Information on Ticks for Dog Owners

Young man taking care of a dog

Ticks are parasitic insects that stick to their hosts and feed on their blood. There are at least eight kinds of ticks that feed on dogs in North America. Humans can be afflicted by the same ticks.

Ticks are becoming more common. The Companion Animal Parasite Council predicted in 2021 that tick regions would grow and tick-borne illnesses would become a greater concern to pets. This growth will be aided by warmer temperatures and longer seasons for tick reproduction.

As a dog owner, here’s what you need to know about ticks:

  • 01 of 05

    Ticks Carry Disease

    attached tick

    Ticks are known to carry a number of illnesses that can be deadly. Although not all ticks spread disease, the risk is substantial. Loss of appetite and lethargy are common signs of tick-borne infections, but some can also cause lameness, enlarged lymph nodes, and joint swelling.

    Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other tick-borne infections are also common. Tick bites can result in skin wounds, which can lead to bacterial infection, anemia, and even temporary paralysis.

  • 02 of 05

    Ticks Are Experts at Finding Hosts

    Ticks are programmed to detect movement, body heat, and CO2 (which is exhaled by animals). They lurk among thick grasses, shrubs, and other similar habitats, waiting for a suitable host. This is when people get on board. The tick attaches its mouth parts on the host once it has arrived. The tick consumes the blood of the host until it gets engorged. Dangerous germs can enter the bloodstream of the host at this time.

  • 03 of 05

    Ticks Don't Just Live in the Woods

    Ticks prefer to lurk in long grass or bushes until they find a host. Ticks can be found in woodland environments, although this is not their sole home. Even in metropolitan areas, ticks may dwell in your backyard. Ticks can be reduced by keeping grass short and plants neatly manicured, but there is no assurance. As a precaution, check your dog for ticks on a regular basis.

    Also keep in mind that certain ticks may accompany your dog inside your home and then leap onto you or another pet if they have not yet connected. Unroll your pants cuffs and shake them out before entering the home if you've been in an area where ticks could be lurking. Just in case, check yourself and your children (human and non-human) for ticks.

  • 04 of 05

    If you know how to do it correctly, removing a tick is not difficult. If possible, put on gloves first. Tweezers or a tick-removal instrument should be used. Place the tweezer tip or instrument near the tick's mouth where it contacts the skin. Pull the tick out completely. If you compress the tick's body, you risk infecting your dog with disease-causing germs. Tricks like lighting a flame to the tick or smothering it with petroleum jelly are ineffective and sometimes harmful. If the head remains in the skin, carefully remove it with tweezers or let it work its way out on its own. For the following few days, keep an eye on the region. If you observe considerable discomfort or symptoms of infection, contact your veterinarian.

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  • 05 of 05

    The best approach to keep your dog safe from ticks is to keep them away from him in the first place. Tick prevention solutions are available in a variety of strengths to keep your dog safe (many also prevent fleas). Consult your veterinarian for the appropriate product for your dog. But keep in mind that none of them are 100 percent successful. Even if you reside in or go to an area where ticks are common, you should inspect your dog on a regular basis. Ticks should be removed before (or shortly after) they attach to help avoid illness.

If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.


"Companion Animal Parasite Council Releases Annual 2021 Pet Parasite Forecast. Companion Animal Parasite Council. ", "Lyme Disease. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.", "Ticks of Dogs. Merck Veterinary Manual.", "Ticks: How to Avoid and Remove. University of Michigan Health. " ;