Lyme Disease in Dogs: What You Need to Know

Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease, which is primarily spread by ticks, is a concern for many dog owners. While humans are also susceptible to this disease, our canine companions are especially at risk due to their outdoor activities and proximity to the ground where ticks thrive. If you're worried about Lyme disease affecting your furry friend, here's what you need to know.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. It's primarily transmitted to dogs (and humans) through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. It is otherwise known as deer ticks. Once the bacteria enter the bloodstream, they can cause a range of health issues.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs:

While some dogs might not show any symptoms, common signs include:

  • Fever
  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Lameness or limping (which might shift from one leg to another)
  • Swollen joints
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen lymph nodes

In severe cases, Lyme disease can also affect the dog's heart, nervous system, and kidneys.

Prevention is Key:

Protecting your dog from Lyme disease largely hinges on tick prevention:

  • Tick Preventatives: Consult with your vet about the best tick prevention products for your dog. These could be in the form of topical treatments, collars, or oral medications.
  • Regular Checks: After walks in wooded or grassy areas, check your dog for ticks, especially around the ears, between toes, under armpits, and around the tail.
  • Maintain Your Yard: Keep your lawn mowed and bushes trimmed. This reduces the chances of ticks making a home in your yard.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

If you suspect your dog has been bitten by a tick or is showing symptoms of Lyme disease, consult a vet immediately. They will usually conduct a blood test to confirm the presence of the disease.

The primary treatment for Lyme disease in dogs is antibiotics, often for an extended period. Most dogs show improvement within 48 hours of starting treatment.


There's a vaccine available for Lyme disease in dogs. Whether or not your dog should be vaccinated depends on the Lyme disease prevalence in your area and your dog's lifestyle. Talk to your vet about the benefits and potential risks of the vaccine.

Human Risk:

While dogs can't directly transmit Lyme disease to humans, they can bring infected ticks into homes. Hence, if your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, it's essential to be cautious and check yourself and family members for ticks as well.

That's a Wrap!

Lyme disease in dogs is a serious concern, but with awareness, preventive measures, and early intervention, risks can be minimized. Regular vet check-ups, immediate attention to symptoms, and a vigilant eye can ensure that your dog stays safe from this tick-borne ailment. Always remember, a proactive approach is the best defense against Lyme disease.