Dogs, Ticks, and New York City

June 3, 2016

It’s easy to forget that there is wilderness in the city. And with the warmer seasons getting hot and heavy, we’re going to be going out a bit more and getting into some mischief with our dogs! On one hand, we are super lucky that the city offers us a huge amount of parks, woods, and hiking. On the other, we have to remember that there wasn’t always a Concrete Jungle here. In fact, when Manhattan was just…well, an island… it was busy forest and farm land. So, this summer, remember that even though we are surrounded by buildings and concrete, we and our pups are still at risk for ticks.


Are There Ticks In New York City?

Yup! Just like most of New York State, ticks are around. In the city, there are:

American Dog Ticks
Long Star Ticks
Blacklegged Ticks*
These are the most common in New York City. There are, of course, other minor ticks around. Even in the most curated parks, there is always a little risk. If you ask me, there’s always a rogue bug!
While humans can wear long pants, or avoid straying off the path to avoid tick-threats, dogs have a mind of their own. A fun stick, a squirrel, or even just pure curiosity may draw your pup into grass, woods, weeds…
Recently, ticks carrying diseases were found in Pelham Bay Park, a few parks in Staten Island, and on the boarder of Queens and Brooklyn. Usually, ticks are found where deer populations are.

Are There Deer In Central Park?

A lot of New Yorkers may be concerned with ticks in Central Park. As I said earlier, even the most well-kept places are subject. Although there really aren’t deer there, ticks are spread by all sorts of critters. Squirrels, mice, and hey, do you remember the Riverside Coyote sightings?
They also can attach onto our dogs, and spread around the city without us realizing.tick2

Signs Of A Tick Bite In Dogs

Just like they do with humans, ticks attach and drink from dogs. They’re just as susceptible to tick-spread diseases as we are, including lime disease and paralysis.
When it comes to spotting the early signs, there are a few little things you can pin point. But remember: If you suspect anything go to the vet!
For lime disease, the kidneys begin to slowly shut down. This causes digestion problems, because the body is no longer filtering toxins efficiently. Diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and lack of energy could be warnings. You may also see your pup walking stiffly, or develop a fever.

Other diseases (like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever) cause similar symptoms. Lameness, stiff joints, and fevers are part of the calling card. If you start to notice any odd behavior, take your pup tot the vet and have a check up. Better safe than sorry!

Preventing and Dealing With Tick Bites

First step will always be to keep your dog up-to-date on his repellents. There are many options to choose from, and being proactive there will help your dog be active in the parks.

Second is to keep an eye on where your dog is playing. Ticks like long grass, and the moist leaves that cover the ground. If your pup likes rolling around in leaf piles, or frolicking through weeds and brush, you should give him a look over before you head home.

Third , know where you’re going. There are a lot of wonderful hiking trails outside the city, but going deeper may up the chances of tick-exposure. If you’re simply going to enjoy one of the great parks in New York, check out what wild life live in the area.

And of course, fourth: If you find a tick on your pup, don’t panic. Very gently grab a pair of tweezers and clasp the tick as close to your dog’s skin as possible. You want to try to grab it’s head, and carefully (very carefully) pull the insect away. Once you have detached it, it’s recommended that you put it in a jar of alcohol. This is precautionary.
Watch your dog for odd behavior, and look for a rash under his fur. If you notice anything and are worried, take your dog and the tick to your vet.


This is just a beginner’s guide to navigating ticks in New York City. With all the wonderful resources we have for hike, swim, and play in and around the city, we can’t forget that beyond the concrete there are forests and fields. Take a look at the City’s guide to Tick-Borne Diseases to get more detailed information, and how ticks affect us. But as always, enjoy the warmer weather with your family and dogs!

*The Blacklegged tick is less common in the city. But’s its here!

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