Flea and tick prevention are among the biggest concerns for pet owners, especially those who have a pet that enjoys the great outdoors.
But not all of these pesky pests are created equal, especially when ticks are involved.
We’ve come up with the ultimate tick guide for pets! This guide includes prevention tips, what bites tend to look like, additional information important in keeping your pet happy and healthy, and how to know whether it is fleas or ticks you’re dealing with.
Fleas vs. Ticks: Things to Know
Let’s take a look at how the parasites differ and offer up answers to your most pressing questions:
What do fleas and ticks look like, and more specifically, what do ticks look like?
For those with pups, what does a tick bite on a dog look like? What does a tick on a dog look like?
How does a tick look when it’s burrowed?
What do flea and tick bites look like?
What do tick nests look like? And are flea nests even really a thing?
What Tick Bites Look Like Compared to Fleas
The most obvious clue of what tick bites look like would be visual evidence.
So what do fleas and ticks look like? What do flea and tick bites look like? What do fleas on dogs look like vs. ticks? Do you know how to look for fleas or ticks on dogs? What does a tick on a dog look like? So. Many. Questions!
Adult fleas can be spotted with the naked eye, most often hiding out in the warmest areas of your pet’s body. If you notice little black spots on your pet’s skin once you’ve parted the fur, that may be flea dirt, another name for flea excrement.
What does a flea bite look like? What does a rash from a tick look like?
If you weren’t able to see any evidence of live fleas, little red raised bumps on your pet’s skin are also evidence of an infestation. This is a key difference when looking to determine what fleas on dogs look like vs. ticks on dogs.
But we’re looking to examine the differences between flea and tick bites, what to look for in both, and come up with a response based on the evident parasite.
So what do flea AND tick bites look like? What do fleas on a dog look like vs. ticks? What are visual cues in how to look for fleas or ticks on dogs? More specially, what does a tick look like, and how does a tick look when it’s burrowed?
When inspecting for ticks and what tick bites look like, you’re looking for evidence of a tick that has been feeding on your pet. What does a tick bite on a dog look like, for example? Do you know what to look for when checking for ticks? What does a rash from a tick look like?
Using your fingers or a tick comb as your strategy for looking for a tick, you’ll need to do a thorough inspection. What to look for when checking for ticks is a small bump or any areas of irritation.
While fleas can certainly damage – excessive scratching can cause wounds and hair loss – ticks are much more harmful.
Let’s explore in more detail how to spot tick bites, where to look out for ticks, what to do if you know a tick has bitten your pet, and how to prevent tick bites in the future.
What does a tick bite look like?
If you couldn’t find a tick in your visual inspection, there are ways to see evidence of tick bites, decipher what tick bites look like, and what to do next.
Keep in mind that not all tick bites leave these visual markers behind.
So what does a tick bite look like? It depends on the host. Let’s answer what tick bites look like on a dog, what do tick bites look like on a cat, and even what does a tick bite on a human looks like so that you’re prepared to deal with them.
What do tick bites look like on a dog?
What do ticks on a dog look like? What can a tick look like on a dog? What are strategies around how to look for ticks on puppies? Do you know what to look out for with dog tick bites?
More generally, do you know how to look for fleas or ticks on dogs?
The easiest way to determine whether a tick has bitten your dog is to find a feeding tick. So, what does a tick look like on a dog? What do tick heads look like? What does a tick burrowed in skin look like? If it’s been feeding, the tick will be even larger, nearly pea-shaped.
There are plenty of pictures of what ticks look like out there for you to compare with.
So what do ticks on a dog look like? What do tick heads look like? Are there pictures of what ticks look like when it comes to dogs?
In terms of how to look for ticks on puppies, special attention paid to your dog’s head, in and around the ears, neck, and paws, will reveal quite quickly what does a tick bite on a dog look like. Feel for any bumps – that could mean a tick is still attached.
What does a tick on a dog look like when dark fur is involved?
Dogs with dark fur need an even closer inspection. Ticks that feed on dogs may be light-colored before they feed but grow darker in color after being attached.
That means answering what does a tick look like depends on where the parasite is in its feeding process.
So what do tick bites look like on a dog? Do you know what to look out for with dog tick bites?
If you don’t find any active ticks now that you know what tick looks like on a dog, but you notice redness or irritation on your dog’s skin after time outdoors, that could mean a tick bit your dog.
What do ticks look like on cats?
You already know the answers to what do ticks on a dog look like, what do tick heads look like, and understand what to look out for with dog tick bites. But do you know where to look for ticks when it comes to cats?
What can a tick look like on a cat?
The simple answer to what do ticks look like on cats is that ticks will look the same on your feline friend, too. If you’re figuring out where to look for ticks on cats, pay closer attention to areas around your cat’s head, including inside and around the ears, their neck and along their collar, and their feet. Ticks that usually feed on cats are called hard ticks and look a bit like a sunflower seed.
If a tick has been feeding on your cat and is still attached, it can grow in size, making it easier to spot in your hunt for where to look for ticks on cats.
So what do ticks look like on cats? Pictures of what ticks look like can help. What does a tick burrowed in skin look like, specifically cat skin?
If you cannot spot the actual parasite, you may see some irritation at the bite spot. Look for redness patches as you inspect your cat’s skin in those areas identified as where to look for ticks for cats, and be even more thorough if your cat has dark fur.
What does a tick bite on a human look like?
It’s important to mention where to look for ticks on humans, as ticks can transfer from furry friend to a person. It’s not enough to just know what a tick looks like on a dog or your feline pet.
If you get bit by a tick, what does it look like? How do tick bites look on humans? Do you know where to look out for ticks?
Humans are unfortunately often a target of ticks, particularly those who like wooded areas. When thinking about where to look for ticks on humans and how do tick bites look on humans, just as with pets, it’s important to complete visual inspections in areas that ticks bite.
Pay special attention to areas not as easily accessible to the human eye now that you know what ticks look like.
So what does a tick bite on a human look like? What can a tick look like? Do you know what ticks look like on people, and how do tick bites look on humans? If you get bit by a tick, what does it look like? What does a tick burrowed in skin look like? Steel yourself for pictures of what do tick bites look like when they’ve attached themselves to humans.
Some ticks will leave behind a bump where it had latched on that resembles a mosquito bite. We’ll examine what a rash from a tick looks like later, but those visual markers are important in determining a potential tick bite, as more serious symptoms may follow.
Before diving into the symptoms, pet owners must know what to do when they find a live tick on their pet. Safe tick removal is important, and there are ways to ensure that you’re removing a tick correctly rather than causing more damage to your pet.
What does a tick nest look like?
If you’re someone who is often exploring the outdoors with your pet, it’s also important to understand how to spot signs of ticks, including tick nests. So what does a tick nest look like? And what do tick eggs look like? More accurately, what does a nest of tick eggs look like?
Well, it isn’t straightforward, as what you may find isn’t actually a nest but an egg mass.
So what do tick eggs look like? How does a tick look in egg form? What does a nest of tick eggs look like?
There you have it, your answer to what does a nest of tick eggs look like. You’ll notice tick eggs are tiny, dark-colored, and shiny, all clustered in a mass. They’d almost be cute if you didn’t know you were dealing with a bloodsucking parasite.
If you think you’ve come upon a cluster of tick eggs, now that you know the answer to what tick eggs look like, don’t disturb it. If it’s near your home, consider calling on the services of a pest control professional to take care of the problem for you.
How to Safely Remove a Tick
If you don’t remove a tick safely and aren’t sure what it should look like if you remove a tick right, you could leave part of the parasite behind, causing more serious symptoms down the road. Most importantly, you’ll want to spring into action as soon as you have visual evidence of a tick on your pet, as the longer it feeds, the more serious resulting symptoms could be.
What does it look like when you remove a tick?
It should be done in one fluid motion, keeping the parasite intact.
Let’s look at how to remove a tick safely and what it should look like to remove a tick right.
What does it look like when you remove a tick?
Now that you know how to look for ticks on puppies, cats, even yourself, there are a few steps in removing a tick correctly and safely to prevent problems down the line. So what does it look like when you remove a tick? With ticks, what to look for is that you’ve removed the tick completely.
1. Using a set of fine-tipped tweezers, gently grab the tick at the base of the bite site, close to your pet’s skin.
2. Pull the tick upward with your tweezers. Resist the urge to do any squeezing or twisting, as you want to remove the tick all in one piece.
3. If you’ve successfully removed the tick in one piece, clean the bite site thoroughly with a pet-friendly antiseptic. Clean your own hands thoroughly as well, and wipe your tweezers down with isopropyl alcohol.
4. The live tick can be flushed down the toilet or placed in a sealed baggie for disposal. You do NOT want to crush or squash a live tick.
As far as how it should look if you remove a tick right, the tick should be completely intact and likely engorged once you pluck it from the skin.
What Symptoms to Look for After a Tick Bite
If you feel that a tick has bitten your pet, but you’re not able to visually confirm, there are ideas of what to look for after a tick bite.
The following are observable signals and what symptoms to look for after a tick bite:
- Redness or Irritation at the Bite Site: We’ve mentioned this already, but if you weren’t able to find an active tick, redness or irritation at the bite site coupled with time outdoors where ticks may be present is a sign that a tick may have already fed on your pet.
- Head-Shaking: With dogs, what to look for when checking for ticks is excessive head shaking as they’re trying to dislodge the pest. Look for any odd behavior like this when you’re concerned a tick may have taken a bite of your dog.
- Excessive Scratching: Pets with irritation at the bite site may try to relieve that itchy spot with excessive scratching or even chewing. Scratching and chewing can lead to problems independently, as pets can then irritate the tick bite site even further, causing sores and open wounds.
- Pain at the Bite Site: You may notice your pet whimpering or doing some licking at the bite site if they’re feeling pain in the area or general pain from most serious symptoms of a tick bite.
Now that you know what symptoms to look for after a tick bite, there are more serious complications to consider. Following tick bites, what to look for after a tick bite are changes in behavior and physical signs.
What to Look for After You Remove a Tick
Your work isn’t done once you know what ticks look like and you’ve safely removed an active tick from your pet. Let’s explore what to look for after you remove a tick and the answer to what symptoms you should look for after having a tick removed.
Monitor Changes in Behavior
When you are vigilant about what to look for after you remove a tick, you should monitor for any changes in your pet’s behavior. Excessive tiredness and lethargy, a loss of appetite, and changes in overall activity for your pet could be a sign that something serious is going on.
So what symptoms should you look for after removing a tick?
Essentially, anything that seems out of the ordinary, particularly after you’ve visually removed a tick from your pet, should be of concern when you’re trying to figure out what to look for after a tick bite.
Tick-borne diseases in pets can vary somewhat based on your geographical location, but the most common are Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Babesiosis, Bartonellosis, Hepatozoonosis, and Lyme disease.
Of those, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tick-borne illness. Let’s explore Lyme disease in more detail and answer some common questions about the disease, including the following:
What do ticks that cause Lyme disease look like?
What does a tick bite look like when you have Lyme disease, including the often-mentioned Lyme tick rash?
What symptoms should you look for after a tick bite?
What do ticks that cause Lyme disease look like?
What does a tick carrying Lyme look like? First of all, not all ticks carry Lyme disease. But it’s also challenging to answer questions like what do ticks that cause Lyme disease looks like without extremely close inspection of the tick.
What do different types of ticks look like?
The ticks in question will either be a deer tick – keep reading to answer what a deer tick looks like close up – or the western black-legged tick.
So what do different types of ticks look like?
The western black-legged tick looks virtually identical to a deer tick. Both will be about the size of a sesame seed.
What does a deer tick look like close up?
What does a tick nymph look like?
To complicate things even more, nymph ticks – the juveniles – are more likely than adult ticks to pass along Lyme. What does a tick nymph look like? What do different types of ticks look like when they’re younger? Due to their size, they’re tough to spot, so you’ll be looking at that image above what does a deer tick looks like close up and shrinking it down.
This all said, not all ticks cause Lyme disease. But they can spread other diseases. So, it’s important that you’re well-versed in ticks, what to look for, and regularly checking for ticks.
It’s then more important to understand what do ticks look like overall. This includes what a nymph tick looks like, rather than determining what a tick carrying Lyme looks like.
Lyme Disease Symptoms
Lyme disease for both humans and pets can cause long-lasting effects if not treated efficiently, like neurological or kidney problems.
When concerned about Lyme disease, what symptoms should you look for after having a tick removed? If you get bit by a tick, what does it look like as far as symptoms? What does a Lyme tick bite look like? And what does a Lyme tick rash look like, the most obvious symptom of Lyme disease?
Fatigue, joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes are all signs that you’re dealing with Lyme disease. Pets may experience general restlessness, fever, and joint pain.
Perhaps the most obvious sign for humans bitten by a tick is the tell-tale Lyme tick rash.
What does a Lyme tick rash look like?
A typical Lyme tick rash forms in the shape of a bulls-eye pattern.
While prevalent in humans, this rash won’t appear in a pet with Lyme. When thinking about what a Lyme tick rash looks like, you need first to understand that the tell-tale bullseye rash is a human symptom.
So what does a Lyme tick bite look like in your pets?
You may see redness or irritation in the area if the tick has fallen off. Unfortunately, pet owners often find out that their pet has contracted Lyme disease once symptoms have progressed.
How to Prevent Fleas and Ticks
The best course of action would be to prevent your pet from flea and tick bites in the first place. The method you choose as your preventative, topical treatment, oral medication, flea collar, or shampoos will depend on a few things:
- Where do you live? Topical treatments may be more effective in certain parts of the country.
- What kind of pet do you have? Preventatives differ for cats and dogs, and you shouldn’t give your cat and dog the same preventative.
- How many pets do you have? You should treat all pets in the home at the same time, consistently.
Once you have a regular preventative treatment plan in place, don’t think that you’re out of the woods. Preventatives will cause a tick that bites your pet to die but won’t stop a tick from biting your pet.
That means you’ll still need to make sure you understand ticks, what to look for, and do regular tick checks.
If you’re ready to take the guesswork out of our pet’s healthy essentials, MyPetDefense is here to help. We can set you up with a monthly subscription plan to ensure your pet has everything they need, with treats thrown in for fun.