Ticks on dogs: How to protect your four-legged friend

Once the temperatures rise, ticks become active again – and this can be just as dangerous for dogs as it is for us humans. Because in the main period between March and October, the risk of arachnids transmitting diseases through their bites or stings is very high. Find out here what to do if your dog is bitten by a tick and how you can best protect your four-legged friend.

How dangerous is a dog bite?

Ticks are parasites that require a blood meal from a host, such as a dog, to develop from eggs into adult ticks. When animals bite (not bite, sting), dangerous pathogens can be transmitted to the dog during the nursing process – some of which can lead to death. These diseases can be transmitted through a tick bite:

Lyme disease: Borrelia bacterial infection is mostly chronic and sometimes difficult to diagnose. Joint problems, pain in the muscles, tendons and bones as well as paralysis can indicate disease.

Babezosis: The infectious disease, also known as canine malaria, is caused by protozoa (babesia). It destroys red blood cells (anemia) and can kill dogs. Above all, the alluvial forest tick often transmits this pathogen in this country. It is slightly larger than a normal tick and has fine dots on its back. The alluvial forest tick is on the rise in Germany – so keep your eyes open and take a close look.

Reincarnation: If left untreated, this bacterial infection with anaplasmosis is fatal. It is particularly difficult that the disease is accompanied by very non-specific symptoms such as high fever, vomiting, diarrhea and apathy, which do not immediately indicate the cause.

Erlichiosis: If a dog becomes infected with Ehrlichia, it can also be life-threatening if not treated by a doctor. Sick animals often suffer from non-specific symptoms such as fever and vomiting.

TBE: Tick-borne encephalitis, which is often fatal, is transmitted by viruses. Neurological symptoms such as apathy, gait disturbances, seizures and high fever are usually present.

tick paralysis: The saliva of many ticks contains neurotoxins that can lead to paralysis depending on the type of tick and the dog’s immune system.

What to do if a tick bites a dog?

Dogs should be checked for ticks after each walk. Pathogen transmission can only be prevented if the pests are quickly and completely removed. The head, neck, shoulders and chest are most commonly affected. [1] Small grubs or nymphs are usually difficult to identify, so feel the dog well with the palm of your hand.


If you discover a tick that has been bitten, remove it as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Anyone who does not trust themselves to remove it should visit a vet as soon as possible. Let the vet show you how to properly remove ticks and get the right tweezers, which can simplify the process. Basically, it is recommended to treat the dog with a tick protector, as large ticks often have smaller larvae or pupae.

How to properly remove a tick:

  • Expose the tick
  • Use tweezers, card or tweezers
  • Hold the tick as close to the dog’s skin as possible
  • Do not squeeze or twist the tick, otherwise other pathogens will be transmitted
  • Pull out slowly and calmly
  • Never use alcohol, glue, oil, nail polish or the like. use

How quickly should a tick be removed from a dog?

Don’t waste time if you discover a tick on your dog. Pathogens can also be transmitted within hours, so remove the tick as soon as possible.

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What happens if the tick’s head stays on the dog?

If the head or mouth part of the tick tears off during removal and sticks to the dog’s skin, don’t worry. The body usually reacts with inflammation and expels the remains of the tick itself after a few days. If you are not sure, you can still visit a veterinary clinic. It is recommended to check the affected area regularly.

What do vets recommend for ticks on dogs?

Most veterinarians recommend regular prophylaxis, which can protect the dog from tick infestation. Good protection against ticks is especially important in areas with a high frequency of ticks. Ticks like a warm, moist environment and therefore are especially found in the forest and places with moist soil. Animals tend to avoid sunny, dry grasslands. The effectiveness of home remedies like amber necklaces is somewhat controversial, while other dog owners swear by coconut oil. It is best to ask a vet for advice on which product is most suitable for your dog.

It is important to use tick repellants regularly use and not after your dog has been bitten by a tick. A study showed that tick repellents are only marginally effective if not used consistently, and dogs can still contract dangerous and life-threatening diseases. [1]


Buy pet-friendly tick repellants

Unfortunately, many tick repellent manufacturers conduct cruel animal experiments in which dogs and cats are tortured for months in toxicity tests and then killed. Therefore, it is best to ask the manufacturer directly if animal testing has been performed on their product.

Need advice against fleas?

Did you know that many tick repellants also work against fleas? If, nevertheless, your four-legged friend was attacked by the small animals, you can find out here what you can do:

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