Ticks can be difficult to spot once they’re buried in your pet’s coat and attached to their skin.
Ticks can transmit infectious diseases, such as Lyme disease, which can cause severe symptoms in dogs (this disease can also affect humans if they are bitten by an infected tick).
One of the biggest dangers posed by the embedded fully ticks on dogs is that there are often no obvious signs to tell. It can stay hidden and silent and transmit disease to your dog without you even knowing it. However, if you know what to check, you can reduce the risk.
How do you realize if your dog has a tick?
Small bumps on the skin
These small, oval arachnids change color and size as they feed. The most common ticks in Canada start out the size of an apple seed. Once they latch onto a host and fill with blood, their body enlarges, becomes engorged and grayish. At this stage, they are much more visible and have a diameter of about 1 cm.
Ticks cling to your dog’s skin and are therefore hidden by his coat. That’s why, once attached, you’re more likely to smell them on your dog before you can see them.
Carefully run your hands over your dog’s body to find any small bump that could be a tick on his skin. Ticks like to settle in specific places, so pay special attention to your dog’s head, neck, groin, legs (especially between the toes), armpits and ears.
You can use a flashlight to get a better look inside your dog’s ear. If you find a tick inside its ear, you should take it to your vet rather than trying to remove it yourself by using a tick remover for cats.
Regularly examine your dog for the presence of ticks, especially after walking through fields and woods where ticks live.
Unlike flea bites, which are very itchy, tick bites often don’t bother dogs. That’s part of the problem. Often dogs do not alert you to the fact that they have been bitten, and during this time the tick is feeding on your dog and possibly transmitting disease to him for several days.
However, some dogs have a reaction to tick bites. There are no undeniable signs, but one can observe red and irritated skin, which can sometimes lead to a skin infection, at the point of attachment. Red skin can also be caused by many other irritants or if your dog scratches or chews excessively. Consult your veterinarian if your dog has red or irritated skin.
Serious symptoms that could indicate your dog has been bitten by a tick?
If you didn’t see the tick, you may not know your dog was bitten. Unfortunately, some ticks can transmit serious diseases to our pets without our knowledge. If this happens, you may notice your dog behaving differently for weeks or even months following a tick bite. These symptoms could indicate that he has been exposed to a tick-borne disease.
Signs your dog might have Lyme disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can cause serious symptoms in dogs. Not all infected dogs show symptoms, and, in fact, most do not. Those who have it, however, can become very ill. Bacteria that cause Lyme disease are transmitted by certain species of ticks found in Canada that can infect dogs and humans.
In recent years, cases of Lyme disease have increased in both dogs and people in Canada. If you walk in places where ticks live, you and your dog are at risk of contracting this serious disease.
Lyme disease in dogs can include the following symptoms:
- loss of appetite
- swollen lymph nodes
Consult your veterinarian without hesitation if your dog shows any of these signs or any other unusual symptoms. Your dog may not show symptoms for weeks or even months following an infected tick. Your veterinarian can perform tests to determine if your dog has the disease and prescribe antibiotic treatment as needed.
Dog Diseases Attributed to Tick Bites
The two most common tick species in Canada are the blacklegged or deer tick, which can transmit Lyme disease, and the American dog tick, which can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever. f you take your dog abroad, he is still at risk of contracting tick-borne diseases, which means that it is important to give him protection against ticks on vacation as well as at home.
What to do if you discover a tick on your dog?
It’s easy to miss ticks, and for this reason, it’s important to be proactive and examine your dog ‘s coat, especially if you’re in an area of the country where ticks are common. If you often walk your dog through wooded areas or wide-open parks, you should examine your dog each time you return.
If you find a tick, you should gently remove it as soon as possible. Prompt removal of the tick reduces the risk of transmission of any disease. Removing a tick can be difficult due to their very sturdy mouthparts. However, with the right tools, removing a tick is relatively simple. If you remove the and are concerned that its mouthparts have detached and are in your dog’s skin, contact your veterinarian as there is a risk of infection at the tick bite site. Use our guide to removing ticks to help you successfully remove the entire tick and reduce the risk of disease or infection.
How you can prevent tick bites on your dog.
The best way to protect your dog from ticks is to use an effective tick preventative treatment.
There are many products on the market, in the form of tablets, topical treatments and sprays, which all target ticks.