How to Spot Tick Bites in Dogs: Symptoms and Recovery

One of the nastiest obstacles of becoming a dog parent is to defend your dog against a tick bite. It is disgusting and worrisome at the same time. Tick bites in dogs give birth to more health concerns not only for your dog but for you and the rest of the family members as well. It is painful and dreadful if you discover tick bites on dogs but rests assured this disease is curable too. 

But what is a tick bite?

If you want to – imagine it as an icky factor. A tick bite transmits the disease in a matter of seconds but the symptoms of tick bite in dogs may not even be prominent after the first two weeks. Ticks are bloodthirsty. They bury themselves deep into your dog’s beautiful fur or coat and easily latches onto the skin. 

The problem?

These are the parasitic arthropods that feed on blood! It can lead to a variety of tick diseases in dogs too.

If left untreated your dog can die a miserable death. You might be a good dog parent finding the perfect dog collar and making doggie treats but what good it will be if you cannot get rid of those blood-drinking ticks?

This article will guide you to learn about tick bites, the symptoms, and how you can prevent such a problem.  

Common Symptoms of Tick Bite in Dogs

Fairly enough, if your dog is bitten by a tick, you can detect it. Some of the most obvious symptoms are mentioned down below. 

1. Bump on Skin

If your dog has its first tick bite, then you may not know how to find one. The easiest part is to look for the small bumps on the skin. 

Small, oval-shaped arachnids (that changes color) and size as they keep feeding on your dog. Once the ticks are latch onto the skin and filled with blood (like a leech) the body of the tick will start getting firmer, bigger, and turns a greyish color. 

The estimated early size of the tick can be around 1cm in diameter. So carefully run your hands on the dog’s fur to feel the bump. Keep the movement slow but firm to feel it. 

You need to pay close attention to the dogs; 

  • Head
  •  Neck
  •  Groin
  •  Feet
  •  Armpits
  •  Ears 

If you want to use a torch too to have a better look. 

2. Skin Rash or Irritation

Do not confuse the tick bite with a flea bite. Both are different. If your dog is bitten by a flea, it will itch and scratch like crazy. 

Tick bites in dogs are harder to find when there’s no bump at all. If such is a case then look out for skin irritation. Some dogs develop skin rash too. It’s a common tell-tale sign i.e. The red and inflamed skin is the sign that a tick exists in the exact spot. 

It can lead to skin infection too. 

3. Lyme Disease in Dogs

Quite a serious bacterial infection in dogs should instantly ring bells – tick bite in dogs!

Lyme disease in dogs is caused by ticks. The bacteria is carried by the ticks and transmitted to the dogs and in most cases humans too. Some of the signs of Lyme disease in dogs can be; 

  • lethargy
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • lameness
  • swollen lymph nodes

Other Tick Diseases in Dogs – How does it Work?

Lyme disease is just one of the most common diseases caused by ticks. When a tick is attached for 24-48 hours it can transmit the disease. Some of the diseases are transferable within matters of hours. 

If you find any of the following tick diseases in dogs, seek immediate help.

1. Ehrlichiosis

Another common tick disease that can lead to multisystemic complications too. The ticks that cause Ehrlichiosis are brown in color. It is also commonly found in deer. 

Some of the clinical signs of these diseases will vary according to the dog breed. But some of them can be; 

Lethargy 

Anorexia 

Bleeding disorders 

Stiffness in joints 

Fever 

Breathing difficulty and so on

Use of antibiotics is a common way of treatment, besides which a supportive therapy may be also required. There’s no vaccine for this disease so be super careful. 

2. Anaplasmosis

This disease infects the white blood cells and infect a dog’s platelets. Anaplasmosis can also infect humans. Usually most dog breeds show less to none symptoms of tick bites in dog but do keep an out for 

  • Fever
  • Stiffness
  • Bleeding disorders 
  • Ocular changes 
  • Vomiting 
  • Neurologic signs 
  • Enlarged lymph nodes 

Anaplasmosis is treated with the help of antibiotics. It’s best to treat dogs early in this condition. You can use tick preventative to avoid your dog from being reinfected. 

3. Bartonellosis

Consider this version more as a cat scratch fever. The specific bacteria that transmits the disease is yet to be identified in the dog. Although ticks are suspected to be the main root cause too. Some of the common symptoms of Bartonellosis includes; 

  • Ocular changes
  • Lameness
  • Enlarged lymph nodes 
  • Neurologic changes 

Usually antibiotics (or a combination of antibiotics) are vital for at least a month. With a good prognosis it can be treated timely. But also make sure to keep yourself healthy and calm during this ordeal. 

4. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Another tick disease in dogs caused by the bacterium. He American dog tick and brown tick, both are the main carriers of this disease. Being an acute disease, it lasts for at least 2 weeks.

  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cough
  • Bleeding disorders, anemia
  • Neurologic signs
  • Arrhythmias

If your dog is suffering from RMSF, they might require hospitalization due to the antibiotic therapy and supportive care they need. 

Is Tick Fever in Dogs Fatal?

If your puppy is bitten by the Rocky Mountain wood tick or a brown dog tick, they will develop a tick fever in 10 hours. As a dog parent you are also susceptible to the tick fever. It is not as contagious as other diseases but it is easy to spread from one dog to another. 

The symptoms sometimes do not show up to 14 days. When it starts to show some of the common symptoms of tick fever in dogs can include; 

  • Fever as high as 105℉
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Inflammation in joints 
  • Facial or limb swelling 
  • Coughing
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Breath problems 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea 
  • Enlarged lymph nodes 
  • Impaired balance 
  • Painful spinal sensitivity 
  • Altered mental state 

Most of the symptoms can be found in any of the tick diseases in dogs as mentioned above, but you need to visit a vet if the condition of your dog amplifies.

Dog Tick Fever Recovery Time – Treatment and Prognosis

If you take your dog to the vet on time, it will save tons of energy and worry on your part. The vet may prescribe a round of antibiotics. You may also need to conduct blood tests. However the treatment can begin even before the blood test results arrive. 

Dog tick fever recover time begins within 24-48 hours i.e. if dogs respond to the antibiotic treatment within the said time frame. 

In a rare case, vets even suggest blood transfusion to treat anemia. 

If the tick fever in dogs is diagnosed early, it means your puppy will recover soon with minor or none complications. 

The best part is a lifelong immunity will occur once your dog recovers from this parasitic disease. 

How to Control Tick Bites in Dogs?

Preventing tick fever or tick bites means you need to control the ticks. You can use the year round prevention medications and sprays as prescribed by the vet. 

The swiftest ways to remove the tick from your dog’s skin is to remove them with tweezers, and do not forget to wear gloves!!! Or you can always buy handy tick removal devices from the vet.

Let’s have a look at the best available recommeded and tested products!

Also, avoid touching ticks. The fluids and excretions can spread an infection to you as well.

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Summra is a dog enthusiast fully committed to helping train fellow dog owners. She enlightens them to solve their furry friend’s behavioral issues and to focus on the dog’s needs in optimistic ways.