Knowing how stressful keeping your pet healthy is, I was wild about learning all about dog ticks allergy.
This can sound familiar to dog owners since ticks have been a disturbance to dogs since they entered the tall grass for the first time.
Don’t get it twisted, there are a ton of problems that can be caused if your dog gets bit by ticks, but let’s get one thing straight from the beginning.
This is not an article that revolves around those diseases that are spread by ticks, but an article where you join me in researching what it means when your dog is allergic to ticks, regardless of other potential dangers.
If this is something you’re interested in, or if you suspect your dog might be allergic to ticks, this is that one article you’re going to get all the information you need on this subject.
So, in order to find out everything there is about dog allergies to ticks and everything revolving around that subject, it might be a good idea to scroll through this article and reinforce your knowledge of the subject in question. Let’s get to it!
What Is Tick Allergy? - The Basics
Interestingly enough, the conversations I have had with people who have been breeding dogs for a long time or the conversations with people who have had dogs as pets for decades now, lead me to the conclusion many of them don’t know that dogs can be allergic to ticks.
This only shows that the percentage of these animals who experience tick allergy is not high, because if it was - many people that have been around dogs for years would have known about it.
I’ve tried to find what percentage of dogs are allergic to ticks, but there’s no clear data on the subject. I was quite unpleasantly surprised about this because a tick bite can cause some serious damage if your dog is allergic to it.
Another thing to mention right in the beginning, there are levels of tick allergies in dogs. It can vary from a red spot on the skin to some serious nausea and/or vomiting and weakness.
You can’t predict this alone, which means you need to get your dog tested for various allergies. This is not some complicated procedure your dog needs to undertake, but a simple test that determines whether your pet is allergic to some things or not.
Something that needs to be emphasized is that tick allergy can be a matter of scratching and itchy skin around the area that the tick bite is located, and nothing more.
Some other occurrences that are often confused with tick allergies are the symptoms of various diseases these insects tend to carry, and just to name a few:
- Lyme Disease
- Borrelia Miyamotoi Disease
- Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
The most famous one is Lyme disease. Most people have heard about it because it can affect humans as well.
An important thing that is closely related to Lyme disease is that it can also cause patchy skin, rash, and itch. This poses a problem because if you dismiss it as a light manifestation of tick allergy in dogs, it can grow and pose some much bigger problems.
The worst thing about it is if you don’t treat it right away, it can spread to the heart and nervous system and potentially have lethal consequences.
But I digress, the main focus is tick allergy. If you find a grown tick on your dog’s skin and you see it’s itchy or sore in the immediate area around the bite, you should consider the scenario where your dog is allergic to that bite.
Vomiting and nausea are some of the worst symptoms of tick allergy your dog can experience. If you’ve just come from a playdate that took part somewhere your dog might contract a tick and you see this kind of behavior, you should immediately search your pet’s body for ticks. This seemingly small thing can save your dog’s life, remember that!
Vomiting and digestive problems mean that your dog has a severe reaction to a tick bite, and your first step needs to be to take it to the vet. Trained professionals always know much more about things than you do.
How To Distinguish Tick Allergies From Other Allergies Your Dog Can Have
Knowing how vast a spectrum of consequences caused by allergies can be, you should learn a few simple tricks to make a clear distinction between tick allergies and all of the other types of allergies your pet can have.
Besides the classic tests that we’ll touch upon later, there are some things you (as an owner) can do. Many people don’t know, but there are now kits for house testing your pet to certain allergies. If you’re suspecting your dog might be allergic to specific environmental conditions or foods, now you can be sure by using this house testing kit:
It’s a miracle that a company like 5strands exists and that products like theirs do as well. Easy to use and quick but affordable product that ensures your pet’s well-being is something that is rarely stumbled upon.
I highly advise you to check some of their products if you’re not willing to spend hundreds of dollars on testing and waiting for days for the results to come in. It’s not only worth the money, but the time invested as well!
One of the most common questions asked by dog owners, but one of the weirdest ones at the same time is - can dogs be allergic to cats?
Aside from sounding strange, it’s a perfectly legitimate question. Unfortunately (just like us) dogs can be allergic to cats. I say this without any doubt, so don’t be unsure if your dog experiences some of these symptoms:
- Hair loss
- Face-rubbing on the carpet and other hard surfaces
- Discharge from ears
- Coat discoloration and pigment change
Some of these can be mistaken for tick allergies like hair loss around the bite. This is easily distinguishable because you won’t see any ticks or tick bites around the affected area if it’s a case of cat allergy.
Another thing (and probably the most mistaken for tick allergy) is an allergy to fleas. Redness of the skin and extensive scratching of the area is something to look for when suspecting flea allergies.
Similarities between tick and flea allergy are quite big, so it can be hard to differentiate between these two. The thing that you need to look for is simple - a tick. Don’t be mistaken, there are instances where dogs scratch the area too hard and kick the tick off.
In that scenario, look for the remaining tick head or the tick bite, it can look something like this:
What is characteristic of flea allergy is that fleas don’t stick around too long on their host, but only for the duration of their feeding time which can sometimes be a few minutes and can stretch to a few hours.
After this, fleas hop off their host and can’t be found anywhere on your dog’s body. For this reason alone, if you fail to find anything on your pet, it’s probably flea bites that are causing your dog to scratch intensively.
Another thing that I can’t stress enough is that if you can’t make a decision if it’s a flea or a tick allergy, you should head to your dog’s vet right away.
Even if you successfully determine what’s happening, you should go take your dog to the vet, because if it’s ticks, a trained professional can remove them with ease, where you can leave the tick head in your dog’s body and cause further problems.
Tick allergy can’t be stopped by just ripping the tick’s body off and stopping there. Every part of this parasite has to be removed in order to resolve this problem. This means the head and its little legs that it uses to hold on to its host.
There are a few ways to remove a tick at home, but I wouldn’t recommend doing them without being experienced at these things.
The last thing I need to touch upon that is often confused with tick allergies are environmental allergies that dogs can experience from time to time.
Remedies For Dog Tick Allergies
You shouldn’t feel helpless if your dog is bit by a tick and is allergic to it. There are some ways to help your dog deal with this until you get to your pet’s vet.
The most common way a pet owner deals with this is by getting a shampoo for tick and flea bites and washes their dog with it. This is by far the best way to deal with this situation because it’s risk-free and it relieves your dog of itching and the tick almost right away.
These shampoos are designed to irritate the parasite and eventually kill them. This is why these shampoos are so safe - because they can’t harm your dog, but they harm the tick.
Unfortunately, some dogs might experience allergies to shampoos. Don’t think this is rare, because it isn’t. At the end of the day, shampoos are just chemicals, and dogs aren’t used to using these chemicals to clean themselves. So keep in mind that your pet might be allergic to shampoos.
An easy way to find out if this is the case is some simple allergy testing. This can save you some stress if you find yourself in a situation thinking you might help your dog with a bath using an anti-tick shampoo, but you actually cause more harm than good.
There are some pills that you can give to your dog while they are eating that have a similar effect on the parasite. These pills release certain chemical substances that are lethal to ticks and other parasites but won’t harm your dog in any way.
Before giving any type of pill to your pet you should consult your dog’s vet. Do not skip this step as it can lead to some unwanted side effects!
Testing For Allergies
In order to stay on the topic and not bore you with things you might not be interested in right this moment, I suggest you check out my lengthy article that can educate you on allergy testing for dogs in such great detail you can’t even imagine.
If this is not the case, and you just want the basics, here they are:
Testing your dog for allergies is a simple process. Almost any veterinarian clinic is capable of conducting an allergy test on your dog. This can determine if your pet is allergic to a wide variety of things including some that I’ve listed above.
If you wish to do this for your dog (and I highly recommend this), it’s a matter of simply picking up your phone, calling your vet, and making an appointment. I’m telling you this so you wouldn’t make excuses that sound something along the lines of “it’s too complicated”.
There are two ways of testing your dog to allergies:
- Intradermal skin testing - the gold standard of allergy testing in dogs
- RAST - the fastest way of testing your dog for allergies
Both of these have their pros and cons. If you decide to go with intradermal skin testing you need to know that it’s performed by vet dermatologists - and those are not available in every veterinarian clinic.
People call this method a gold standard of allergy testing because its precision in giving results is unmatched to this day, the only downside is the time you need to invest in finding a vet dermatologist.
RAST method is fantastic because it does not require a special vet to be present. It’s conducted by drawing blood from your dog and putting it to the test. The downside to RAST testing is that it can “often” show false-positive results.
This is nothing to be afraid of because even if this does happen your dog won’t be in any danger by not eating a specific food or using a specific product that it’s not actually allergic to.
So if you want to give your dog an allergy test, you have to decide which way you’ll go. Even when you do this, seek professional help to solidify your decision.
Dog Ticks Allergy - Final Thoughts
This is a hard topic to end, so be patient with me. There are so many aspects of dog allergies that I can’t even begin to unravel.
Dog ticks allergy is not uncommon, so you should be educated on the subject, but by making it to the end of this article, you can check the education box with ease.
Another thing is to take action. Your dog can be disciplined, but it can’t do some things on its own. Allergy testing is one of these things, so take initiative and get your dog tested for all sorts of potential allergies.
Remember to be calm if your dog contracts a tick or a flea because this is more than common for dogs that often play outside, because if you are cool, calm, and collected you’ll be able to help your dog much more efficiently!