How to Do a Tick Check: Tips for You and Your Pets

Visit the Equip-4-Ticks Resource Center

"The most important thing to think about when you’re doing a tick check is that you need to check the lower extremities first and then move up.”

- Dr. Thomas Mather, Tick Expert, University of Rhode Island Tick Encounter Resource Center

Perform tick checks from the ground up

After spending time in a tick habitat, it’s important to do a thorough tick check. While many recommend checking from head to toe, Dr. Mather recommends checking from the lower part of your body first and then moving up, because that’s how ticks move, from the ground up. 

Places to check for ticks

  • Between toes
  • Behind knees
  • In the groin area
  • Around waistline
  • In the belly button
  • Inside elbow joints and armpits
  • In and around the ear
  • Around the hairline
  • On the scalp

Dr. Mather notes that it’s especially important to check areas where your clothing meets, or binds closely to, your skin. Ticks will crawl to those areas and won’t be able to, or want to, go any further, and they’ll bite there. 

Do a tick check on your pets

Once you’ve finished doing a tick check on yourself, it’s also important to perform a tick check on your pet. On a pet, the head region is the most important place to look for ticks. Ticks will also end up on other areas of dogs, or cats. Make sure to check all places where a tick could get caught up in its fur or the crease of its skin.

Places to check your pet for ticks

  • Paws and between toes
  • Between back legs
  • Between front legs
  • Under the collar area
  • In or around the ears
  • Head region
  • Base of the tail

[Related Article: How to Remove a Tick from Your Dog and What to Do Next]

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