Why a Dog Has a Lump After Tick Removal

Cuteness may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
Ticks are parasites that feed on animal blood.
Image Credit: Socha/iStock/GettyImages

Disclosure: At Cuteness, we are committed to being the go-to resource for pet owners and animal lovers. We only recommend products we think our audience will love. If you purchase something by clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer might receive some data for accounting​ ​purposes.


Ticks are tiny arachnids that feed on blood. Ticks can cause allergic reactions and can carry diseases. The most well-known disease is Lyme disease, which affects dogs and humans. It's normal for a tick bite bump on a dog to last for a few days, and it should go away soon, but keep an eye on it just in case it doesn't.


Video of the Day

Removing a tick

It's worth keeping the tick to have it tested for any diseases if you can. Place the tick in a Ziploc bag with a moistened cotton ball in it and place it in the refrigerator until you can take it to your vet. Disinfect the area with soap and warm water. Animal Medical Hospital says to avoid alcohol because that will hurt your dog; soap and water are enough to do the trick.


If you spot a tick on your dog, it should be removed right away. Tweezers can be used, but there are also specialized tick-removing hooks that could be a good investment if you live in an area that is prone to tick infestations. You want to remove the tick in a similar manner to removing a nail with a hammer claw.


You want to slide the tweezers or the hook under the tick's body and avoid squeezing it or pulling it out so quickly that the head stays in and the body comes out. Using steady, firm pressure, pull the tick straight up and away. If the tick has really burrowed in, it could take some firm pressure to pull it out.


Tick head stays in

When you try to pull a tick out of your dog, a common experience is that the body is pulled out but the tick head (it's actually not a head but just mouth parts) stays in because it has burrowed in. According to Animal Planet, if the tick head stays in, it puts your pet at a greater risk for an abscess or an infection. It is likely best to have your veterinarian remove the tick, as it is something that is difficult for people to do if they haven't done it before.


If the tick head stays in your pet after you pull it out, call your vet and bring your pet in for an inspection of the area. Your vet may need to excise the area to get it out, particularly if it has been attached for a long time and has burrowed in deeply. Antibiotics may be needed.


Tick bite bump on a dog

PetCoach says the tick bite bump on a dog is normal and is called a granuloma. This granuloma is a reaction to the tick's saliva, and it should only stick around for no more than a few weeks. Apply some antibiotic ointment like Polysporin on the spot where the tick was attached. It is fine to put some anti-itch ointment on the site, such as Caladryl, as long as he doesn't lick too much off.



It's normal for the inflammatory response from a tick bite on a dog to become swollen. A ring of pink or red and a scab from the removal spot is also normal. If the tick bite bump on your dog drains pus or doesn't seem to be getting better, have your vet check it. It can take a while for these bumps to heal.

The longer a tick stays burrowed in, the greater the chance of it passing on a disease or causing an infection. If you notice after tick removal that your dog has a lump that gets larger the day after the removal, your dog may have an infection. Other signs of infection include pus, oozing, fever, and lethargy. Contact your vet, who will treat the infection with antibiotics.

Tick allergic reactions and diseases

VCA Hospitals says common allergic reactions to tick bites are swelling and redness at the site of the bite or hives all over the body, a swollen face, and difficulty breathing. Ticks transmit a variety of diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, and Babesiosis, according to Barry Veterinary Hospital. If you preserve the tick and take it to your veterinarian, she can test it for any of these potential infections.

Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever have similar symptoms, which include fever, loss of appetite, weakness, and pain and stiffness. Rocky Mountain spotted fever also involves vomiting and neurological difficulties, such as confusion. Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis include fever, loss of appetite, watery eyes and runny nose, swollen lymph nodes, and trouble breathing.

Babesiosis is a bit different. This disease causes pale gums, colored urine and discolored stool, an orange tint to the skin, and an enlarged abdomen. Luckily, antibiotics are successful in treating all of these diseases, but the sooner the treatment is started, the better.

Tick removal products

To properly remove a tick, you need to use the right products for your pup. Tick Tornado ZenPet Tick Remover on Amazon helps you easily take out the entire tick. A veterinarian created this device, which utilizes a twisting motion to ensure that no part of the tick's mouth are going to be left behind in the skin when you remove the tick. It can be used on other pets like cats as well as humans.

Another useful product is the TickCheck Premium Tick Remover Kit, which comes with a stainless steel tick remover, tweezers, a leather case, and a free pocket tick identification card. You can easily store this device in your backpack and if you see a tick on your dog while you're out exploring, you can remove it in an instant. Plus, a portion of your purchase will go towards university research on ticks and Lyme disease.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...