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What Are American Dog Ticks?

American dog ticks are parasitic pests that are not pleasant to have around. The sneaky pests can make your family and your pet sick. Even if you don’t have dogs, cats, or domestic animals, you still need to know about the American dog tick and the many threats that they present.

image of a tick

What Do American Dog Ticks Look Like?

The American dog tick, also called the dog tick or the wood tick, is small and brown with a large, round body. An unfed female is about 5 mm long, and the male measures 3.6 mm. The dog tick has 8 legs and grayish silver markings on the back of its body. The body looks like a shield. When the tick is fully engorged with blood after feeding, the body transforms into a light brown color and the size increases up to 10-15 mm.

Where Are American Dog Ticks Found?

An American dog tick can latch on to its host out in the woods, on a hiking trail, and even in your own backyard. Ticks gather when mammals are present. The scent of animals brings ticks out to roadsides and trails where they can get onto you and your pets. American dog ticks prefer areas that are grassy and vegetation is low.

What Do American Dog Ticks Eat?

Unfortunately, American dog ticks feed on blood. They start feeding on the blood of mammals almost immediately, but larvae can survive nearly a year without feeding. When larvae hatch, they start questing. This means that the young ticks hang out mostly on the ground or climb vegetation and wait for small animals to go by so they can latch on. At this stage, they feed primarily on mice (deer mice and house mice) and other small rodents.

After a week and a half of feeding, they fall off the host and molt into the nymph stage. When ticks enter the nymph stage, they start feeding on larger mammals such as squirrels, opossum, cats, and raccoons. Your kids are also susceptible at this stage if they are playing outside and crawling around on the ground. After feeding for at least 10 days, ticks fall off the host and molt into an adult. A nymph can survive as long as 6 months without feeding.

When the nymph molts into an adult, it begins to feed on larger mammals. The adult stays in the lower vegetation and grasps on to the larger mammal when it passes. Deer, dogs, cats, and humans are ideal hosts at this stage. An adult will feed on its host for nearly 2 weeks before dropping off.

Are American Dog Ticks Dangerous?

Yes, American dog ticks are dangerous. They don’t have a venomous bite and they don’t sting, but they do transmit a bacterial into the host’s bloodstream. The pathogens in its saliva cause canine tick paralysis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, and babesiosis. In smaller animals, the depletion of the blood can cause anemia. If you or your pet are bitten by a tick, don’t hesitate to get the area examined by a professional.

Does Innovative Pest Control Get Rid Of Ticks?

You don’t have to live with ticks in your yard. Innovative Pest Control has an extensive outdoor tick control program that helps keep you, your family, and your pets healthy. To find out more about our tick control solutions, call or email us at Innovative Pest Control today!

American Dog Tick Prevention Tips

A few changes can help you and your family prevent and avoid American dog tick troubles.

  • Mow your lawn often and keep vegetation low.
  • Use tick and flea products on your animals if they go outside.
  • Inspect clothing and bodies when coming in from outside.
  • Inspect your dog or cat for ticks when they come inside.
  • Use bug repellent and avoid dark clothing when outside. If you wear lightly colored clothing, ticks are easier to spot.
  • Do not walk your dog in areas of tall grass.

Call us now for your inspection and professional tick control program.

image of a big tick

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