Can Dogs Get Rabies From Ticks?

By John Martin - May 7, 2021

Tick found on a dog

Your furry friend is like your family member. If your dog gets ticks on the fur, it is challenging to clean and carries several risks. So, can dogs get rabies from ticks?

No, dogs cannot get rabies from ticks. Ticks are parasites that live on the outer skin of animals. They attach themselves to animals to suck their blood. At the same time, rabies is a virus that usually spreads through bites or saliva of other infected or rabid animals.

That said, some life-threatening diseases can be caused by ticks. Read on to know more about these infections and how you can protect your furry friend from them.

Are Rabies and Ticks Connected?

Rabies can spread through wild animals such as bats, raccoons, foxes, and other animals. The virus is present in the saliva of infected animals. It can get transmitted to healthy animals and humans if their hands, nose, or open wounds come in contact with the saliva.

Another way of dogs getting rabies is through the bites of an infected animal. Additionally, your furry-friend may be prone to this disease through a scratch.

Ticks and rabies have no scientific connection. Though several animals are carriers of rabies, these parasites are not one of them. If a tick bites a rabid dog or any other animal, it will surely get the disease. However, the rabies virus will only exist in them for around three days.

It is clear that ticks do not usually transfer rabies to your dog. However, there is an exception to this theory. If a tick feeds on a rabid animal and then travels to your furball, it possibly carried the diseased. In such a rare case, when the tick will suck on the doggo, rabies may get transferred.

Though the possibility of this incident is quite rare, dogs have a threat of getting some serious diseases from ticks.

Related: Can Dogs Get Brain Freeze?

How Can Ticks Affect Your Dog?

While they feed on dogs, ticks can transmit severe disease-carrying bacteria to the host. These parasites are widely spreading and are harmful to both pets and humans. The risk of your doggo getting ticks becomes even more if your dog has thick fur.

Ticks can affect your dogs in several ways, the most common of which is sucking too much blood. It can make your furry-friend anemic. Worst-case scenario, your doggie may get paralysis due to a toxin excreted by ticks.

Tick-Borne Diseases That Your Dog is Prone To

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

It is one of the most common diseases caused by ticks in humans as well as doggos. Some ticks that carry this disease are the Rocky Mountain Wood, Brown Deer, and American Dog ticks.

Signs and symptoms of the rocky mountain spotted fever include swollen lymph nodes, fever, low-appetite, and joint pain.

Lyme Disease

This disease is mostly caused by Borrelia, which is a bacteria carried by the Deer tick. If your furball shows symptoms like limping, fever, lethargy, it is possibly infected. However, you cannot see the signs until after 2-5 months of the tick bite.

Borrelia is transmitted to the body of your doggie after the tick is attached to it for 36-48 hours. It can only be diagnosed through blood tests.


Similar to Lyme disease, anaplasmosis is caused by the Black-legged or Deer tick. It can cause lethargy, weak limbs, and a lack of coordination in the movement among muscles.


This is a disease commonly caused by ticks. However, it can also get transmitted through dog bites. If your doggo shows symptoms of jaundice, pale gums, and lethargy, it is likely suffering from babesiosis.


Along with common symptoms such as fever and poor appetite, this disease also causes nose bleeding. It occurs due to a decrease in the level of blood platelets. You may notice these signs in your furball after 1-3 weeks of the tick bite.


Caused by a protozoan called Hepatozoon, this disease primarily occurs after a doggie ingests a tick. What makes hepatozoonosis different from other tick-borne diseases is that it cannot get transmitted from dogs to humans.

Your furry-baby may get excessively lethargic and show signs of fever or anemia if infected by a Hepatozoon.

How Can You Protect Your Dog From Ticks and Rabies?

Ticks can place themselves on your doggo’s skin outdoors as well as indoors. So, it is clear that your furball is not completely safe from rabies or tick-borne diseases, even if it doesn’t go out.

So, what‘s the solution? How can you protect your dog from ticks and rabies?

Regular Grooming of Your Furball

Dogs love to be outdoors. Moreover, daily walks are necessary for their health. So it is obvious that you cannot keep your four-legged friend indoors throughout the day. However, you can pay attention to his regular grooming.

Giving your regular furball baths will not only keep the baby clean but also give the two of you some quality time. You must brush its coat at least 2-3 times a week, if not every day. This will help its fur stay free from ticks as well as other germs and viruses.

Related: Can You Use Human Nail Clippers On Dogs?

Make Your Surroundings Tick-Proof

You cannot make your doggo completely tick-proof, but you can do so to your yard as well as home. Make sure you keep your lawn clean at all times by regularly cutting the grass, decaying leaves, removing heaps, etc. Additionally, always keep your trash cans tightly closed.

What’s more? Disinfect your house regularly to make it safe for you as well as your furry mate.

Immediate Action After a Bite

If your furry-baby gets bitten by another dog (or any other animal), immediately consult a vet. It is possible that the pet or wild animal that bit or even scratched your furball may be infected. This is most likely to occur if the other dog did not receive the routine vaccine.

Get Your Dog Vaccinated

Though ticks do not have a vaccine, fortunately, there is one to protect your pets as well as yourself from rabies. Make sure that your dog’s rabies vaccine is up to date.

Its first shot should be given to your puppy at the age of 12 weeks. After one year of the first dose, you must take your doggo for the second one. For the rest of the life, make sure to take your furball for the rabies vaccine once every three years.

Natural Tricks and Remedies

You can use some natural ways to keep yourself as well as your doggo free from ticks. Cedar oil is one of the most-effective ways to not only prevent but also kill ticks. You can get a spray of this natural oil for both of you.

Before you head for a hike with your dog, you can apply some essential oils to your doggie. These include eucalyptus, neem, almond, peppermint, etc.

Yet another way of staying tick-proof is making a spray yourself. You can use daily items such as lemon, apple cider vinegar, orange, or lavender to prepare a spray or oil. A combination of some or all of these will effectively keep ticks away.

Wrapping Up

Though ticks do not spread rabies, they are a nuisance and can sometimes lead to severe diseases. That applies to both doggies as well as humans. On the other hand, rabies can easily spread from several wild animals as well as the saliva of a rabid dog.

That does not mean you need to fear any of these. Keep your four-legged friend vaccinated and regularly groomed the baby to help him stay safe and healthy!