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Signs To Watch For If Your Dog Has Been Bitten By A Tick

Updated on May 12, 2015

As a dog owner, I am absolutely terrified of ticks. Let's face it, ticks carry diseases such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In some cases, ticks can even carry and transmit multiple diseases at once.

Did You Know?

No product is 100% effective at preventing or controlling ticks!


When I discovered a tick embedded in my golden retriever's back my first instinct was to rush her to the vet. However, I decided instead to speak to a veterinarian abut the symptoms to watch for. Since my fiancée had removed the tick and our dog was showing no signs of illness, chances are I would have been paying them to clean the bite, which I had already done myself. Of course, if you would prefer to take your dog to the vet, that's fine.

Symptoms may be evident within twenty four hours of the bite, or it may be days, weeks or even months before symptoms to appear so it is important to continue to monitor your dog for any symptoms or changes.

What to watch for...

The following may be symptoms of one or more of the diseases that ticks carry and transmit. If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms call your veterinarian right away.

Loss of appetite or difficulty eating

Refusing to drink

Joint pain

Swelling of joints

Limping or lameness in legs - Although limping or lameness is more common in the front legs, it can affect any legs. It may be spontaneous, lasting for only a few days at a time.

Sensitive to touch -

Reluctance to move

Stiffness - Your dog may walk with an arched back or exhibit arthritis-like symptoms.


Lack of energy







Heavy breathing and/or loud and excessive panting

Difficulty swallowing

Excessive drooling


Frequent urination - Frequent urination should never be ignored. Even if it is not related to the tick-bite, your pooch could have a UTI and require antibiotics.

Accidents - While I understand 'accidents happen', if your house-broken dog starts having accidents, it's time to see a vet. Again, this can also be a symptom of a UTI.

Weight loss

Runny eyes

Runny nose


Nose bleed

Simply acting out of sorts - 'Know thy dog.' If your dog has been bit by a tick and isn't exhibiting one of the symptoms above but is acting out of sorts, it's time to see a vet.


If left untreated, the diseases carried by ticks can result in immune system problems, neurological problems, seizures, chronic inflammation of the joints or arthritis, heart problems, kidney damage or kidney failure, and even death.

Since not all ticks carry diseases, you may wish to keep the tick in an airtight container once you remove it from your dog. You can store the tick in the freezer and have it tested if your dog develops symptoms of an illness or you can bring it to a veterinarian for testing immediately.

Since there are no products or methods that are 100% effective at preventing ticks, it is important to check our dogs for ticks regularly.

Because we live in a rural area with tall grasses and wooded areas that our dog has daily access to, it has become necessary for us to inspect her each time we bring her inside, and again, more thoroughly at the end of the night.

If you do discover a tick on your dog, remove it as soon as possible.The longer the tick is attached, the higher the risk is for illness.

What about you? How do you keep your dog safe from ticks? Do you have any tick removal tips?


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    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 

      5 years ago from USA

      My son's dog got lime disease, but she was treated and seems to be doing fine now. Her main symptom was that suddenly she could barely walk.

    • marleyjustine profile imageAUTHOR

      5 years ago from Canada

      I took to my blog when I found a tick embedded on our golden last month - but honestly, that post doesn't do my hatred for ticks justice. To top it off, just days after writing that post, I was away and my fiancée found another tick on our dog. Even though I would love to never see another tick again in my life, I decided to be prepared and like you, I purchased a tick remover, peroxide and ointment.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      5 years ago from United States

      As a dog owner, this is one of the worse experiences for me! I bought a tick remover, hydrogen peroxide, and ointment in preparation of the upcoming tick season. Rated 'Useful'.


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