How to Get a Tick Off a Dog With Dish Soap in 4 Steps

By Marsha Harrison

Fact-checked by Kia Lowe

how to get a tick off a dog with dish soap

Ticks can find their way into your dogs when they interact with other animals. Keep in mind that these arachnids can transmit various diseases, which include Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

In this how-to feature, I will share how to get a tick off a dog with dish soap, and a few other methods.

However, note that this article is purely informational that aims to help remedy the situation. It must not be used to diagnose. If ticks don’t seem to want to leave your pooch, or if their bites cause swelling, consult your veterinarian immediately.

What You Need

  • 3 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Antiseptic
  • Glass container with a lid
  • Tick twister or tweezers
  • A pair of gloves
  • Cotton pads
  • Half a cup of warm water
  • Resealable plastic bag or any airtight container

Besides the items above, I highly recommend getting another person to assist you.

Dawn Dish Soap Tick Removal Method

Step 1. Put on your gloves and prepare the supplies

Be sure to protect yourself against the ticks by wearing gloves.

Next, mix warm water and Dawn dish soap in a glass container. Then, put the lid back on and shake gently to ensure that the two ingredients combine well.

Let the cotton pad soak in the Dawn dish soap tick removal mixture for a couple of minutes.

Pour a bit of alcohol into a plastic container or resealable bag. Be sure this is ready before you start taking out the ticks since you will be placing them here later on.

You can also wrap the tick tightly in a tape or flush it down the toilet.


  • Tip: You can use any similar brand of dish detergent but most people use Dawn dish soap for ticks on dogs.

Step 2. Locate the tick and put the cotton pad over the tick


While waiting for the cotton pad to soak, you can start looking for the ticks. It can be particularly tricky since some breeds have thick fur.

That said, there are seven areas you need to check. These are the toes, tail, groin, eyelids, armpits, and head and ears.

Once you determine the areas, put the soaked cotton over the tick, then hold it in place for a couple of minutes.

Here, you will notice that the arachnid begins to untighten its grip and possibly even unlatch itself.

Place it in a container or resealable bag with alcohol. In this way, you can keep the ticks and take them to the vet to get them checked for diseases.

  • Tip: If your dog cannot stay put, you can get someone else to help you hold it down.
  • Optional: If removing ticks with dish soap is ineffective, proceed to step 3.

Step 3. Use a tick twister or tweezers to remove the tick


Note that tick twisters and tweezers require different methods to take a tick off a dog.

If you choose to use a tick twister, you need to get as close to the skin as possible and take it from underneath so that its mouth and head are between the prongs.

Gently turn the twister upwards and it should be able to remove the tick.

When using tweezers, you can nip the tick’s head and the mouth and pull it upwards. You don’t need to jerk or twist the tweezers.

Warning: To prevent infection, be careful not to crush the ticks.

Step 4. Clean your dog and observe symptoms

After you pull a tick off a dog, you should gently clean the affected area with soap and water.

Rinse it thoroughly, then apply antiseptics like rubbing alcohol. Once cleaned, you can proceed to go tick-hunting in other areas.

Whether you end up using tweezers or dish soap to remove ticks, make sure to observe your pet for any symptoms of tick-related illnesses. These include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Irritation around the wound area
  • Swelling joints
  • Difficulty in breathing

Frequently Asked Questions


1. How can I tell if my dog has ticks?

You don’t need a vet to check your pooch for signs of ticks. In most cases, these arachnids can be easily spotted. You can even see some of them crawling on your walls.

However, if your dog has a black fur or a thick coat, then you can looking out for these signs:

  • Your dog has a mild or high-grade fever and its symptoms include loss of appetite, shivering, or appearing to be weak. Note that signs of fever can indicate other sicknesses.
  • You see scabs on your dog’s body.
  • Your dog shakes its head quite a lot. Normally, this happens when a tick has made its way into the ears.
  • You see and feel small bumps as you pet your dog.

2. How can I prevent ticks?

Dogs come in various shapes and sizes, so make sure that you are familiar with their grooming needs and implement them regularly. Hence, you need to consult your vet or the barber removing ticks.

Poor grooming can lead to matting.

Matting essentially refers to a condition wherein the pet’s furs are densely tangled. It can lead to irritation, lesions, and infestations of fleas and ticks.

Furthermore, dogs with longer hair can suffer from severe consequences as the knots cut off blood circulation.

Besides grooming, you also need to make sure that the tick treatments are up to date.

3. Does dawn dish soap kill ticks?

Dawn dish soap can kill fleas as it drowns them, says Dr. Chris Reeder explains. Yet, it is not the most efficient way but it is not the best prevention measure.

Vets confirm that it does not repel them. In other words, it is a band-aid solution.

In the same article I linked above, Dr. Susan Jeffrey emphasizes that the use of dish soap is employed in rare instances where they need to remove ticks or fleas from a kitten or puppy.

That’s because these animals are way too young to use any preventative measures against fleas. Hence, it is important to use only a small amount and dilute it in water.

4. Why do most vets still recommend using tweezers?

When bugs are drowned in a dish soap and water solution, they can potentially vomit on your dog due to distress.

This is a problem as it will release diseases and infections on your dog as well. Hence, most vets strongly encourage pet owners to use tweezers.

More importantly, keep in mind that home remedies should never replace an actual treatment.

While you need to remove the tick immediately, you must also bring your dog and the tick to your vet. Apart from testing the tick for diseases in the lab, the vet can provide tablets or topical solutions.


Dealing with ticks can be stressful for both the dog and the pet owner. Approaching it proactively is necessary to get rid of them once and for all!

As experts say, knowing how to get a tick off a dog with dish soap can come in handy if you’re in a pinch.

Furthermore, don’t just focus merely on removing the tick. Be on the lookout for other symptoms that I listed above so you can address them as soon as possible and prevent any disease from worsening.

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