What Are the Signs and Risks of Tick Infestations in Dogs?

March 14, 2024by Nicole Tengco0

Those playful romps and leisurely outdoor walks can be a source of joy for you and your furry friend. But dangers such as ticks might be lurking among the leaves and tall grasses. These small parasites pose significant health threats to dogs if left untreated. In this article, PetPal will discuss the signs and health risks associated with tick infestations in dogs. 

What Are Ticks?

Ticks are external parasites that attach themselves to the skin of host animals and feed on their blood. These small arachnids are usually found in grassy, wooded areas, and can easily latch onto dogs during walks or outdoor playtime. Once they attach themselves, they can stay on the host for several days to weeks, depending on the species.

Signs of Tick Infestations in Dogs

Recognizing a tick infestation in your dog early is crucial, as it can prevent the spread of dangerous diseases. Here are some signs to watch out for:

1. Visible Ticks

The most obvious sign of a tick infestation is seeing the ticks themselves. They can attach anywhere on your dog’s body, but they are often found in the head, neck, ear, and feet areas. As they feed, they grow larger and become easier to spot.

2. Skin Irritation

If your dog is constantly scratching or biting a specific area, it could be due to a tick bite. Check the area for ticks, redness, swelling, or discharge.

3. Fever or Loss of Energy

Ticks can transmit diseases that cause fever in dogs. If your dog is lethargic, has a loss of appetite, swollen lymph nodes, or shows other signs of illness, it could be due to a tick-borne disease.

4. Unusual Behavior

If your dog seems uncomfortable, is shaking his head frequently, or has difficulty walking, it could be a sign of a serious tick-borne disease.

It’s always best to contact your vet right away if you spot these signs, as tick infestations can be dangerous, especially without proper treatment. You can also schedule an online vet consultation to talk to a professional wherever you are.

Health Risks of Tick Infestations in Dogs

Unfortunately, ticks can transmit a variety of diseases to dogs, some of which can be quite serious. Here are some of the most common health risks:

1. Lyme disease

This is the most well-known tick-borne disease. It can cause fever, joint pain, lethargy, and loss of appetite in dogs.

2. Anaplasmosis

Anaplasmosis can cause similar symptoms to Lyme disease, but may also include vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.

3. Ehrlichiosis

This condition attacks a dog’s immune system and can cause weight loss, fever, bleeding disorders, as well as in severe cases, organ damage.

4. Babesiosis

This disease can cause anemia, dark-colored urine, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

5. Tick Paralysis

Some ticks can produce a toxin that causes paralysis in dogs. The paralysis typically starts in the hind legs and moves forward in the body.

Protecting Your Pup

The good news is that there are steps you can take to protect your dog from ticks and the diseases they carry. Regular tick prevention, such as topical treatment, special collars, or oral medication, may be recommended by your veterinarian. You can buy them from vets or through PetPal’s online pet store.

These products can not only kill ticks that are already on your dog but also repel new ticks. After spending time outdoors, especially in tick-infested areas, perform a thorough check of your dog’s fur. If you find a tick on your dog, it’s important to remove it properly using the appropriate tools and following the guidance of your vet.

Know that ticks can also pose a risk to human health, so protecting your dog from ticks also means protecting your entire household. By being aware of tick infestations’ signs and health risks, you can keep your furry friend – and your family – safe and healthy. 

For additional assistance and support, PetPal can help you schedule a home service or even an online vet consultation. Download the PetPal app from the Play Store or App Store to talk to our partner vets today!

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