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What Does A Tick Look Like On A Dog?

What Does A Tick Look Like On A Dog?
What Does A Tick Look Like On A Dog

Ticks are parasitic arachnids that feed on the blood of their host. These external parasites attach to the skin of mammals, reptiles, birds, and even amphibians. Ticks are dangerous because they can transmit nasty diseases to us and our dogs. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you know what does a tick look like on your dog and how to safely remove it.

What Does A Tick Look Like On A Dog?

A tick has eight legs and two distinct body parts and they look similar to spiders. The basis capitulum is the head and thorax fused and the abdomen. Ticks are very flattened dorsoventrally as opposed to from side to side like a flea is. A tick isn’t easy to squish, unlike spiders that tend to squish very easily. These are very small animals, approximately 3 to 5 mm in length depending on sex, age, species, or how much blood the tick sucked from its host. When engorged a tick may reach the size of one centimeter.

Photo credit: Top Dog Tips
So, What Does A Tick Look Like On A Dog?

A tick on a dog looks like a tiny black spot with legs sticking out if it’s a fresh bite. Or a larger engorged lump that is hard to miss when it starts feeding.

What Does A Tick Look Like On A Dog
Photo credit: Top Dog Tips

Where Do Ticks Live?

Ticks are spread all around the world. However, they tend to live in warm and moist areas with lots of wildlife. These are mostly wooded and grassy areas where animals such as deers, rabbits, mice, squirrels move, feed and roam. However, ticks can also be found in gardens, coastal areas, and beaches.

How To Look For Ticks On A Dog?

It’s important to frequently check your dog for ticks, especially if you have been walking or playing in long grass or known tick-infested areas. Check your dog every time you come home from a run, walk, etc. Simply run your hands over the dog’s body felling for any bumps on the dog’s skin. As we already said, ticks can be small as a pinhead when unfed or as big as a grape after feeding. 

What Does A Tick Look Like On A Dog
Photo credit: CDC

Generally, you should check every part of the dog’s body. Often, after the tick climbs onto your dog’s body, it will move to an area with less hair before it locks into place and starts to feed on the host’s blood. However, the areas you should pay special attention to are the dog’s legs, paws, head, armpits, and groin.

How To Safely Remove The Tick From A Dog?

Ok, now that you have found and identified a tick on your dog, it’s time to remove it. 

You will need fine-pointed tweezers and gloves.

Photo credit: Amazon

1. Put on gloves to protect yourself from the possible transfer of bacteria

2. Pick up the tweezers

3. Grab the tick with tweezers at the base of its head, slightly above the point where it’s attached to the skin.

4. Pull the tick out directly in one motion

5. Check the affected area to see if any part of the tick was left inside the skin

6. Clean the tick bite with warm water and soap.

7. If you didn’t succeed in pulling the tick out in one piece, call the vet

8. Dog screening (A dog should be screened 3 to 6 weeks after the bite to check for tick-borne diseases)

Why Are Ticks So Dangerous?

Ticks are dangerous because they transmit microbes that can cause nasty diseases that can affect you or your dogs such as Lyme disease, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Ehrlichiosis, and many others.