Dog Tick FAQ

Ticks are small parasites that may get attached to dogs when they are outdoors. Ticks may be dangerous and can cause a number of diseases, so you need to find out the dog tick basics.

Where Do Ticks Live?

Ticks live in mountainous areas and may get attached to pets when these walk in the grass or in areas populated by ticks.

If you live in such an area, you should frequently check for ticks on your dog’s fur to prevent complications.

What Complications May Ticks Cause?

Ticks can cause the lyme disease if the tick is not removed in timely manner. The lyme disease may also be transmitted to humans.

There are also other disease organisms that may be transmitted by the tick. Some other diseases that may be transmitted by ticks include the Ehrlichiosis, the Basesiosis or the Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF). The diseases that ticks transmit may be specific for each area in part.  

What Are the Tick Bite Symptoms?

The tick should be visible under the dog’s skin. However, the tick bite may not be noticed, but if you palpate the dog’s skin, the tick may be felt as a swelling.

If the dog gets infected with a tick disease he will display several symptoms including lack of appetite, fever, swelling of the extremities, lameness, vomiting, diarrhea, enlarged lymph nodes or skin rashes. The dog may also experience liver or kidney damage in advanced cases of tick disease.

These symptoms may not occur immediately after the bite. It may take 1 to 4 weeks for the dog to display symptoms.

How to Remove a Tick?

The tick should be removed with a pair of tweezers. Don’t use alcohol, petroleum jelly or other substances that may make the ticks throw up, as this can be bad for your pet, making the infection with lyme disease and other organisms more plausible.

Try not to crush the tick and try to avoid the contact with the tick. Wear gloves and with the tweezers grab the tick and pull it out with one movement. Don’t twist the tick; if you notice that a part of the tick is still in the pet, you can use a sterilized needle to remove the rest of the tick.  Keep the tick in a sealed jar or a Ziploc bag, as the vet may want to analyze it.

Clean the wound with antibacterial soap or alcohol.

How Is the Tick Tested for Disease Organisms?

The tick should be tested for disease organisms with a polymerase chain reaction test (PCR).

Knowing what the tick may have transmitted to your pet can help administering the right medications and preventing complications.

How Are Tick Diseases Treated?

Tick diseases can be treated using antibiotics. Imizol is prescribed for Basesiosis. The vet should test your pet and determine the right treatment options and the dosage.

How May Ticks Prevented?

There are a few products you may use to prevent tick bites. Frontline or Preventic are just a few products. Tick collars may also be used. Check with your vet prior to administering these.