Types of Ticks

All types of ticks are health hazards and can transmit diseases. Hence, you should never touch them with bare hands but use the protection of gloves and tweezers if you find any parasites attached to your dog’s fur or skin.

Ticks on Dogs

Ticks are blood-sucking, wingless creatures of the arachnid family that are similar to spiders and have 8 legs. They generally live in wooded, grassy and damp areas and are light or dark grey in color. They are parasitic by nature, and feed on their host’s blood. They attach themselves to areas with little hair on dogs such as in and around the ears, on the inner sides of the legs and between the toes.

The life span of a tick can vary from several months to years. Female ticks can lay hundreds of eggs at a time. For all life cycle stages except the egg stage, a tick needs a host to survive on and get blood from.

Types of Dog Ticks

Two types of dog ticks are found in the US. These include the American dog tick and the Brown dog tick. A tick infestation can go undetected in the early stages, especially if your pet has a dark or furry coat.

American Dog Ticks

American dog ticks, also known as wood ticks, are reddish brown in color. Their scientific name is Dermacentor variabilis and they can survive for long periods without food. The male of the species has silver lines on the body and the female has a silver spot. They are hard shell ticks that embed themselves under the host’s skin.

The female can triple in size while feeding and when engorged, can lay hundreds of eggs. The diseases they transmit are the Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.

Life Cycle of American Dog Ticks

Eggs are laid on the ground and can take a month to hatch. The newly hatched larvae climb on grasses and wait to attach themselves to a host. They can wait as long as a year. Once attached to a host, they feed for a maximum of 2 weeks before falling to the ground and becoming nymphs. Nymphs also can survive for six months without a host. They feed for a maximum of 10 days on the host dog before molting into adult ticks.

Adults can starve for 2 years and once they attach to the host dog, they feed for a maximum of 13 days. They mate on the host after which the female falls to the ground to lay eggs and die.

Brown Dog Ticks

Brown dog ticks are hard ticks and their scientific name is Rhipicephalus sanguineus. They are wood ticks that feed mainly on dogs and are prevalent worldwide. They spread canine ehrlichiosis and canine babesiosis in dogs. The symptoms of canine ehrlichiosis are lameness and fever and those of canine babesiosis are fever, anemia and anorexia.

Life Cycle of Brown Dog Ticks

The stages of the life cycle include eggs, larvae, nymphs and adults. Larvae feed on the host for a maximum of 7 days and then molt. They develop into nymphs in 2 weeks and feed for 10 days before molting. Adult males feed for short periods of time. Adult females feed for as long as a week, molt, lay thousands of eggs and then die.

Regular grooming of your pet and mowing of the grass in your yard can prevent an infestation of ticks.