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Understanding Tick Diseases in Dogs

Ticks can be found almost anywhere and during any season – which means they can transmit a variety of diseases to your dog year-round. Learn which diseases ticks carry and how to recognize the signs and symptoms in your dog. By knowing the signs of tick-borne diseases in dogs, you can seek treatment sooner if you suspect your dog is suffering the adverse effects of a tick bite.

Which Diseases Do Ticks Spread?

Just one bite from the wrong tick can infect your dog with a variety of diseases, including:

  • Lyme disease
  • Babesia
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Ehrlichiosis
  • Tick paralysis
  • Anaplasmosis

Symptoms of tick diseases in dogs

If your dog has been infected with a tick-borne disease, you might notice the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Lameness
  • Swollen joints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Respiratory distress
  • Swollen legs
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Vomiting
  • Red spots on gums

Any tick-transmitted disease requires a veterinarian’s diagnosis. Take your dog to the vet if you observe these symptoms of tick disease in your dog, particularly if you have recently found a tick on your dog.

How to Check for Ticks on Your Dog

The longer a tick remains on your dog after biting them, the more likely your dog is to contract a disease. Therefore, you should regularly check your dog for ticks, especially during your region’s peak tick season, and quickly remove any ticks you find. Focus on the areas where ticks tend to bite dogs, such as on the head and neck, around the ears and in between your dog’s paws. However, ticks can be found anywhere on a dog's body, even inside the ears.

Dog graphic highlighting where to check for ticks on your dog: feet, neck, head and ears.

Keep in mind, too, that you and your dog can encounter ticks almost anywhere. While ticks are most frequently found outdoors on grass, bushes or shrubs, some can be found indoors. For example, the brown dog tick can be found across the United States hiding in:

  • Cracks and crevices in your home
  • Garages
  • Dog runs

Tick Treatment and Prevention for Dogs

A good way to prevent ticks from infesting your dog is to use a product that kills and repels ticks. This is important because if a tick is repelled, it cannot bite and transmit diseases.

Related articles:
Flea Diseases in Dogs
Flea, Tick & Mosquito Seasonality & Geography

Bayer Products

  • Seresto® for large dogs packaging

    Seresto® for dogs

    An easy-to-use, odorless, non-greasy collar that kills and repels fleas and ticks for 8 months.

    Seresto® for dogs

    Indicated for:

    FLEAS
    FLEAS
    TICKS
    TICKS
    CHEWING LICE
    CHEWING LICE

  • K9 Advantage® II for extra large dogs and large dogs packing

    K9 Advantix® II

    A once-monthly topical application that kills and repels fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.

    Do not use on Cats.

    K9 Advantix® II

    Indicated for:

    FLEAS
    FLEAS
    TICKS
    TICKS
    MOSQUITOES
    MOSQUITOES
    BITING FLIES
    BITING FLIES
    CHEWING LICE
    CHEWING LICE

    Do not use on Cats.

  • Advantage® Yard & Premise Spray.

    Advantage® Yard & Premise Spray

    Kill insects, fleas and ticks around the perimeter of your home.

    Not for use on pets. Use as directed.

    Advantage® Yard & Premise Spray

    Indicated for:

    FLEAS
    FLEAS
    TICKS
    TICKS