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Can Dogs Get Lyme Disease?

Read time: 4 mins

13 Sep 2023

If you're a dog owner, you know how important it is to keep your pup healthy and happy. One concern that may come to mind is Lyme disease. In this guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about Lyme disease in dogs, from symptoms to prevention.

The answer is yes, dogs can get Lyme diease. 

Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Dogs

Lyme disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted through tick bites. Just like in humans, dogs can contract this disease. It's crucial to be aware of the symptoms to ensure early detection and treatment.

Common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include:


If your dog is unusually tired or lacks energy, it could be a sign of Lyme disease.


Dogs with Lyme disease often experience joint pain and lameness. They may limp or appear reluctant to move.


An elevated body temperature is a common sign of infection. Keep an eye on your dog's temperature if you suspect Lyme disease.

Loss of appetite

A sudden loss of interest in food can indicate illness, including Lyme disease.

Swollen lymph nodes

Check for swollen lymph nodes around your dog's neck or armpits.

Difficulty breathing

In severe cases, Lyme disease can affect a dog's heart and lungs, leading to breathing difficulties.

It's essential to consult your veterinarian if you notice any of these symptoms. Early detection can greatly improve the chances of a full recovery.

What are the Chances of a Dog Getting Lyme Disease From a Tick?

Ticks are the primary carriers of Lyme disease, and they are most active during the warmer months. Dogs that spend time outdoors, especially in wooded or grassy areas, are at a higher risk of encountering ticks.

To gauge their risk, consider the following factors:

Geographic location

Lyme disease is more prevalent in certain regions, so the risk varies depending on where you live.

Tick prevalence

Some areas have a higher population of ticks, increasing the likelihood of transmission.

Tick species

Not all ticks carry Lyme disease. The black-legged tick, also known as the deer tick, is the primary vector for Lyme disease.

Outdoor activities

Dogs that frequently engage in outdoor activities like hiking or camping are at a higher risk of tick exposure.

Remember that prevention is key. Regular tick checks and the use of tick preventive products recommended by your veterinarian can significantly reduce the risk of Lyme disease.

Is Lyme Disease Curable in Dogs?

The good news is that Lyme disease in dogs is treatable, especially when detected early.

Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to target the bacteria responsible for the infection. In most cases, dogs respond well to treatment and show improvement within days.

However, it's important to note that some dogs may develop chronic Lyme disease, leading to recurring symptoms. If your dog experiences a relapse or persistent symptoms, consult with your veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment options.

How to Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs

Preventing Lyme disease is more manageable than dealing with its consequences. Here are some effective strategies to protect your dog:

Tick checks

After outdoor activities, particularly ones in long grass, thoroughly inspect your dog for ticks. Pay close attention to areas like the ears, between the toes, and around the neck.

Tick preventives

Consult your vet for tick preventive products that are safe and suitable for your dog's age and size. Vets are more frequently administering tick treatment tablets that look and taste like a treat, making it extra easy to give to your pooch.

Maintain a tick-free garden

Keep your garden tick-free by mowing the grass regularly and removing leaf litter and tall weeds.

Avoid tick-prone areas

When possible, steer clear of tick-infested areas during peak tick season.


In regions with a high prevalence of Lyme disease, consider vaccinating your dog against the disease. Consult your vet for guidance.