Ticks are masters at hiding and can be difficult to spot once on your pet. What does a tick on a dog or cat look like?
Find out what embedded fully ticks on dogs look like, how to check for them, and what to do if you find one.
What does a tick look like on a cat or dog?
Although there are over 900 species of ticks worldwide and approximately 40 species in Canada, these parasites generally share some common characteristics. Remember that tick larvae and nymphs, as well as adult ticks, can all bite.
Tick larvae are about the size of a grain of sand and look like red or black spots.
Tick larvae is somewhat smaller than nymphs, about the size of a sesame seed.
Non-eating adult ticks are about the size of an apple seed, flattened, and teardrop shaped.
They are usually brown in color, with an area of darker brown around their rostrum (mouthparts).
If your pet ventures outside, check regularly for ticks using our visual guide.
Blood-fed ticks are significantly larger than non-feeding ticks — they are about 1 cm in length. Blood-engorged ticks can be gray or white and rounded.
How to find a tick on your cat or dog
Regularly checking your pet for ticks can help keep it safe and provide peace of mind for you and your family. These tips will help you properly detect the presence of ticks:
1. Run your fingers through your cat’s or dog’s coat. Ticks, especially well-fed ones, feel like small, round bumps on the surface of the skin.
2. Examine your pet’s neck, armpits, head, mouth area, lips, ears, and paws. Remember to look carefully between his toes. Ticks can also be discovered in the mouth! Also, check under any collars, harnesses, or any other gear or accessories your pet might be wearing. Ticks can hide in long coats, but they prefer to feed in areas where it’s easier to get close to the skin.
Note: Usually when you see a tick it has already attached itself to your cat or dog and is feeding, but sometimes you will find an un-eaten tick crawling on the surface of the coat of your pet, looking for a place to feed.
3. Occasionally, people mistake a small bump on their pet’s skin for a tick. If you suspect one of these bumps is a tick, look closely; if you see legs, it’s probably a tick. If you have any doubts or concerns, have your pet examined by your veterinarian.
If you discover a tick on your dog or cat, what to do
If you find a tick on your pet, don’t panic, and pick it off with your fingers. There’s no need to stress your pet, and the last thing you want to do is crush or break the tick while it’s feeding. In short, whenever you find ticks on your dog or cat, use reliable tick remover for cats to get rid of them