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Ticks on Dogs

Ticks are ectoparasites that feed on the blood of all mammals and birds, and that is why you can often find them on your dog. They are seasonally active, which means they prefer more moderate temperatures and higher levels of humidity, but due to climate change and global temperature rise, ticks are active in almost all seasons.

In addition to biting your dog, the tick can also transmit microorganisms that will cause illness in the dog. In this article, you can find more information about ticks and their activity, how ticks and tick-borne diseases can affect your dog, and finally – how to prevent them in dogs and how to deal with them effectively.

Tick Season

Attention tick seasonTicks are most active in spring, early summer, and in fall. Tick activity is decreased during the winter, when it’s snowy and when temperatures are below 32 F, and in the summer when temperatures are high and when there is no humidity in the air.

As ticks do not fly or jump on the host, their way of getting on the dog is that they wait on grass or trees in ambush. They move slowly and easily, and most often climb a plant or grass up to three feet high. There they wait, and when the dog rubs itself on a plant or a tree, a tick falls on the body and seeks a suitable position where the skin is thinnest so they can attach and feed.

Studies have shown that there is a significant impact of climate change on ticks and tick-borne diseases, and as a result, ticks are more active in all seasons and can be seen more often in places where they didn’t exist before.1“Ticking Bomb”: The Impact of Climate Change on the Incidence of Lyme Disease Igor Dumic 1,2 and Edson Severnini 3

Where Do Ticks Live?

Ticks on pine

Ticks are obligate blood-feeding ectoparasites, which means they must have a host to feed themselves in order to survive, live, and develop. This doesn’t mean they live only when they are attached to dogs; that is a big misconception. They feed periodically, taking large blood meals when attached, and often spend a longer time off the host, resting while they find another one.

In periods when the conditions are unfavorable, ticks enter diapause, which is the time when they suppress themselves from host-seeking, and they wait for a more favorable period. As previously mentioned, ticks inhabit places where they can find the host and where the conditions are favorable. They can be found everywhere, from parks to fields, but we can mostly find them in humid places, close to a lake or river, in forest areas, or in all places where mice and other small rodents can be found.

Like many other species, ticks have adapted to the new conditions due to climate change and the destruction of their natural habitats, so today, we can find them in increasing numbers in cities, walkways, children and dog parks.

Just as ticks are not easy to spot in nature, they are not easy to spot on a dog. Ticks are harder to find on dogs that have a darker color and long hair, rather than on light-colored or white and short-haired dogs.

Tick in dog's mouth

Once it comes to the dog, the tick will not immediately attach itself to the skin. First, it will look for a suitable place for itself, and that’s a place where it will not be easy to notice but also a place where the skin is thin. They are most often hidden behind the ears or even in the ear itself and around the mouth, the eyes or eyelids, and I personally had a case where I found a tick in the gingiva behind the teeth and even on the tongue of a dog. More often they can be found between the toes, around the shoulders, armpits or inside the upper part of the front and back legs.

Tick Bite on Dog – What Does It Look Like?

Tick bite on dogAfter reaching a suitable place on a dog, the tick penetrates the skin with the front part of the body. Due to the substances in its saliva that have an anesthetic effect on the skin, a tick’s sting is in most cases not painful, and dogs do not feel it and show no signs of having a tick on them. After feeding on the dog as much as it needs, the tick separates from the skin and falls to the ground, leaving a red spot on the skin. As this place is quite small, the owners often do not notice it, especially on dogs that have a darker coat color, while on white dogs, it is easier to notice the trace of a tick bite.

There are several types and sizes of ticks, and the smaller the shape of the tick, the harder it is to notice and the owners often mistake it for mites. Here’s how each of these types differs and on which parts of the dog’s body we can most often find them.

Brown Dog Tick

Tick on the dogBrown dog tick (Rhipicephalus Sanguineus), native to Africa, is widespread throughout the USA and prefers higher temperatures. Its color varies from reddish to blackish brown and it varies in size, but can grow up to 0.5 inches. A brown dog tick transmits many pathogens that cause diseases in dogs and other animals. This type of tick usually attaches to the area around a dog’s ears, between the toes and the neck area.

Diseases that this species can cause in dogs include the following:

  • Ehrlichiosis caused by Ehrlichia canis
  • Babesiosis caused by Babesia canis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever caused by Rickettsia rickettsii (in the southwestern U.S. and along the U.S.-Mexico border)

You can find out more about each of these diseases in the section “Dog Tick Diseases“.

Lone Star Tick

Lone star tickLone star tick (Amblyomma Americanum) is named after the fact that it is reddish-brown in color and has a specific white dot “lone star” in the middle of the body. This species grows up to 0.4 inches. Most often we can find them on a dog’s head, precisely around the ears and sometimes on the stomach. These ticks are most widespread in the central and eastern parts of the USA.

They are vectors of these diseases in dogs:

  • Ehrlichiosis caused by Ehrlichia ewingii
  • Tularemia caused by Francisella tularensis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever caused by Rickettsia rickettsii

You can find out more about each of these diseases in the section “Dog Tick Diseases“.

American Dog Tick

Dog tickAmerican dog tick (Dermacentor Variabilis) is also known as “wood tick” because it can most often be found in wooded areas. Hosts for these ticks are almost all domestic and wild mammals. They can grow in size up to 0.6 inches, and their color varies from light brown to gray. They are quite active in the forest areas of the USA that are located east of the Rocky Mountains.

American dog ticks come to the dog by falling from trees or plants, and unlike other species, they don’t have preferred places on the dog’s body where they crawl, so they can be found on any part of the dog’s body, and they can stay on the dog from several hours to several days, depending on how much food they need and whether they are well hidden on the dog’s body.

Diseases transmitted by these ticks in dogs include the following:

  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever caused by Rickettsia rickettsii
  • Tick paralysis
  • Tularemia caused by Francisella tularensis

You can find out more about each of these diseases in the section “Dog Tick Diseases“.

Black-legged Tick or Deer Tick

Black legged tickBlack-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) is known as deer tick because its most common hosts are deer, but they can be found on all mammals and birds, and therefore on dogs and humans. This tick is specific because it requires certain conditions for feeding activity, namely mild temperature and high humidity. These are reasons why these ticks are active mostly in spring and fall and in areas where deciduous forest prevails, with streams, rivers and lakes.

The bite of this tick is quite painful, and it transmits pathogens that cause the following diseases:

  • Lyme disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi
  • Tularemia caused by Francisella tularensis
  • Human babesiosis and human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA)

You can find out more about each of these diseases in the section “Dog Tick Diseases.”

Deer Tick vs Dog Tick

Deer tick vs dog tickThese two tick species are often mistaken, because they both are spread over North America and often can be found in the same habitat, but differ in size and color. A deer tick (Ixodes scapularis) is smaller than a brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus Sanguineus) and has darker colored legs. A brown dog tick has the same brownish color all over the body and legs.

Also, deer ticks’ primary hosts are deers, but they can transmit Lyme disease and Tularemia to dogs, while a brown dog tick’s primary hosts are dogs and they can transmit Ehrlichiosis Babesiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever to them.

Either of these two species can transmit tick-borne diseases to a dog, so if you find a tick on your dog, it’s important to keep it for the vet, who will determine which type of tick it is, and be sure to observe your pet. If you notice any unusual symptoms, inform your veterinarian.

Tick Bite Symptoms in Dogs

Each type of tick and its bite can have a different effect on a dog and cause local redness and hypersensitivity. The most important thing to remember is that when biting and feeding on the host’s blood, the tick puts pathogens in the dog’s body that can be dangerous for some dogs, even when treated on time, especially for puppies, older dogs and dogs with chronic diseases. The symptoms of a tick bite depend on which pathogen the tick is transmitting, and they vary from disease to disease.

In some cases, when the tick bites, the saliva toxins can affect the dog negatively and cause tick paralysis. In this case, a tick’s saliva toxins attack a dog’s nervous system, and in a few days, different symptoms may occur.

The symptoms of tick paralysis are the following:

  • Hind leg paralysis or problems with standing or moving
  • Coughing, change of voice when barking or total loss of voice
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Collapse

Ticks can transmit various diseases through bites, and you can learn more about them and the symptoms for each of them below.

Dog Tick Diseases

Ticks are carriers of bacteria and protozoans that cause various diseases. When feeding, they inject the pathogens into the dog’s blood, and the symptoms of the disease usually do not appear immediately but a few days after the pathogen multiplies in the body.

Diseases that ticks can cause in a dog are:

  • Tick paralysis
  • Hepatozoonosis
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Babesiosis
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Lyme disease

If tick-borne diseases are diagnosed and adequately treated, dogs recover quickly. Some diseases can have fatal outcomes if not noticed in time, such as babesia, which destroys red blood cells that carry oxygen and reduces its concentration in tissues and vital organs (hypoxia).

Lyme Disease in Dogs

Estimated distribution of black legged deer

Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which infected ticks transmit to dogs. In addition to pets, this disease can also affect people and cause serious health problems. This disease is increasing due to the fact that animals and ticks are migrating because they have less natural habitat and also because the climate changes make ticks more active due to rising temperatures.

Namely, the tick that carries this bacterium is the deer tick or black-legged tick. Its habitat is wooded areas, mostly in Northeastern, Mid‐Atlantic, and upper Midwestern states and it is active in every season when the temperature exceeds 40°F, most often in spring and fall. 2ACVIM consensus update on Lyme borreliosis in dogs and cats, Meryl P. Littman, corresponding author Bernhard Gerber, Richard E. Goldstein, Mary Anna Labato, Michael R. Lappin, and George E. Moore

During feeding on the dog’s blood, the bacteria enter the blood, then multiplies and spreads throughout the dog’s body. If the tick has already fed on the dog’s blood, the bacteria are already in the body, so even if we remove the tick from the dog, it’s necessary to do tests to confirm the presence of disease.

If a dog has Lyme disease, these are the two most common forms:

  • Lyme arthritis
  • Lyme nephritis

The symptoms of Lyme disease are:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Painful or swollen joints
  • Lameness
  • Lethargy

Very often, dogs have this disease without symptoms, but as the disease affects each dog differently, in some cases there is serious damage to the heart, nervous system, and kidneys. If symptoms are noticed in time, the disease is treated with antibiotics and it usually has a successful outcome. Antiparasitic protection is best for the prevention of ticks carrying bacteria that cause this disease. There are currently vaccines in the USA, and if you live in areas where this disease is common, you can ask your veterinarian about the vaccine. For more information on the treatment and prevention of this disease, see “Lyme Disease in Dogs“.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF) in Dogs

This is an acute disease caused by the bacterium Rickettsia rickettsii, transmitted by Rocky Mountain wood tick, American dog tick, lone star tick, and brown dog tick. This disease is present in all parts of the USA, especially in the eastern and southern parts.

After biting, a tick transmits a bacterium that spreads further through the blood and multiplies in the dog’s body. The organism detects the bacterium, and the dog develops an increased body temperature (usually above 103.1°F). Post infestation with the bacterium and raised body temperature last approximately three to nine days. 3Clinical Presentation, Convalescence, and Relapse of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs Experimentally Infected via Tick Bite
Michael L. Levin , Lindsay F. Killmaster, Galina E. Zemtsova, Jana M. Ritter, and Gregory Langham J. Stephen Dumler, Editor

Other symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever are:

  • Rash (small red spots that can be seen on the skin, inside the ears, gingiva of the teeth)
  • Small spotted bleeding on the eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors and muscle weakness

The veterinarian diagnoses this disease based on symptoms, clinical examination, and serological blood tests, and after establishing the correct diagnosis, performs the treatment. The drug of choice for this disease is doxycycline, with additional supportive therapy that can help the dog regain energy and lost fluid if he vomited.

RMSF is usually successfully cured, but in some severe cases, due to a large number of bacteria, a violent reaction of the organism, and irreversible damage of cells and blood vessels, it can be fatal.

This disease is a zoonosis, which means that people can also get this disease trough tick bites. There are no known cases of transmission of the disease from a dog to a human or from a human to a human, so the best way is to prevent and protect your pet and yourself from ticks.

Anaplasmosis in Dogs

This disease is caused by Anaplasma phagocytophilum, a bacterium that is transmitted to dogs by tick bites, mostly the deer or black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). After a tick bite, bacteria enter a dog’s bloodstream, it spreads throughout the body and causes illness.

Anaplasmosis is manifested by the following symptoms:

  • Lack of appetite
  • High body temperature
  • Appetite reduction
  • Lethargy and decreased dog activity

Anaplasmosis in dogsThe diagnosis of this disease is made by clinical examination, based on symptoms and blood tests for thrombocytopenia and anemia, and by finding anaplasma by ELISA or other tests available. After the diagnosis, the most common drug of choice used in this case is doxycycline, and it is recommended to give supportive symptomatic therapy, especially for more severe anemia.

As for the prognosis and cure of this disease, it can be said that it is positive. During one study of this disease done on 63 dogs, 59 (97%) recovered and two dogs were lost. 4Granulocytic anaplasmosis in 63 dogs: clinical signs, laboratory results, therapy and course of disease A Chirek, C Silaghi, K Pfister, B Kohn It can be concluded that with timely diagnosis and adequate therapy and care, the treatment can end in a positive outcome.

People can also get this disease by getting bitten by an infected tick. The route of transmission from human to human and from dog to human is still not documented, so if your dog has this disease, you don’t have to worry about transmitting it to you; the only mode of transmission occurs if your pet brings a tick into the house and the ticks bite you too.

Babesiosis in Dogs

Babesiosis is a disease that can affect many animals and humans. The most common species that cause this disease in dogs are Babesia canis vogeli and Babesia gibsoni, which enter the blood through tick bites. Babesia multiplies in red blood cells called erythrocytes and leads to its destruction, and as a result, dogs have very bad blood count and anemia. The most common carrier of Babesia is the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus).

Anemia in dogs is manifested clinically by a very pale color on the gingiva and with blood tests. Apart from these, here are some of the symptoms of Babesiosis in dogs:

  • High body temperature
  • Lack of appetite
  • The dog is moody and less active
  • Appearance of dark-colored urine
  • Vomiting

The diagnosis is made by a veterinarian based on a clinical examination, symptoms, blood test, and blood smear. Once Babesia is found to be present in the blood, veterinarians provide adequate therapy, which consists of targeted therapy and supportive therapy. Imidocarb dipropionate is used as the drug of choice.

Supportive treatment consists of restoring much-needed tissue oxygenation by correction of the blood anemia, rehydration, and restoration of electrolyte balance. This is achieved by blood transfusion, giving intravenous fluid, and keeping the dog warm. Despite adequate therapy, if not noticed in time, Babesiosis can have a different effect on each dog, especially in older dogs, as well as in dogs that often fail to cope with this disease.

To prevent this disease, the most important thing is to protect the dog from ticks with antiparasitic treatments.

Babesia is a disease that can also be acquired in humans. In humans, it is caused by a different type of Babesia than in dogs. Dogs cannot transmit this disease to humans; they can only carry ticks that can pass from the dog to a human.

Ehrlichiosis in Dogs

Ehrlichiosis is a disease caused by Rickettsia, a microorganism similar to a bacterium. This disease is transmitted by a tick carrying a causative agent biting a dog and infecting it. In addition to the most common E. canis, dogs can also be infected with E. chaffeensis, E. ewingii, and with E. ristiicii.5Consensus Statement on Ehrlichial Disease of Small Animals from the Infectious Disease Study Group of the ACVIM * T. Mark Neer Edward B. Breitschwerdt Russell T. Greene Michael R. Lappin

After a dog becomes infected, Ehrlichia spreads throughout the body, causing multisystem disorders, which are most often manifested by these symptoms:

  • Lethargy and reluctance
  • Lameness
  • Decrease of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Bleeding, spotted on mucous membranes and skin
  • Nose bleeds

In addition to these symptoms, disorders in the form of polyarthritis, nervous system disorders and seizures can also occur.

The diagnosis of Ehrlichiosis is made based on the clinical picture of the dog, symptoms and blood tests, and ELISA and IFA tests that can confirm if the cause of the disease is present in the blood. Once the diagnosis is established, vets can start with the treatment. Supportive therapy often involves blood transfusions and fluid therapy. The drug of choice is mainly doxycycline and minocycline.

In dogs with acute or mild chronic disease, big clinical improvement generally occurs within 24–48 hours after the initiation of tetracycline therapy.6Consensus Statement on Ehrlichial Disease of Small Animals from the Infectious Disease Study Group of the ACVIM * T. Mark Neer, Edward B. Breitschwerdt, Russell T. Greene, and Michael R. Lappin

The best prevention is to protect your dog from ticks using ectoparasitic treatments. There are different types of treatments such as collars, topical and oral treatments, and your veterinarian can advise you on how to choose the best option for your dog.

People can also get this disease from the bite of ticks that infect them. The effects of transmission from dog to human are not known.

Hepatozoonosis in Dogs

American canine hepatozoonosis (ACH) is a disease most prevalent in the southeastern and south-central United States. Hepatozoon canis and H. americanum are microorganisms that cause this disease, and the tick known to transmit them is the Gulf Coast tick.

The symptoms of hepatozoonosis in dogs are:

  • High body temperature
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle pain

Dog temperature check The diagnosis of hepatozoonosis is based on examination, symptoms and additional analyses. The most common are blood tests that show neutrophilia, leukocytosis (high white blood cell count), and a decrease in serum protein and albumin levels.

Once the disease is diagnosed, it’s possible to start therapy, which in this case varies depending on the cause. H. americanum cannot be completely eliminated from the body, but is kept under control by drugs, and therapy consists of a combination of trimethoprim-sulfadiazine, clindamycin, and pyrimethamine administered daily for approximately two weeks. After this combination, decoquinate, an effective anticoccidial drug, is given to ill dogs for years. Unfortunately, if the protocol is not strictly adhered to, relapse is likely to occur in the short term.7American Canine Hepatozoonosis S. A. Ewing * and R. J. Panciera
As for managing H. canis, imidocarb has shown very good effects.

How to Remove a Tick from a Dog?

When a tick ends up on a dog, it attaches to his skin creating a small lesion and thus transmitting microorganisms into the dog’s bloodstream. It’s very important to remove the tick as soon as possible, preferably within 24 to 36 hours.

According to research, the dog is more likely to be infected if the tick spends more than 24 hours on the skin. The researchers concluded that the timely removal of the tick is important and should be promoted more loudly.8Small risk of developing symptomatic tick-borne diseases following a tick bite in the Netherlands Ellen Tijsse-Klasen, 1 Jac J Jacobs, 4 Arno Swart, 1 Manoj Fonville, 1 Johan H Reimerink, 2 Afke H Brandenburg, corresponding author5 Joke WB van der Giessen, 1 Agnetha Hofhuis, 3 and Hein Sprongcorresponding author1

If you find a tick that walks on a dog and is not attached yet, you only need to take it off and remove it from the space where you live, because it can return to the dog or the person. If the tick is already attached to the dog’s skin, there are various specialized small devices that help to separate the tick from the dog as easily as possible.

If you don’t have such aids, tweezers can be very useful. When using tweezers, you need to grab as large a surface of the tick as possible and pull it lightly towards you. If a small part of the tick or its leg remains in the skin, don’t worry; the dog’s body will reject it and it will fall out of the skin itself. The place where the tick has been removed will be slightly reddish and if you have a disinfectant or alcohol, you can clean that area.

Due to climate change and the fact that dogs with tick-borne diseases are present more and more through all of the year, as a veterinarian, I advise owners to always protect their dogs from ticks because it’s always better to prevent these diseases

Tick ​​Prevention and Treatment for Dogs

Tick ​​activity depends on several factors, primarily on the temperature and humidity that must be suitable for them to move and feed. The presence of potential hosts is very important for them as well, because without bloody meals, they cannot develop. When choosing tick prevention, owners often rely on ticks’ seasonal activity and protect their dogs only in spring and fall, but the fact is that as soon as the temperature exceeds 40°F, ticks become active. So, it is always better to take advice from a veterinarian if there are any doubts.

In order to prevent the appearance of ticks on dogs, and thus the diseases they transmit, various products can be used. Protection against ticks can be found in the form of oral treatments (pills and chews) and spot-on and collars. You can shop these products online, in pet-shops, or at your vet.

Tick Pills for Dogs (Medicine)

In the prevention of ticks, products that act on both ticks and fleas are mainly used. Various forms of ectoparasitic prevention are used to prevent both ticks and fleas. Oral forms work in such a way that when dogs eat them, they are ingested into the body and the active substance is very quickly found in the bloodstream, and when taken by ticks or fleas, it has a destructive effect on them.

Nowadays, chewables have pushed out the pill form of oral ectoparasitic prevention because they are much easier to use. Chews unlike pills are made tasty and fun so dogs like to eat them as treats.

Chewables Flea and Tick for Dogs

When giving oral treatments for protection, chews are always a better choice because they are easier to give to the dog. They are often made with different flavors, and the dog likes to eat them. Chews that act as a prevention against fleas and ticks enter the bloodstream quickly and when the tick bite, it gets destroyed. Active substances of most of these chews are antiparasitics, which affect both fleas and ticks. Some of them are:

  • Afoxolaner is an acaricide and insecticide, which means that it acts on both ticks and fleas; it has a destructive effect on their nervous system and is FDA approved. Although rare, some of the side effects may be vomiting, diarrhea, and poor appetite. If you notice any of them after giving the preparation to the dog, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Sarolaner is an ectoparasitic that has a destructive effect on the nervous system of ticks and fleas. It has a fast action, which means that it will show its effect in a short period of time after taking it. This ectoparasitic is FDA approved. Side effects of sarolaner as well as other oral ectoparasites are rare and may include vomiting and lethargy. If you notice these symptoms after your dog has consumed the ectoparasite, be sure to contact your veterinarian.
  • Fluralaner is an ectoparasitic that acts on both ticks and fleas and is found on the market in the form of chews. It works by absorbing itself very quickly in the dog’s bloodstream; when ectoparasites come to feed on the blood, they are exposed to a fluralaner, which destroys them. This medicine is FDA approved, which means that it is safe to use, and side effects are very rare. If you notice symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or lethargy in your dog after administration, contact your veterinarian.

Topical Treatments for Tick Prevention

Topical treatment for dogs

Topical treatments against ectoparasites contain active substances that spread to the skin after application and are absorbed by the oil glands, which are then gradually released through the hair follicle so they can repel parasites for a longer period. The active substances spot-ons contain are usually some of the following, or more in combination:

  • Imidacloprid
  • Permethrin
  • Fipronil
  • (S) -methoprene
  • Selamectin

The spot-on is placed on the dog by removing the collar. The hair is spread high on the neck and all the amount intended for the weight of your dog is applied directly to the skin at once. It’s recommended to apply on the neck of the dog so that he does not lick the preparation. In order for the spot-on to spread evenly, it’s necessary to leave it for 24 hours, without bathing the dog, touching the place or putting on a collar.

If, on the other hand, your dog licks the spot-on topical treatment, which often happens if spot-on is not properly applied, the dog can have increased saliva production for a few hours. If your dog experiences increased saliva production for a longer period and symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea are present, it is recommended that you contact your veterinarian.

These products usually protect the dog for a month. After that, it’s necessary to reapply the product, but that depends on the manufacturer and the concentration of the active substance, so you get this information with instructions from the manufacturer.

Tick Collar for Dogs

Tick collars for dogs are specially made collars that contain chemicals that have a repellent effect on ticks. These substances are most often:

  • Imidacloprid
  • Flumethrin

These substances have a destructive effect on the nervous system of ectoparasites and they repel them. Collars containing these or similar repellents are very easy to use; the owner’s task is to put them on the dog’s neck and they start working immediately. The collar can be effective for several months but it usually depends on the manufacturer.

Natural tick collars for dogs can also be found on the market. They most often contain natural tick repellents such as spearmint oil, citronella oil, rosemary and clove oil. Many owners who prefer natural products have positive experiences and recommend this type of protection as well.

When shopping, you should always pay attention to the size and the age of the dog, because some collars are not recommended for puppies. If you have any doubts, it is always better to consult a veterinarian about the form of protection to take for your dog.

Natural Tick Repellent for Dogs

There are currently many natural preparations on the market such as sprays, powders and shampoos that contain essential oils and substances that can repel ectoparasites. Also, preparations like eucalyptus oil, apple cider vinegar, and lavender oil are used by many owners to repel ticks, but as a veterinarian, I always recommend protection like spot-on, collars and chews as they have proven to be safe and effective in fighting ticks, while natural repellents are never completely safe.

Also with natural remedies, you must always be careful because if the dog licks the essential oils that you put on him, they can irritate the intestines and diarrhea and vomiting can occur. It is always recommended that you consult your veterinarian before using natural remedies on your own.

When It’s Time to See a Vet?

It’s recommended to visit a veterinarian if you notice the following symptoms:

  • High body temperature
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Weight loss
  • Muscle pain
  • Bleeding, spotted bleeding on mucous membranes and skin
  • Decreased appetite
  • The appearance of dark-colored urine
  • Vomiting

The veterinarian will perform a clinical examination and the necessary blood tests to determine if the dog has a tick-borne disease and determine adequate therapy.


Ticks are strongly associated with dogs because they need dogs to feed, develop and breed, and as a veterinarian, I always draw the owners’ attention to this topic. Ticks are not just ectoparasites that bite a dog; they feed on its blood and are carriers of various microorganisms that cause dog diseases. These diseases can cause serious problems and systemic disorders in a dog and can be fatal. Therefore, prevention plays a very important role in the fight against ticks. I always advise owners to protect their dogs from ticks with spot-ons, collars, or antiparasitic chewable tablets, as it’s always better to prevent than to treat. Get effective prevention as soon as possible and if you notice a tick on your dog, you can try to remove it by yourself or visit your vet. If your dog has a high body temperature or has some of these symptoms, you need to take him dog to a vet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Ticks on Dogs

How to Get a Tick off a Dog?

You can remove ticks from your dog with tweezers, but it’s better to use a tick remover that is often used by veterinarians. If you don’t have this helpful small device, you can also use ordinary tweezers. It’s important to grab the whole tick, turn it slightly and pull it towards you. If there is a piece left, the dog’s body will reject it, and you can disinfect the place with alcohol.

What Does a Tick Bite Look Like on a Dog?

A tick bite on a dog looks like a small red dot. Often the surrounding tissue is not inflamed, and that red dot quickly disappears after the tick detaches itself from the dog’s skin or is removed by the owner or a veterinarian.

How to Remove a Tick from a Dog with Vaseline?

The effectiveness of Vaseline in removing ticks is more of a myth than a truth. Vaseline will not help you remove ticks from the dog. If you do not know how to do it yourself, it’s better to avoid usage of Vaseline and similar products and to take the dog to the vet to remove the tick.

Which Dog Tick Control Is Best?

It depends on the dog, his age, size and whether the dog lives in an area specific to tick habitats. It’s best to safely use proven preparations that act on ectoparasites such as chews, necklaces, and spot-ons, rather than some natural remedies because they are often not very effective. To learn more about how you can protect your dog from ticks, visit 'Tick Prevention and Treatment for Dogs.'

How Do Dogs Get Ticks?

While walking through the grass, fields, woods, or if a tick passes on a dog from another animal.

How to Remove a Tick From a Dog with Alcohol?

Alcohol can destroy the tick, but it cannot remove it from your dog, and this is often a big misunderstanding for owners who try to get the tick off the skin by soaking the tick with alcohol. To learn how to effectively remove a tick from a dog, check the 'How to Remove a Tick from a Dog?' section.


1 “Ticking Bomb”: The Impact of Climate Change on the Incidence of Lyme Disease Igor Dumic 1,2 and Edson Severnini 3
2 ACVIM consensus update on Lyme borreliosis in dogs and cats, Meryl P. Littman, corresponding author Bernhard Gerber, Richard E. Goldstein, Mary Anna Labato, Michael R. Lappin, and George E. Moore
3 Clinical Presentation, Convalescence, and Relapse of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Dogs Experimentally Infected via Tick Bite
Michael L. Levin , Lindsay F. Killmaster, Galina E. Zemtsova, Jana M. Ritter, and Gregory Langham J. Stephen Dumler, Editor
4 Granulocytic anaplasmosis in 63 dogs: clinical signs, laboratory results, therapy and course of disease A Chirek, C Silaghi, K Pfister, B Kohn
5 Consensus Statement on Ehrlichial Disease of Small Animals from the Infectious Disease Study Group of the ACVIM * T. Mark Neer Edward B. Breitschwerdt Russell T. Greene Michael R. Lappin
6 Consensus Statement on Ehrlichial Disease of Small Animals from the Infectious Disease Study Group of the ACVIM * T. Mark Neer, Edward B. Breitschwerdt, Russell T. Greene, and Michael R. Lappin
7 American Canine Hepatozoonosis S. A. Ewing * and R. J. Panciera
8 Small risk of developing symptomatic tick-borne diseases following a tick bite in the Netherlands Ellen Tijsse-Klasen, 1 Jac J Jacobs, 4 Arno Swart, 1 Manoj Fonville, 1 Johan H Reimerink, 2 Afke H Brandenburg, corresponding author5 Joke WB van der Giessen, 1 Agnetha Hofhuis, 3 and Hein Sprongcorresponding author1
Dr. Anida Dinarevic (DVM)
Dr. Anida Dinarevic (DVM)
Dr. Anida Dinarevic is working in a dog shelter “Animal Care” in Mostar, specialized for small animals. She has successfully completed several seminars and internships at prestigious colleges in Vienna and Istanbul. Currently, she is supporting a stray dog neutering project. She is the mom of the 6-years old Maltese ”Bully”.

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