Ticks on Dogs: Important Information to Keep Your Dog Safe

Ticks can infect dogs with serious and sometimes deadly illnesses. Continue reading to discover everything you need to know about ticks on dogs and how to keep your dog safe.

The last thing you want is for your pet to get bitten by a tick. They’re prevalent parasites of dogs and cats all around the world, and Australia is no exception. There are various types of ticks on dogs, each carrying its own set of risks.

What Are Dog Ticks? What Do They Look Like?

Ticks on dogs are usually the size of an apple seed when they haven’t been fed, although their colour varies depending on the species. Ticks become “enlarged” after taking a blood meal from their host. When this occurs, they can grow to be as big as your little fingernail. Not all ticks look alike, and because ticks change over time, it’s better to check with your veterinarian if you’re not sure whether it’s a tick.

Where to Look for Ticks on Your Dog

If you’re looking for a tick on your dog, examine the area where he or she is scratching for symptoms of itching. Another sign that your dog has a tick is if it yelps or winces when stroked. The tick may be irritating the sensitive region where it has latched on to your dog.

Performing a complete examination of your dog might help you discover any ticks. Part their fur around their neck, ears, and tail with your fingertips. A tick may be felt like a very tiny lump if you run your fingers across them.

How Do Dogs Get Ticks?

Ticks are carried into your home by outdoor animals. Ticks crawl around looking for a host, which can include resting in low grass or shrubs and sitting in wait. Ticks are attracted to heat and the carbon dioxide that your dog emits, revealing the presence of a suitable host nearby. The tick latches on with its front legs first, then crawls over the coat and through the fur to discover an appropriate site to attach and feed.

In Australia, tick bites can be a problem at any time of year, with the peak danger in spring and summer.

The Problems Ticks Cause in Dogs

There are various kinds of ticks that can infest dogs. Ticks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they can produce deadly tick paralysis or pass other hazardous and potentially fatal diseases to dogs. A tick bite may cause discomfort where it inserts on your dog, at the least.

The Signs of Ticks on Dogs

Symptoms of tick bites in dogs differ depending on the kind of tick involved.

The symptoms of a black-legged tick include skin irritation and anemia, while those of the brown dog tick are similar to those of the paralysis tick (It generally takes three days or more for signs to appear following an encounter with a paralysis tick):

  • A wobbly gait or a lack of mobility in the hind legs (be able to get up) may lead to paralysis.
  • A change in voice or bark.
  • After a tick bite, you might notice your dog vomiting.
  • Retching, coughing or loss of appetite.
  • Laboured breathing or rapid breathing.
  • After a tick bite, your dog may appear to be sluggish.

How to Get Rid of a Tick on Your Dog

You may be wondering how to get rid of ticks on your dog. If you discover a tick on your dog, it should be removed as soon as possible. See the steps below for how to remove a tick from a dog.

Tweezers can be used to remove a tick that’s been embedded in a dog’s skin. Grasp the tick near your dog’s skin (at the tick mouthparts), twist it, and then pluck it away from the skin. When removing a tick from a dog without tweezers, you may use a Tick Removal Tool, such as a Tick Hook, available from your local veterinarian and follow the directions on the packaging.

Remove the tick with tweezers and place it in a sealed container for identification by your veterinarian after removal.

Even after a tick has been removed, a dog may develop symptoms of tick paralysis, so keep an eye on your pup for a few days. If you have any doubts about your dog’s well-being, see a veterinarian straight away.

Ticks on Dogs: How to Avoid Them

Unfortunately, no method exists to keep your dog away from ticks while he or she is outside. You can, however, use a proven tick treatment like NexGard® or NexGard SPECTRA® to help protect against them. Just one monthly chew suffices to eliminate pre-existing paralysis ticks within 24 hours and provide protection for a full month against brown dog ticks, bush ticks, and paralysis-inducing brown dog tick bites.

While tick control solutions will prevent the majority of the ticks that your pet may come into contact with, just one tick can result in tick paralysis. As a result, it is critical to perform daily tick searches on your dog. If you reside in, or if you and your dog are visiting a known tick destination, it is suggested that you search your dog for ticks and tick craters (scabby, circular skin lesion sites where a tick was previously attached) every day.