September 23, 2023
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread through ticks that can affect dogs, causing symptoms such as limping, fever, weight loss, and lethargy. Early detection and treatment are crucial for a successful recovery. Learn how to spot the signs of Lyme disease in dogs and how to protect your furry friend.


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that occurs in humans and animals, including dogs. It is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is spread through the bite of an infected tick. If left untreated, the disease can cause serious health problems in dogs, including joint damage and nerve damage. Recognizing the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs is essential for prompt treatment and recovery.

The Top 10 Signs Your Dog Might Have Lyme Disease

Some of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include:

  1. Lameness, reluctance to move or walk, or stiffness
  2. These are often the most noticeable symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs where the dog shows signs of soreness or pain in the joints.

  3. Fever, and lethargy
  4. Dogs infected with Lyme disease often show signs of fever or lethargy, which is a general lack of energy or enthusiasm.

  5. Loss of appetite and weight loss
  6. When dogs are fighting an infection, their appetite and eating habits can change. This can cause weight loss, which is a serious concern.

  7. Sensitive to touch
  8. A dog with Lyme disease may be sensitive to touch and may flinch or wince when touched or petted.

  9. Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  10. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease can affect the respiratory system, causing difficulty breathing or swallowing.

  11. Swollen joints or lymph nodes
  12. Lyme disease can cause the joints or lymph nodes to swell, which can sometimes be visible or noticeable to the touch.

  13. Digestive upset, including diarrhea or vomiting
  14. In some cases, dogs with Lyme disease may experience digestive upset, causing diarrhea or vomiting.

  15. Urinary problems and frequency
  16. Dogs with Lyme disease may also experience urinary incontinence or difficulty urinating, including blood in urine.

  17. Eye and vision problems
  18. In rare cases, dogs with Lyme disease may experience eye or vision problems.

  19. Cranial nerve abnormalities
  20. Dogs with advanced Lyme disease can develop neurological symptoms, including cranial nerve abnormalities, which can cause facial paralysis and a droopy appearance.

Understanding Lyme Disease in Dogs: Recognizing Symptoms and Seeking Treatment

Lyme disease is caused by the transmission of the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi through tick bites. Once the bacteria enters the bloodstream, it can spread to other parts of the body, causing a range of symptoms. In dogs, the first sign of Lyme disease is often limping or reluctance to move due to joint pain and stiffness. Other symptoms include lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious health problems, including kidney damage, nerve damage, and arthritis.

It’s important for pet owners to recognize the signs of Lyme disease in dogs and seek veterinary care immediately. The veterinarian will perform a physical exam and may order blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment plan. Antibiotics are often prescribed to clear the infection, and pain medication may be given to alleviate discomfort. In severe cases, hospitalization and intravenous fluids may be necessary to support the dog’s recovery.

How to Spot Lyme Disease in Your Dog: A Guide for Pet Owners

To spot Lyme disease in your dog, it’s essential to regularly check your dog for ticks and watch for any changes in behavior or appearance. Some steps you can take include:

  • Regularly check your dog for ticks, paying close attention to areas with hair, such as the ears, neck, and head.
  • Remove ticks carefully using tweezers or a tick remover tool, being careful to remove the entire tick, including the head.
  • Watch for signs of limping or reluctance to move, and check for any swelling or tenderness in the joints.
  • Monitor your dog’s appetite and look for changes, including a loss of appetite or weight loss.
  • Watch for any changes in behavior, such as lethargy or a lack of enthusiasm.
  • Take your dog to the vet for regular check-ups and report any unusual symptoms.

A Comprehensive List of Symptoms for Lyme Disease in Dogs

In addition to the top 10 signs listed above, pet owners should also watch for other symptoms that may indicate Lyme disease, including:

  • Muscle stiffness or weakness
  • Frequent coughing
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Changes in behavior or temperament
  • Seizures or other neurological symptoms
  • Eye discharge or conjunctivitis
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Facial paralysis
  • Immune system depression

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately.

Don’t Miss These Warning Signs of Lyme Disease in Your Furry Friend

Early detection and treatment of Lyme disease in dogs is essential for a successful recovery. Some of the most important warning signs to watch out for include:

  • Changes in behavior or activity level
  • Limping or reluctance to move
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Fever or lethargy
  • Pain or tenderness in the joints

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, it’s important to seek veterinary care immediately. With prompt treatment, most dogs can make a full recovery from Lyme disease.


Lyme disease is a serious health concern for dogs, but with regular check-ups and preventative measures like tick removal, pet owners can help protect their furry friends from this bacterial infection. By recognizing the symptoms of Lyme disease and seeking veterinary care as soon as possible, pet owners can help their dogs make a full recovery and return to a happy, healthy life.

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