Your pooch ticked off over ticks? Just a couple of these incredibly pesky creatures can create a full-blown infestation in your yard or home if not treated in time. If ticks are common to your neck of the woods, it's important to get to know your enemy in order to best protect your pooch!
With more than 850 species of ticks laying 3,000 to 4,000 eggs at a time, ticks can be a real problem for dogs. Once filled with blood, female ticks fall off the host, your dog, and lay eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae, called "seed ticks." There are two life stages of seed ticks.
Seed ticks are the larvae of ticks. They have six legs at the first stage of their development. They embed in a host's skin, feed for one to five days, fall to the ground and grow two more legs. Then they look for a second host. The eight-legged seed tick attaches to the second host until fully engorged, a process that takes three to 11 days.
Once a host is found, a mature tick feeds until it swells to 10 times its original size. Some males stay on the host up to three years, engorging, mating and repeating the cycle; females engorge, fall off, lay eggs and die. Some species can stay on your dog for three months, others for three years.
By Michelle A. Rivera
PetMD: Understanding the Tick Life Cycle
Advantix: Questions and Answers
VCA Animal Hospitals: Ticks in Dogs
Tick Bite Prevention Week: What is A Tick?
Centers for Disease Control: Life Cycle of Hard Ticks That Spread Disease
About the Author
Michelle A. Rivera is the author of many books and articles. She attended the University of Missouri Animal Cruelty School and is certified with the Florida Animal Control Association. She is the executive director of her own nonprofit, Animals 101, Inc. Rivera is an animal-assisted therapist, humane educator, former shelter manager, rescue volunteer coordinator, dog trainer and veterinary technician.