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What Kills Ticks on Dogs Instantly: 7 Effective Remedies

This is not medical advice. For medical advice regarding pets, see your veterinarian.

To kill ticks on your dog instantly, you can use alcohol, a dilution of eucalyptus oil, or dish soap and water. Some are more effective than others, but the best way to kill ticks is to apply a tick treatment.

When the warm weather comes, so do ticks. 

Even if you have applied antiparasitic substances to your dog, you can find a tick from time to time in your dog’s fur.

In this article, you will learn how to kill ticks instantly, what remedies that kill ticks, how to remove them properly, and more.

What Is a Tick?

A tick is an external parasite that feeds on the blood of its host. It can parasitize dogs and other mammals and transmit various pathogens through its saliva. The most dangerous diseases ticks transmit to dogs are babesiosis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and others.

Ticks are most active from March to December but due to the mild winters, they can be found all year round. There are thousands of species of ticks but only a few can parasitize and transmit diseases to pets.

When your dog or other host comes into contact with ticks, they attach to the skin and insert their thin feeding tube. The pathogens found in the saliva of an infected tick get into your dog’s bloodstream, causing one or more infections.

Ticks’ bodies grow larger as they feed.

These parasites can remain on the pet’s body from several days to a few weeks without making their presence known. They do this by releasing anticoagulants and anti-inflammatory substances. 

They often position themselves in hard-to-reach areas:

  • Neck
  • Between the toes
  • Between the skin folds
  • Under the neck and chin
  • Armpits
How to Remove Ticks

What Kills Ticks on Dogs Instantly?

Rubbing alcohol, strong mouthwash, a dilution with eucalyptus oil, or dish soap can kill a tick on your dog instantly. But be careful with essential oils as they can be toxic to pets if ingested.

It is good to have a few tricks up your sleeve and know how to get rid of a tick quickly when you find one on your dog.

Although the safest way to remove a tick is to grab it with tweezers, other methods can help you get rid of these unwanted pests.

Related: How to Remove Ticks From Dogs

1. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is a pleasant-smelling oil that can be used to kill ticks instantly on your dog.[1]

Make a dilution of 4 ounces of distilled water with 20 drops of eucalyptus oil. This dilution can be sprayed on the tick.[2]

Apply it with caution as it can be toxic to pets if ingested. According to ASPCA, eucalyptus oil poisoning in pets has several unpleasant side effects:[3]

  • Excessive salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression
Eucalyptus Oil

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol has fewer medical implications than eucalyptus oil, but it can also become toxic to pets if ingested in large quantities.

The most effective way to kill a tick with rubbing alcohol is to dilute it with water and soak a piece of cotton in it. Cover the tick with the cotton ball and wait for a moment. The tick will detach shortly after.

Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) should be used with caution as intoxication can cause the following symptoms in pets:[4]

  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Incoordination
  • Collapse
  • Respiratory depression
  • Seizures
  • Death

It is usually used to disinfect a wound. In high concentrations, it can cause skin damage and other negative effects. Use rubbing alcohol only when needed and in very small amounts.

Rubbing Alcohol

3. Dish Soap

Although there are no studies to back up this statement, some dog owners successfully remove ticks with dish soap.

Dish soaps like Dawn break down the parasite’s exoskeleton, as in the case of fleas.

Moisten a piece of cotton and apply dish soap to it. Apply the piece of cotton to the tick and hold it for at least 30 seconds. 

The tick should come out on its own.

You can also wash your pet with Dawn dish soap to get rid of ticks, but this method is more effective for fleas.

Related: Does Dawn Dish Soap Kill Fleas?

Dish Soap

How to Remove Ticks From Dogs

The safest way to remove ticks is to use a pair of tweezers. You can use multipurpose tweezers or special tools for removing ticks. This way, you make sure your dog doesn’t get poisoned by harmful substances.

To remove ticks from your dog with a pair of tweezers you need:

  • Gloves
  • Clean tweezers
  • Disinfectant or antiseptic

Always try to use gloves when removing ticks because they can carry pathogens, and you don’t want to be exposed.

How to remove ticks from your dog:

  • Grab the tick as close as possible to the skin, without pinching your dog’s skin
  • Slightly pull the tick up, applying a little force and pressure to the skin until it comes off
  • Clean your dog’s tick bite with antiseptic and disinfect the tweezers with alcohol
  • Monitor the tick bite area for the next couple of days

Make sure you remove the mouthpiece. If you don’t get it at first, gently pull it out with tweezers or see your veterinarian. The attached mouthparts can become infected, and your dog will need antibiotic treatment.

If your pet begins to show symptoms of tick-borne diseases, contact the vet as soon as possible.

Engorged Ticks are Dangerous to Dogs

What Kills Ticks Instantly After Removal?

There are many ways you can kill a tick after removing it from your dog’s skin. The most common ones are soaking the tick in various solutions, such as alcohol, acetone, or bleach. Do not apply these substances to your dog as they can be harmful.

You removed a tick from your dog and now what? 

There are various methods to kill a tick after removing it. Some methods are faster than others.

1. Acetone

Put acetone in a container and immerse the tick in it.

The average time acetone kills tick nymphs is 185.1 seconds (~3 minutes), while for adults is 562.9 seconds (~9 minutes), according to studies.[5]

Do not use acetone on your pet’s skin to remove a tick.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Immerse the tick in rubbing alcohol in a container. The same study showed that the average time to kill a tick nymph with 70% isopropyl alcohol is 328.9 seconds (~5 minutes), while it takes 1128.4 seconds (~19 minutes) for adults.

The immersion of a tick in ethanol was also part of the study. The average time differences between ethanol and isopropyl alcohol were not significant.

3. Bleach

If you want to kill a tick after removing it, you can also use bleach. Be careful when using bleach because it can burn your hands or discolor your clothes.

Sodium hypochlorite, which is the active ingredient in bleach, dissolves the protective layer of the tick (exoskeleton), denaturing its protein membranes.[6]

Bleach is alkaline, and regardless of its concentration, it kills ticks successfully.

Do not use bleach on your pet’s skin to remove a tick.

Bleach for dogs

4. Adhesive band

If you have removed a tick and all you have at hand is duct tape, you can use it to kill the parasite. All you have to do is to:

  • Tear off a piece of tape
  • Attach the tick to the sticky side
  • Join the two ends and press the tape down
  • Throw the tick in the trash

The tick can no longer come out because it is stuck, and it will eventually starve and die.

Adhesive band

5. Heat

Studies have shown that if you have ticks on your clothes, washing them at temperatures above 54°C (130°F) can successfully kill them.

Using a dryer and drying your clothes on high heat for at least six minutes is also effective in killing ticks.[7]

What Kills Tick Eggs and Larvae?

You can kill tick eggs and larvae by using household items such as salt or rubbing alcohol. Ticks have four biological stages: egg, larva, nymph, and adult. The last three evolutionary stages feed on blood and can transmit diseases.

A female tick can lay up to 5000 eggs at a time. They are brownish-red and translucent and look like miniature caviar. You can find ticks eggs in your garden, carpet, floor, cracks, furniture, or lining.

For killing tick eggs and larvae you can use both commercial and natural treatments:

  • Salt
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Borax
  • Bleach

Sprinkle salt or borax over your carpets or in places where you find eggs and tick larvae. If you do not have salt or borax at hand, you can immerse them in rubbing alcohol or bleach.

Never use these substances on your dog.

white-powder-pesticide

How to Prevent Ticks

The best way to prevent ticks is to use antiparasitic substances on your dog. If your dog is sensitive to one of the active ingredients in topical products, you can give it chewable tablets.

There are a lot of products you can choose from to treat and prevent ticks, from spot-on pipettes and collars to sprays and chewable tablets.

Antiparasitic substances are administered according to your dog’s weight and age. If you have a small breed dog and use a product intended for a medium or large breed, you risk intoxicating your pet and end up with it at the vet’s office.

FAQs

Can Vinegar Remove Ticks From Dogs?

Apart from the strong, repulsive scent your dog has after applying vinegar to remove ticks, it has no other effect. To successfully remove ticks, use tweezers, tick tools, or apply a tick treatment.

Does Isopropyl Alcohol Kill Ticks?

Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing alcohol) can be used to kill ticks. It can also be used to make an attached tick detach from your dog’s skin. 

About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.