How to check your dog

for ticks


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What are ticks?

  • Ticks are grey-brown small beasties, with 8 legs.
  • They range in size from 1mm to 1cm, they get bigger and change colour as they fill with blood.
  • They are most common in areas with deer and sheep, and love woodland and grassy places.
  • They are active all year but more so between spring and autumn.
  • They spread diseases like Lyme disease and Babesiosis

Signs your dog may have Lyme Disease or Babesiosis are

  • loss of appetite
  • depression
  • a fever
  • lameness
  • swollen and painful joints
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • pale gums
  • a swollen abdomen
  • a temperature

It can take 2 weeks for symptoms to show, so if your dog has been bitten by a tick and becomes unwell 

contact your vet immediately. They can run tests and start treatment straight away.

How do you know if your dog has a tick

Scratching, biting, or licking of certain areas of the skin. 

Once a tick comes in contact with your dogs’ skin it bites on it and digs a hole. 

This might cause inflammation on their skin, which will make your dog want to scratch or bite that area constantly.

Constant head shakes. 

This happens because a tick is stuck on your dog’s head or ears. 

These 2 areas are sensitive and it will be irritating for your dog, that’s why he keeps on shaking his head or scratching his ears.

Unusual behavior

Your dog’s behavior will give him away. If you see your dog acting lethargic, winning or are out of sorts, it could be that they have  ticks. 

Always pay attention to your dog’s behavior.

How to check your dog for ticks​

Always check your dog for ticks after you have been for walks in woodland areas or places with sheep and deer.


Ticks are big enough to see, like dark spots or lumps on your dog’s body. 

Sometimes they are tough to spot if your dog has a strong dark coat. But  you can brush the coat or run your hand through it to spot the ticks.


Run your hands through their coat checking

  • In and around the ears
  • Around the eyelids, especially if they have busy eyebrows!
  • Underneath where their collar or harness sit
  • Along and under the tail
  • In the groin area
  • Under the front legs
  • In between their toes
  • At the elbow joints

How to safely  remove a tick

Only ever use a tick hook to remove ticks from your dog.

You can buy packs of these from your vet, pet shops and online.


You need to be very careful not to squeeze the tick’s body, or get its head  stuck inside your dog. Squeezing their body can cause it to expel blood back into your dog,

which increases the risk of infection. 


Ask your vet for advice if you're worried about doing this.

  1. Once you've located the tick, gently part your dog's fur so that you can easily reach the tick
  2. Get your tick remover and slowly push it under the tick
  3. When you have a firm grasp of the tick, twist it in the direction advised on the instructions, several times until the tick comes loose
  4. Take a look at your dog's skin and make sure the tick is completely removed
  5. Pop the tick in a tissue and place it in the bin then wash your hands

Ticks carry diseases, so it is very important to remove any that attach themselves to your dog as soon as possible.  



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