Seed Ticks on Dogs

Ticks on dogs are not only disgusting, they can spread diseases and cause infections. Ticks are parasitic insects that attach themselves to your dog's skin to feed on his blood. Seed ticks are the extremely small ticks that appear in the spring. It's common for seed ticks to infest dogs, and they can be difficult to remove, because they are so very small.

Where Seed Ticks Are Found

Seed ticks usually appear in the early spring. They are very small, because they are at the beginning of their life cycles. Seed ticks may come from any species of tick. Some seed ticks feed on a dog for a few days and then drop off to find another host, while other seed ticks attach themselves to an animal with the intention of feeding from it for the rest of their lives.

Seed ticks can live in just about any outdoor environment. They can be found in shrubs and bushes and in the grass. Ticks are most often found in long grass and wilder, less thoroughly landscaped areas, but they can also be found in yard grass as well.

Seed ticks are generally about the size of a poppy seed. They have six legs and are often brown. They can take on a blue tint after sucking some of your dog's blood.

Removing Seeds Ticks from Your Dog

Seed ticks on dogs are common, and not always a cause for concern. Nevertheless, they should be removed, for your dog's health. Ticks can spread diseases, such as Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Follow these instructions to remove seed ticks from your dog:

  1. Use latex or neoprene gloves when removing ticks from your dog, just in case. Many tick-borne diseases are contagious to humans.
  2. Dab the tick with mineral or vegetable oil. Ticks on dogs feed by embedding their heads in the dog's skin. Dabbing them with oil blocks their breathing passages, forcing them to release their grip and pull their heads from your dog's skin.
  3. Use tweezers, or a tick remover, to pull off the tick. Don't pull hard, and don't twist. The tick may not have pulled its head out yet, and, if the head breaks off inside your dog's skin, it could cause an infection.
  4. Wipe the bite area with hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the wound.
  5. Place the tick in a jar of rubbing alcohol or soapy water to kill it.

When to See a Vet About Ticks on Your Dog

You don't need to rush off to the vet every time you find ticks on your dog. Some ticks carry diseases, but not all ticks do. Many dogs are bitten by ticks and don't get sick. If your dog becomes feverish and lethargic, and especially if he develops muscle or joint pain or lameness, he may have contracted a tick borne disease. See your vet immediately if this happens. 

You can prevent ticks on dogs and tick-borne diseases by using a spot-on tick repellant, such as Frontline or Advantage. These products are usually only necessary during the warm weather months, when ticks are most likely to bite your dog.