It’s a fine day, and I am stroking my dog’s head with affection,
What are these bumps I just felt on his skin?
Are these tick bites? No way….how could it be possible? I haven’t come across any tick on his body lately.
If this was you a couple of hours ago and now you are on the internet searching how to identify a tick on a dog, do not go anywhere else and stick to the screen for the next few minutes.
Ticks are one of the parasites that could attack a dog and cause serious problems.
The list of illnesses caused by ticks goes a long way, including tick fever, anemia, awful wounds, Lyme borreliosis, and loss of appetite in dogs.
I understand the frustration that you may have to face, differentiating between various types of fleas, ticks, or lice.
My passion to help my fellow dog parents made me spend uncountable hours on the internet, surfing through every authentic piece of information I could possibly gather, only to collect workable methods that could answer your question, which is- how to identify a tick on a dog.
Now you don’t have to do the research; just go through this piece of writing till the end, understand how to identify a tick on a dog, treat them accordingly and make your life easy.
How to identify a tick on a dog?
To identify a tick on a dog you have to look at the dorsal area of the parasite, if you clearly see the presence of a shield or hard shell, then it is a hard tick. In males, this shell covers the entire upper part of the body, while in females it only covers the area closest to the head.
What are ticks?
Originated from arachnids (spider family), ticks are blood-sucking bugs that thrive on host bodies. They are small in size, which is why it is hard to locate them on pets or in the environment; however, once they feast on the host’s blood, their size increases up to a centimeter.
Ticks are often found in bushy areas and live in grass, shrubs, leaf piles, or trees.
Usually, dogs get them from outside upon going out for a stroll in any nearby garden.
What are the different types of ticks?
I want to notify you about these most common ticks that can cause serious illnesses in your dog.
#1 American dog tick
It is a brown-colored tick that has a white pattern on its back. The tick can cause various diseases, including tick paralysis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
#2 Brown dog tick
As the name shows, it is brown in color, and dogs for these ticks are their favorite hosts due to their thick warm coats. These ticks cannot survive in the cold; therefore, they make homes inside dog’s coats, warm kennels, or even your home. They can cause fevers and infections in dogs.
#3 Deer tick
It is a reddish-orange tick with a black shield and black legs. Their favorite temperature is freezing winter, and they get active anytime around mid-winters. These ticks can transfer fever, causing bacteria.
#4 Lone star tick
It is a reddish-brown tick. Their females are quite different, with a white star-like spot on their back. These ticks are dangerous for humans as well and can cause serious tick-borne diseases or allergies. In addition, tick fever and tick paralysis are common in dogs due to lone star bite.
#5 Asian long-horned tick
These ticks have very long legs and are reddish-brown. Their females can lay eggs without mating, which is why they spread rapidly once they are on host bodies.
#6 Pacific Coast tick
It is more common in areas around west-cost. This muddy-brown tick can transmit bacteria that cause Rocky Mountain fever in dogs.
#7 Rocky Mountain wood tick
It has a wooden brown color with a white shield. Commonly it can be found on rocky mountain areas. These ticks cause tick paralysis, tick fever, and rocky mountain fever in dogs.
#8 Western black-legged tick
Lyme disease and Ehrlichia are the two most common diseases caused by these ticks, which have reddish-orange bodies and black scurfy legs.
What is the life cycle of the tick?
The life cycle of all types of ticks consists of these four basic life stages:
- seed tick (looks like a tick but has six legs only)
- adult tick
The transition from the nymphal stage to the adult stage requires a blood meal; ticks suck on their hosts to thrive.
7 Places to Look for Ticks on Your Dog
Ticks have their favorite spots on dog’s bodies. They hide either in warm thick bedding of hair on a dog’s coat or their skinfolds. The most common spots where ticks can grow on a dog are;
- Head and Ears
- Under the Collar
If you feel bumps on any of these areas on your dog, immediately inspect his whole body to find the culprit.
How to remove a tick from a dog safely – step by step
Have you spotted one or more ticks on your dog and don’t know how to remove them? Don’t worry! Wear a pair of gloves and calmly follow the steps below:
Total Time: 1 minute
Divide your dog’s hair into sections to reach the tick.
Hold the tick remover close to the tick and push it under it. The edges of the remover should be beneath the tick’s body.
Grasp the tick firmly with the tick remover, and without putting too much pressure, pull it straight out (don’t twist it). Wait until the tick loses its grip on your dog’s skin
Lift the remover and look closely if you have removed the tick completely
Place the tick on a tissue and repeat the process until you remove all the ticks from your dog’s body.
when you are done, dispose of the ticks in rubbing alcohol to kill them effectively. Do not press or rub ticks between your fingers as it can cause infection.
Estimated Cost: 5 USD
- Tick remover
- Plastic bag
4 workable ways to prevent (and remove) ticks on dogs
#1 Tick Removal Tool
Several tick removal tools/tweezers are available in the market. These easy-to-use tools are mostly made up of stainless steel and feel soft against the dog’s skin.
Tip: always carry a tick remover in your bag when you go out for a stroll or on vacations to hilly areas with your dog.
Tick bites are painless, and symptoms may not appear in your dog for even up to 7 to 20 days. So check your dog closely after going to bushy places and remove the ticks as soon as you find them.
#2 Tick Collar
Another savvy trick to prevent ticks on a dog is to use tick collars. These collars are infused with special ingredients that repel ticks and keep them away from your dog. You can take your dog out and let it socialize with other dogs without any hesitation if it has a tick collar on.
#3 Tick Spray
Tick sprays also help in killing ticks and fleas effectively. My personal favorite in this matter is vet’s best flea and tick home and dog spray. It is free of harsh chemicals and instantly wipes out fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, or other bugs off your dog. It can also be applied on home surfaces because it is free of parabens. Made with natural ingredients like neem oil, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus, it is a strong-acting anti-tick spray.
#4 Tick topical treatment
Tip: Do not forget to run a patch test before applying any topical treatment on your dog. Apply the solution to a small area and look for a reaction. If it causes a rash or allergy, contact your vet.
- Best tick and flea medicine for dogs
- Best tick and flea collars for dogs
- How to get rid of fleas on dogs
FAQs about ticks on dogs
What are the side effects and diseases for dogs that ticks can cause?
There is a long list. Some of the many diseases caused by ticks on a dog are Lyme disease, tick fever, eating disorder, anemia, loss of body fluid, dehydration, lethargy, fatigue, skin rashes, gruesome wounds, and even infected holes in dog’s skin.
What does a tick on a dog look like?
The shape and sizes vary, but usually, ticks are small, oval or round, flat, and black-looking insects. If it has recently sat on your dog, it may look small; however, if the tick has already feasted on your dog’s blood, it may increase to the size of a wart or a coffee bean.
What should be my immediate action after finding a tick on my dog or me?
First, do a thorough inspection and check the whole body, especially behind the ears, underarms, skin folds, belly button, groins, between the toes/fingers. Then, remove the ticks with tweezers, take a warm bath, and apply anti-tick lotion.
From where did my dog get ticks, and how?
Ticks live in a muddy and bushy environment like parks, gardens, wooded areas, or even your backyard. They also live on other animals and can transfer to your dog while socializing with them.
Can I tell the difference between Ticks and Skin Tags?
Ticks may look like skin tags, but upon close inspection, you may notice ticks have eight legs that are quite visible. Skin tag feels like a flat and scurfy skin-like surface; ticks, on the other hand, feels like hard and smooth bumps.
What is the thing that kills ticks on dogs instantly?
Oral medications are one of the fastest methods to kill the ticks on a dog. They remain active in the dog’s body for up to one month, which helps in prevention as well, and dosing does not become a hassle. Ask your vet to recommend an effective oral treatment for ticks.
How do I tell if my dog has a tick or scab?
Ticks grow out, unlike scabs that lay flat on the dog’s skin. Scabs do not grow in size, but ticks do after they feed on your dog’s blood. Also, scabs feel rough, whereas ticks are smooth and harder to touch.
Should you take your dog to the vet for a tick?
It depends on how much damage ticks have caused to your dog. If the ticks have been settled in there recently, your vet will only ask you to remove the ticks and apply anti-tick lotion by yourself. However, if there are serious symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, fever, infected wounds, you may need to see the vet immediately.
How painful are ticks?
Most tick bites are painless, which is why dogs do not show visible irritation or symptoms. Ticks are not painful, but they can transfer bacteria that can cause life-threatening illnesses in dogs like tick fever and Lyme diseases.
What happens if I leave a tick in a dog and ignore it?
Ticks thrive on the host’s blood, causing deep wounds, skin infections, Lyme disease, tick fever, fatigue, anemia, and lethargy. They spread quickly and make colonies under a dog’s coat, so if leaving a tick unattended could be life-threatening for your dog.
Do ticks transfer to humans from dogs?
Yes. Dogs can carry ticks from outside and transfer them to your house or even onto you. Tick-borne diseases in humans are common.
How to identify a tick on a dog is one of the most asked questions by dog parents. Unfortunately, ticks are hard to find mainly because their bites are painless initially, and dogs do not show any visible signs of contracting ticks in the beginning.
If you have read this article carefully, you are now aware of what ticks are, their types, how they grow, how to identify a tick on a dog, how to remove and prevent them.
This was exactly my goal- to empower you with the best knowledge and advice one can give.
Thank you for trusting me with your time. Now you can handle ticks successfully, but I am always here to help in case you have further queries.