Ticks in the dog

Ticks in the dog

Ticks are a nuisance for every dog and for the owner. Whether on short or long walks, in spring or autumn, dog owners always have to search for and remove ticks from their dogs. But humans are also not immune to ticks. These parasites are uncomfortable because the places where they sucked blood can catch fire. There is also a risk of transmission of serious pathogens. But where do ticks occur most frequently? What diseases do they transmit, how are they removed correctly and how can they be prevented?

Tick ​​species and their occurrence

Ticks are not insects, but arachnids. According to estimates, there are around 800 different tick species worldwide, but only 19 of them are native to Europe, about 30 species are native to north America. The tortoise species is predominant in Europe. It also includes the brown dog tick, the common woodbuck and the riparian tick (also the colored tick), which occur most frequently here in dogs.

Ticks prefer to stay in damp and shady places. They avoid dryness and direct sunlight. They are increasingly to be found on natural meadows, near water bodies and in the undergrowth of forests. So ticks live near the ground and do not let themselves fall from trees, as is sometimes assumed.

They become active from around 7 ° C. However, they also survive low temperatures very well, so mild winters are an advantage for the ticks. As a result, less of the parasites freeze and warmer temperatures make them active over a longer period of the year. A tick activity can be determined from February to November.

Ticks – carriers of diseases

Since ticks filter the nutritious components of the blood during the sucking process and return useless liquid to the host, pathogens of the tick can also get into the host. Dog diseases caused by ticks include anaplasmosis, babesiosis, borreliosis and early summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). Other diseases such as Ehrlichiosis and hepatozoonosis occur due to ticks, which are not at home here, but can be brought in by the dog through holidays. For humans, Lyme disease and TBE are dangerous diseases that are transmitted by ticks. An overview of diseases, symptoms and treatments can be found in our table below.

Prevent diseases caused by ticks – measures against ticks

Not all tick types and pathogens occur in all of Europe or America. First of all, dog owners should find out whether they live in certain distribution areas or go for a walk. Even during planned vacations, diseases that can be transmitted by ticks and their distribution areas must be observed. So that the diseases cannot be transmitted at all, every dog ​​owner should prevent. Vaccination, for example against Lyme disease, hardly protects the dog because the vaccination does not protect against all common types of pathogen.

There are special anti-parasitic agents against the bite of a tick, which are usually applied as a liquid between the shoulder blades of the dog. In addition to these spot-on preparations, collars are also available to prevent ticks from stinging. Dog owners are best advised by their veterinarian, because not every product is suitable for every dog. Should a dog not tolerate an anti-tick agent, the application should be stopped immediately. The use of home remedies such as the use of garlic should be avoided, as it is toxic to the dog even in large quantities.

The following are often recommended as home remedies for ticks: coconut oil, garlic, essential oils such as tea tree oil or black cumin oil and amber collars. It has not yet been scientifically clarified whether these home remedies actually help against ticks and is also a subject of lively discussion among dog owners.

If dog owners decide to use home remedies, you should also get advice in advance here. For example, garlic is too toxic for dogs in too high a dose.

Remove ticks from the dog

The best preventive measure is still to thoroughly search the dog for walks. With a dog harrow, dog owners should search their dog’s fur for ticks. If a tick has already sucked in, remove it as quickly as possible with a pair of tick pliers and a slight twisting motion. The faster the tick is removed, the lower the chance that pathogens will be transmitted. Care should be taken to ensure that the tick is completely removed. When unscrewing with the tick pliers, the tick should also not be squeezed, as otherwise more pathogens can get into the wound. Humans should also look for possible ticks after walks and wear bright clothes when walking, on which the parasites can be seen quickly.

At a glance: diseases that are transmitted by ticks


  • Dangerous for humans

Incubation period: one to two weeks


  • high fever and drowsiness
  • unspecific course
  • Infection is usually not chronic, but can reappear


  • Diagnosis and treatment by the veterinarian
  • Antibiotic therapy lasting several weeks


  • Not dangerous for humans

Incubation period: one to three weeks


  • high fever
  • dark brown colored urine
  • loss of appetite, weight loss
  • in acute babesiosis: anemia and kidney failure
  • Damage to the central nervous system, movement disorders and. a.


  • Diagnosis and treatment by the veterinarian
  • Vaccines are difficult to obtain

Lyme disease

  • Dangerous for humans

Incubation period: two to 90 days


  • in humans: reddened circular skin, blushing, fever,
    Fatigue and a.
  • in dogs: often no symptoms, fever, loss of appetite and listlessness
  • Kidney and heart damage at a later stage


  • Diagnosis and treatment by the veterinarian
  • Vaccination in advance is only possible against a Borrelia species

Early summer meningoencephalitis

  • Dangerous for humans

Incubation period: one to two weeks


  • occur less often in dogs
    on than in humans
  • Fever, neurological disorders such as impaired consciousness, pain, movement disorders
  • two stages in humans:
    I. Fever, headache and body aches
    II. Virus infects the central nervous system, meningitis with fever and headache, inflammation of the brain


  • Diagnosis and treatment by the veterinarian
  • Vaccination protection exists in humans, but not in dogs

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