Ticks On Dogs - Symptoms and Treatment 

Ticks are one of the most important parasites that can affect dogs. The symptoms that can result from ticks varies depending on the species of tick. It’s essential to know the potential impact of a tick bite on your dog and what to look out for.  

Signs and symptoms of tick bite in dogs 

The signs of ticks on a dog can vary depending on the species of tick involved. Three main tick species infest dogs in Australia: paralysis ticks, brown dog ticks and bush ticks. 

Paralysis tick symptoms in dogs

A bite from a paralysis tick can be fatal, and it’s important to be aware of what to watch out for. Signs of paralysis ticks in dogs may include one or more of the following: 

  • A loss of coordination in the hind legs (wobbly or inability to get up) which may progress to paralysis
  • A change in voice or bark
  • Vomiting, retching, coughing or loss of appetite
  • Laboured breathing or rapid breathing

Read more: Paralysis ticks on dogs

Brown dog tick symptoms

The brown dog tick in Australia is widely distributed, however, they are most prevalent in northern and inland regions. Brown dog ticks can cause skin irritation at the attachment site and heavy infestations may result in anaemia from excessive blood loss. Brown dog tick symptoms in Australia may also be related to diseases transmitted by the tick rather than the tick itself - they can transmit life-threatening diseases such as babesiosis and ehrlichiosis to dogs.

Read more: Brown dog tick

Bush tick symptoms

One of the most common bush tick symptoms in dogs is irritation around the area of the bite. Bush ticks can also transmit a disease called babesiosis to dogs. The Babesia parasites invade the red blood cells of the dog causing anaemia, which can be fatal.

Read more: Bush ticks on dogs

Symptoms of lyme disease in dogs 

Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium transmitted by ticks and is common in the northern hemisphere. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that Lyme disease is transmitted within Australia, although dogs which arrive from overseas may be infected.

The most common symptoms in dogs include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Painful or swollen joints
  • Lameness that comes and goes
  • Swollen lymph nodes and lethargy 
Tick on dog symptoms
Tick on dog symptoms

Treatment for ticks on dogs

If you find a tick on your dog it should be removed as soon as possible, and you should contact your veterinarian for advice.

It’s important to use an effective tick treatment for puppies and dogs to keep them protected. NexGard® for Dogs and NexGard SPECTRA® for Dogs protect for a full month against paralysis ticks, brown dog ticks and bush ticks. Tick control products will control most of the ticks that your pet may be exposed to. However, it only takes one paralysis tick to cause tick paralysis. For this reason, it is important to also perform daily searching and removal of ticks if you live in, or you and your pet have visited, a known paralysis tick area. 

  • NexGard SPECTRA for Dogs: NexGard SPECTRA provides the most complete protection against fleas, ticks, mites, heartworm and intestinal worms, all in one tasty chew. 
  • NexGard for Dogs: NexGard is a flea and tick treatment which also treats and controls mites. It is also a tasty chew which dogs love. 


  • Which ticks are the most dangerous in Australia? 

    Paralysis ticks are one of the most dangerous parasites that can affect dogs in Australia. The bite from one tick can cause tick paralysis, which can be fatal. While brown dog ticks and bush ticks do not cause tick paralysis, they can transmit potentially fatal diseases to dogs. 

  • What do I do if my dog has a tick?

    If you find a tick on your dog it should be removed as soon as possible, and you should contact your veterinarian for advice. 

  • How do I remove ticks? 

    Use a tick removal tool, like a tick hook, or tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick adjacent to your pet’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. If you are unsure, it’s always best to speak to your veterinary clinic who will be able to assist you.

  • Can I get ticks from my dog? 

    Humans can be bitten by ticks, but they are usually picked up from walking through vegetation and not from our pets. 



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