Tick Scab on Dog: Symptoms & Treatments

Tick scab on dog can be a distressing thing to observe and it is common to see this horrible looking scab on your pet friend. After you must have seen what looks like a tick scab on your dog, the next question on your mind is if bites from tick can cause scab and how to take care or treat the scab. 

Sometimes, ticks can look like scab, so it is important that you know the difference between both so that you do not mistake a tick to be scab. Also, when you are sure it is scab, the other thing is to find out if it is caused by a tick bite or anything else. Seeing tick scabs on dog will be a sign that your dog has been suffering from tick bites for some time. A tick scab on dog is a wake-up call for you put measures toward pest control.


Before we talk about tick scab on dog, it is important that we explain what a scab is. A scab is a small patch that forms on the skin after an injury or wound. When your dog gets injured, the blood around the wound starts to clot and thicken, this is caused by the platelets in the dog’s blood.

The clotting is a preventive measure by the body to avoid losing much blood. The clot is also a defense that prevents germs and other harmful things from entering into the body through the wound. So, a scab is just a dried clot, it is part of your dog body’s natural healing process.

A tick scab on dog is a small crusty patch usually reddish-brown in color. This forms after a dog tick bites the pet and leaves a small wound on the skin. The scab is made of blood platelets and other materials that helps to fasten the healing process of the tick bite. 


It is very important to know how a tick scab looks like on a dog as your pet friend cannot tell you if it is a scab or something else. 

  • A scab is crusty, it is one of the best way to differentiate a tick from a scab.
  • The scab is usually dry. If the patch is moist, it may still be a wound and the healing process is yet to start.
  • A scab is normally dark in colour. Scabs form after blood clotting, since it comes from dry blood, it will be dark. The colour can be brown or black unless the scab is infected.
  • A rock scab on dog is usually small in size, a big scab is a sign of something else. In fact, the size is an important factor that tells if you are facing a tick scab or another serious condition.


Is it normal for a bite from a tick to scab? Do tick leave scab on the skin of dogs? These are some of the frequent questions dog owners ask concerning tick and scab. The answer is yes, bites from tick can leave scab on the skin of your pet friend. Remember we explained that scab to form due to wound on the skin and bite from tick is classified as wound. Just like all wounds, this bite cause scab to form on the skin. 

Also, the way your dog reacts to the bite from tick can cause scab to form. Tick bite causes itching and it is natural for your dog to scratch the area. The more your dog scratches the bite, the more wounds and scab appear. The way you remove tick from the skin of your dog can leave a wound and scab. If you forcefully remove blood sucking insect, you can leave wound on the skin of your dog which can cause scabs to form.


One of the things you should know is that you may mistake tick to be scab because both look similar. So, it is important that you know the difference between a tick and scab. The primary difference between a tick and a scab is that a tick is a parasitic insect that feeds and survive by sucking the blood of the host. This insect is common to cats and dogs, it is very harmful and can affect the health of the host.

A tick is usually 0.5mm when small and when matured or have had enough blood, it can reach up to 5 mm. It is naturally black or dark brown in color but there may be red color in some places when filled with blood. A scab on the other hand, is a small, crusty patch formed by clotted blood. It is a preventive measure by the body to avoid loss of too much blood, it is also formed to avoid germs from getting into the body of your dog. 

There are some ways to differentiate a tick from a scab, these ways are:

1. Physical Attributes

A scab is dry blood that has become crusty and flaky over time. When you scratch this crusty patch, you may see blood coming out from them or it leaves dead skin cells on your hand. A scab can fade away after some time, however some will need proper treatment. 

A tick is from the Arachnid family just like a spider. It has eight legs that are long, these legs help them to move faster when they are small but when they grow up due to blood sucking, these legs appear shorter. So, if you notice the scab on your dog becoming bigger with an oval shape, then it is likely to be a tick.

2. Checking the Color

The color of your dog may have little influence on the color of scab found on its skin. If your dog is light colored, the scab will be light shade or brown while a dark colored dog will have dark brown or black scab. This is because scab is made of dry blood and skin material, the skin color will influence it.

But when it comes to tick, the color is either dark brown or black. Whether your dog is light colored or dark, the color is the same. It is easier to find tick on a light colored dog than on a dark colored dog. You will need to carefully search in a dark dog or use a brush to comb it out.

3. Movement

A tick is a bloodsucking insect that is alive, it runs away when you touch it. When when this insect is full with blood or very matured, it will still move although slowly to avoid moving. The tactic is to change location from time to time to avoid getting caught and to find better positions. Scab does not move, it is a patch because the wound itself does not move. When you touch any bump on your dog’s skin and noticed it does not move, it is likely a scab.


Some scab can become infected and if it is not treated, there could be severe health conditions. The infection from this scab can cause dangerous germs and pathogens to breed on the site of the wound. Also, infected scab can cause the wound to become exposed and this will take time to heal.

There are some symptoms that will show the scab is infected like:

  • Redness around the scab
  • Inflammation and rash
  • Swelling
  • Pus from the scab
  • Whine or snap when the scab is touched

You should take your dog to a vet if you notice if the scab has not healed properly after few days or see any of the above signs.

When the infected scab is not treated, there will be side effects like:

The area around the scab becomes hot

  • Severe pain especially when you touch the scab or surrounding skin
  • Sepsis that will lead to green, white or yellow pus coming out of the scab
  • Septic shock
  • Multi organ failure
  • Manges will start to appear on the skin
  • Cancerous tumor and growth
  • Seizure
  • Death in severe cases


Most dog owners ask if they can do anything about the scab on their pet’s skin.

There are some steps you can take to care for the scab, some of them are:

  1. Always keep the scab and surrounding area clean to avoid infection. You can clean with clean water and disinfectant.
  2. Do not pick on the scab as doing so will cause bleeding and reinvigorate wound that is healing 
  3. Do not try to remove the scab by yourself. If the scab stays for a long time, you should see a vet as it may be a sign of a tick-induced disease and not healing process. Sometimes, scab can be a sign that your dog is developing a disease that is caused by tick.


Preventing dog tick attack is the best way to stop your dog from having tick bite scab. Tick is an insect, so you can try to avoid them from coming in contact with your pet friend. Some ways to prevent dog tick attack are:

  • Apply tick repellent around your house and your dog’s house. You can also buy tick repellent cream that will keep this parasitic insect away from your dog.
  • Cut bushes around your house. Long grasses nd bushes are habitats for ticks and other insects.
  • Some medications like Nexgard can protect your dog from tick bites, you can administer it on your dog.
  • Inspect your dog’s skin from time to time and remove ticks when you notice them.


Scab is a preventive measure that avoids blood loss and pathogens from entering your pet’s skin. They go away on their own but some may take long time to go, you should see a vet if this happens. Look out for changes in the scab that will show infection as an infected scab can lead to many health conditions including death of your dog.

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