Deer Tick Bite Treatment for Dogs

The two most common types of ticks found on dogs are the brown dog tick and the American dog tick. Although less common, the deer tick and black-legged tick also feed on dogs. Because a deer tick bite can transmit Lyme disease, the deer tick (I. scapularis) is of particular concern in the northern and north central U.S., northern California, and southern Oregon. These areas account for 95 percent of all cases of Lyme disease in the U.S.

The good news for pet owners in these areas is that vaccinations are readily available at your local veterinary clinic. Although vaccination will protect your dog from Lyme disease, it will not prevent deer tick bites. Fortunately, there are several deer tick bite treatments for dogs that can be administered at home 

Deer Tick Bite Removal

The first step in treating deer tick bites is to remove the deer tick from your pet’s skin. Before attempting to remove the tick, you should keep in mind that attempting to smother it with petroleum jelly, dabbing it with paint, or hovering a lit match over it will only worsen the situation. This will only stimulate the tick, which will cause it to produce more bacteria-laced secretions. While you are attempting to kill the tick with heat or paint, the tick will continue to pump its secretions into the bite, causing painful inflammation and an even greater risk of disease.

To begin removing ticks from your dog’s skin, put on a pair of gloves and find a pair of forceps or tweezers. Do not attempt to remove the ticks with your bare hands. Ticks can transmit Lyme disease to humans, so be careful. Part the hair all the way down to skin and begin searching for brown or black oval-shaped creatures. If the tick is engorged, it will be easier to see, if it is not engorged, it will be the size of a poppy seed or sesame seed.

Once you have located a tick, grab it gently by the head. Do not yank the tick. Deer ticks have eight legs. If you leave small pieces behind, your pet can still become infected. Slowly peel the tick away from the dog’s skin. If any pieces break off, place the extracted pieces on a piece of tissue or paper and go back to remove the rest. Repeat until you have removed all of the ticks from your dog’s skin. If you release your dog and he is still scratching, go directly to the area that’s still causing irritation and double check for ticks.

Treating the Bite Wound

Once you have removed all ticks, clean the affected area with alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is best. After the area dries, apply a topical antibiotic. One of the best antibiotics for dogs is Triple Antibiotic Ointment by manufacturers such as Fougera. Because it is specifically formulated for dogs, you do not have to worry about an allergic reaction to human grade medicines or ingredients.

After applying the antibiotic, it is important to keep an eye on your pet to make sure he doesn’t lick the medicine off his skin. If the antibiotic ointment has been applied correctly, the wound will likely heal in 5 to 7 days.