Does My Dog Have Ticks?: 5 Telltale Sign Your Dog Has Ticks

Ticks are hard to notice if you don’t know the signs, especially if your dog has long fur. They’re pretty small, but they can also be pretty dangerous to let loose. If left unattended, a tick infestation can even lead to tick paralysis, which might then lead to your pet’s death.


This is why you shouldn’t underestimate ticks and why you should remove them at once. How would you then know if your dog has ticks?


The first telling sign is the increased frequency of scratches as tick bites are itchy. As for the rest, learn more about them below to make sure your dog gets the proper treatment at once.

1. You Feel Small Lumps on Your Dog’s Body

Worried all that scratching may indicate a dog tick infestation? If you have a suspicion, get a feel around while you’re petting your dog. If you feel some small lumps that shouldn’t be there (i.e. they’re not the nipples), they may be ticks.


Start at the head and run through your dog’s body with your hands in the shape of a claw. Pay close attention to the skin behind the ears, under the collar, and other areas that are more hidden. Ticks seem to like these areas better, and they tend to stick in groups, making them more noticeable.


If you do find ticks, don’t remove them by pulling them as manual tick removal can be harmful. Use specialized products for ticks instead, like Advocate for dogs.

2. Your Dog Seems Weak and Listless

A tick infestation can cause a general weakness, which can be the reason why your dog seems less energetic.


If your furry friend is energetic on normal days, you’re more likely to notice the sudden change in energy — and a sudden listlessness isn’t a good sign most of the time. If your dog seems out of it for the past couple of days, check for ticks right away and schedule a visit to your trusted vet.

3. Your Dog Has Difficulty Breathing

Tick paralysis can also cause the weakening of respiratory muscles, which might make it hard to breathe. This is a helpful sign there’s something wrong with your dog. Every breathing abnormality, whether it’s labored breathing or rapid breathing, has a serious underlying cause.


In this case, you don’t need to check for lumps first; please visit your vet at the soonest time possible.

4. Chewing and Swallowing Become Hard to Do

If your dog’s eating habits have changed, it might be because of a lack of appetite or your dog is finding it hard to pick up food like before. Chewing and swallowing may become hard for them to do as well, causing a mess around their bowl. This also puts them at risk for inhaling food, which might cause aspiration pneumonia.

5. Your Dog Seems Out of Balance

Tick paralysis begins with weakness in the hind legs, leading to poor coordination. You may notice your dog wobbles when he walks or he has difficulty standing up. Your dog will likely spend most of his time laying on their side, which further jeopardizes his breathing.

Prevent Ticks from Becoming a Problem

If you do notice these tick signs, go to a vet right away before your dog develops a full-blown case of tick paralysis.


The good news is there are several ways to keep your pet healthy and free of ticks. Don’t forget to visit our blog for more tips for your pet!