tan shield, just above her mouth, gives her away as a American Dog Tick.

The female Brown Dog Tick has a solid black shield, with a short mouth.

The female Deer Tick also has a solid black shield, but has a longer mouth.
The length of the mouth is one of the only ways you can tell a female Brown Dog Tick and Deer Tick apart when they are engorged.

Before removing a tick, I like to soak a cotton ball with alcohol and hold it on top of the tick for a few minutes.

Sometimes the alcohol makes the tick loosen its grip, and helps you to remove the tick a little more easily.

If you have no tick removal tool to remove the tick, get your fingers as close to the ticks mouth and the dogs skin as possible.

Slowly twist the ticks head, as close to the mouth as possible, to bend and help release the spikes holding on to the dogs skin, being very careful not to squeeze the ticks body.

Squeezing the ticks body can cause more of the ticks saliva and/or stomach contents into the dogs blood stream.

If you do not have a tick removal tool and are not able to remove the tick with your fingers without the chance of squeezing the tick, try this trick.

Place some dish detergent on a cotton ball, place the cotton ball (with the dish detergent) directly on the tick.
Slowly move the cotton ball back and forth across the tick until the tick releases its hold and comes off in the cotton ball. 

Clean the bite area well.

If you are unable, or do not feel comfortable removing the tick yourself, see your groomer or Vet.  

The female has been feeding for a while, and has caused a sore to develop.

Repeat the removal process with the male tick.

(The female tick looked similar to the male before she started feeding.)

This ticks back is tan and black.

It is an American Dog Tick.

These ticks can carry Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

They do not carry Lyme disease.

 Both ticks have left a sore.
I clean the sores with Peroxide.

*Tips: ~Always tell an owner when you have removed a tick of from their dog.
~Show them the spot if you can.
~If you think the tick could possibly be a Deer Tick, scotch tape it to an index card, and give it to the owner so that they can check with their Vet.
~Let them know that the sore will develop a scab, and most times a very large scab.
~Also let them know that the scab may be there for a few weeks before it falls off.

Before the spot-on treatments, I used to get dogs in that were covered with ticks.
When I used to clip before the bath, I would be clipping a dog and suddenly panic because I saw blood.
Let me tell you, it was no fun when your blade hit one of those engorged female ticks.
Talk about nasty and bloody.

I also had a Shepherd puppy come in once covered in ticks.
When I say covered, I mean covered.
You could not even count all of them.
We even found about 30 baby ticks in the webbing between each of his toes.
We found out later that the owner was keeping the puppy out in his wood shed.

One other thing, when my white St. Poodle was around a year old, she rolled over for me to scratch her belly and I found a perfectly round bulls eye mark on the inside of her thigh.
There was no tick, just the bulls eye.
I took her straight to my Vet and he confirmed my fears about a Deer Tick bite.
He said it was a text book Deer Tick bulls eye.
He also said that it was the first time that he has seen one so clear and perfectly formed on a dog.
He had all of his Techs come in and have a look.
Thankfully I found it in time.
So, whenever I find something similar on a dog, I tell the owner to have the dog tested for Lyme.

It is always better to be safe then sorry.  :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. hey girl. love your blog. i used Ticked Off. works every time! gets the head out every time too! no more touching those nasty ticks!!! USE IT GIRL!! LOLLOLOLOL..

  2. Thank you. I'll have to check out the Ticked Off. Thanks for telling us about it. :)
    Lisa, MFF

  3. the tick twister too is a great tool. its a little green plastic thing and gets the head out evr\ey time

  4. Found a big fat one on the Maltese shizu too of paw :( ugly and engorged. Easily pulled off. Can't believe the services the cold winter. Nasty creatures. Great blog thanks for FYI

  5. I'd also like the recommend the Tick Twister. Quick and easy. Before I remove the tick, I spray it with Vet's Best Flea & Tick Spray and let that sit on it for a couple minutes before using the Tick Twister. It's a natural spray that really helps loosen the tick up so it comes off very easily.

  6. Awesome info - thanks for posting! This is good preventative info to learn with the recent canine addition to our family. ;)

  7. If you squeeze ANY SPECIES of tick which has has been attached to ANY ANIMAL OR PERSON, even if only attached for a few HOURS, you have a much greater livelihood of forcing disease-infected germs out into the host animal or person, thereby CAUSING infection, particularly if the tick has only just started attaching its mouth parts to begin the feeding process and has therefore not been attached long enough to have transmitted the germs over a long term feeding. However, even when partially or fully engorged, it is still NEVER recommended that you grasp the body instead of the mouth parts because you're more likely to squeeze the contents of the tick's stomach back into the host, thereby increasing the risk of additional forms of infection and also this "body grasping" approach is more likely to result in breaking off mouth parts, as is the "twisting" method also discussed herein. PLEASE consult other websites for verification of this information and NOT perform tick removal as described within THIS website. And to the owner of this website, PLEASE, correct your very incorrect and dangerous information and correct your removal practices, for everyone's benefit, but especially the poor animals whom you've used your previous methods on! This is incredibly alarming misinformation distribution and will be reported if not corrected.

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thank you for your information. My blog is written to help groomers learn and share. After almost 30 years of grooming you have taught me something new in your comment. I can honestly say that I had never been told about the possible dangers of squeezing a tick while removing it. I admit that it did make sense once I read your comment.
      I was so surprised that I had not heard this before, that I called my Vet today to confirm your comment. I was unable to speak directly to my Vet, but found that the Vet Techs had also not heard this information. So, I did as you suggested and went to the web. I went straight to a Vet's website that I follow and trust the information given. She confirmed the information in your comment about NEVER squeezing a tick.
      She is not in agreement with the 'no twisting'. As a matter of fact, she recommended the 'twisting' action to help the spikes of the ticks mouth to bend and release.
      I have edited my post. I am very happy to learn. I feel that a person can never stop learning no matter how long they have been doing something.
      My posts are only written with good intentions. The information given was given in good faith. The way that I removed ticks is the way that I was taught. (now I know better) I care very much for the furry customers that I groom and would never intentionally do them harm, or intentionally give out misinformation. Some of those 'poor' animals that you mentioned in your comment where my own that I had removed ticks from. I am happy to say that they are just fine.
      Again I thank you for opening my eyes to this mistake. I am only sorry that you felt the need to be mean about it and to threaten me.
      Lisa, MFF

    2. Instead of being rude you could have politely stated the information. You speak as if she had purposely wrote it knowing it would cause risks. To make it worse it sounds as if you tried to accuse her of not taking care of her furry customers. There is a fine line in-between trying to be helpful and trying to be a jerk.