Ticks on dogs: essential facts to keep your dog safe

A tick that is latched onto a dog and has been feeding might look like a raised mole found on your skin (about the size of a coffee bean). A tick that hasn’t been on your dog for very long may look as small as a poppy seed.

The best way to check your dog for ticks is to brush your fingers through your dog’s fur, applying enough pressure to feel any small bumps. If you feel a bump, pull the fur apart to identify it.

It’s not necessary to drown a tick. If you decide to squish it, make sure to wear gloves or protect yourself. If they’ve already fed, they will be messy and bloody.

What Does a Tick Bite Look Like?

What Do Tick Bites Look Like

Ticks on dogs: What They Look Like and How to Get Rid of Them

To remove a tick correctly, use tweezers that have a fine tip and have been sanitized in rubbing alcohol. Grab onto the tick with the tweezers, staying as close to your skin surface as possible. Then pull the tick up, using steady pressure, without twisting or jerking.

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Finding and identifying a tick isn’t as easy as it sounds. These parasites wander around their hosts’ skin looking for a warm, moist spot to latch onto and take in blood. The areas that ticks choose are often hidden between skin folds or beneath clothing.

These diseases can be prevented with preventative tick medication. Talk with your veterinarian for recommendations.

11 FAQ About Tick Bites on Dogs

What Do Ticks Bites Look Like On Dogs

1. The site of a tick bite on a dog will have a small red bump like a mosquito bite.

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How to identify a tick on a dog

There are three main tick species that infest dogs in Australia: paralysis ticks, brown dog ticks, and bush ticks.

Ticks manage to get on dogs all year round in Australia, but the highest risk is in spring and summer.

It’s hard to notice a tick on a dog with dark or long fur because ticks are small and dark-colored. Adult ticks are the size of apple seeds, nymph ticks are the size of poppy seeds and larvae are the size of grains of sand. All ticks, no matter what stage in the lifecycle, are some combination of brown, black, and/or tan. Some will also have one or multiple white spots, or white streaks, on their backs.

What Does a Tick Bite Look Like on a Dog (and Next Steps to Take)

  • To remove a tick, tweezers or specially-designed tick removal tools can be used. Grab the tick adjacent to your dog’s skin (at the tick mouthparts), twist the tick, then pluck the tick away from the skin. Take care not to squeeze the tick’s body.
  • After removal, store the tick in a sealed container for identification by your veterinarian.
  • It is possible for a dog to develop signs and symptoms of tick paralysis even after you remove a tick from a dog, so it is recommended to keep a close eye on your dog for a few days. If you have any concerns about your dog’s health, you should seek immediate veterinary attention.

There are over 15 species of ticks in North America, but your dog is most at risk for four of these:


Although tick control products will control most of the ticks that your pet may be exposed to, it only takes one tick to cause tick paralysis. For this reason, it is important to also perform daily tick searches on your pet. If you live in, or you and your pet are visiting a known tick area, it is recommended to search your pet daily for ticks and tick craters (scabby, circular skin lesions where a tick was previously attached).

Ticks on dogs: essential facts to keep your dog safe

Tick bite on a dog | The Animal Nerd

Ticks are very small, making them difficult to spot. Ticks can live for up to three years , but, to grow from one stage to another, a tick must feed on a host and take in blood. So, depending on the stage a tick is in, it can range in size from what would look like a grain of sand to a poppy seed to a sesame seed.

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What do ticks look like on dogs?

Featured Image: iStock.com/Jess Wealleans

Although there are 15 species of ticks in the U.S., there are eight that commonly parasitize dogs:

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