You don’t even have to be a dog parent to know; ticks carry dangerous diseases to both dogs and humans. But if you have never seen a tick before, you may ask yourself: How do I know if my dog has a tick?
But as a dog owner, you are even more concerned, as your dog loves to run in long grass, bushes, woods… Also ticks can be very good at hiding and can be tough to find in a dog’s coat. If you never had a dog before and have never seen a tick, how do you know if your dog has one?
It’s essential to regularly check your dog for ticks if you spend time outside, especially in woods and grassy areas. Ticks can be active throughout the year, depending on the weather, but are generally more prevalent in the spring, summer, and early autumn.
What do ticks look like on dogs?
A tick is tiny, and that’s why it’s hard to find sometimes. It feels like a hard lump on your dog’s skin. Typically it’s dark brown or black. If you missed a tick on your dog, and it has been there sucking for a while. And by now he is bloated from feeding on your dog’s blood. When a tick is bloated, it appears lighter brown or greyish. It can be easily confused with a small skin lump, cyst, or even a nipple when it looks like this.
The areas where you can find the ticks most likely are near your dog’s neck, head, ears, and folds under their legs. Dog parents usually only notice tick after he attached himself to a dog to feast on the dog’s blood. But we have to remember, that when ticks get on a dog, they will often move around. They move around to search for the best place to bite and feed themselves.
What are the signs your dog has a tick?
If you see the following symptoms, there is a chance your dog may have a tick somewhere on his body:
Licking and nibbling: Your dog may lick and chew at a particular area on its body where the tick is located or even attached.
Red skin: Sometimes, the skin around the embedded tick can become swollen, inflamed, and red.
Scabs: A tick may be embedded in your dog’s skin if you find random scabs on your dog’s body caused by your dog scratching or chewing.
Head shaking: Your dog may have tick or ticks on his ear. Sometimes tick can even crawl into your dog’s ear canal or latch onto the ear’s outer flap.
Anaemia: This is not very common, and I have seen it only once on a Fox Terrier with about 50 ticks. This usually happens to a smaller dog or puppy when it is infested with lots of ticks. The ticks can drink so much blood that the dog becomes anaemic. A dog like this would be lethargic with pale gums.
Tick disease: By the time you notice the symptoms of tick disease, the tick will be long gone. Tick disease symptoms typically don’t present themselves until weeks or months after the tick bite. You might notice, fever, tiredness, shifting lameness, pale gums. Also difficulty breathing, loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes, and apathy in such cases.