Ticks & Dogs

Ticks are arachnids related to scorpions, spiders and mites.

They are parasites that feed on the blood of their host, which can be an animal or a human.

Ticks are dangerous because they are proficient carriers of disease.

When they attach firmly to the host, to feed themselves sucking blood, may go undetected for a significant period of time.

boxer tick

[box style=’doc’]Clinical signs of tick-borne disease may not be evident for 7-21 days or longer after a tick bites, so observe your dog carefully for changes in behavior or appetite if your dog was bitten by a tick.[/box]

Tick season is usually started in late April to early May and ends on July. Over the few past years, ticks are becoming present all year long, they are adapting to adverse environmental conditions and learning to survive.

Ticks wait for dogs on the tips of grasses and other vegetation. When brushed by a moving animal, they rapidly let go of the vegetation and climb onto the host. Ticks can crawl, they cannot fly or jump very high.

Tick’s Life Cycle

Ticks have four distinct life stages: eggs, larvae, nymphae and adults.

ticks and dogs

Male hard ticks frequently die after mating with one or more females. Females die after laying their eggs in sheltered habitats on the ground. And the life cycle restarts.

The life cycle needs from 2 months to more than 2 years to complete, depending on the tick’s species.

Types of ticks

There are 2 kinds of ticks:

  • Ixodidae also known as “hard” ticks. They have a hard shield behind the mouthparts; unfed hard ticks are shaped like a flat seed.
  • Argasidae also known as “soft” ticks. They do not have the hard shield and they are shaped like a raisin. Soft ticks prefer to feed on birds or bats than in dogs.

There are at least 15 species of ticks in North America. However, only a few of these species are expected to be found in your dog:

  • American dog ticks are appealed by the scent of animals, and humans. You can find them near roads, paths, trails and recreational areas. Though present all year round, American dog ticks are most abundant in the spring. They are outdoor ticks and are dependent on climatic and environmental conditions.
  • Lone star ticks will bite dogs and humans. These ticks usually live in wooded and brushy areas and are most abundant in the underbrush along creeks and river limits and near animal sleeping places. Lone star ticks are present throughout the year, but nymphae populations are more plentiful in March to May and in July or August.
  • Deer or Blacklegged ticks are usually found in wooded areas beside trails. The larvae and nymphae are active in the spring and early summer; adults may be active in both the spring and fall. This kind of tick can transmit Lyme disease and ehrlichiosis to dogs and humans.
  • Brown dog ticks feed on dogs, but infrequently bites people. Its life cycle allows this species to survive and develop indoors. It is found primarily in kennels or homes with dogs, where it may be found hiding in cracks, behind radiators, under rugs and furniture, and on curtains and walls. This tick is tropical in origin and does not live long in cold winters outdoors.

Tick Prevention

There are different types of tick preventatives accessible in the marketplace. Some products are available over the counter, while others are only obtainable through your veterinarian. There is no vaccine available for tick control.

You can easily find effective monthly preventatives that are applied to the skin at the back of the neck and represent a suitable method of control for these external parasites (e.g. K9 Advantix II, Frontline Plus, Activyl Tickplus).

K9 Advantic II

K9 Advantix II

>>> Get it at 1-800-PetMeds <<<

Frontline Plus

Frontline Plus

>>> Get it at 1-800-PetMeds <<<

Alternatively you can use anti-parasite collars with different duration lengths of the repellent effect (e.g. Seresto, Preventic, Scalibor).

Seresto

Seresto

>>> Get it at 1-800-PetMeds <<<

One more option is a product recently launched on the market Bravecto from MSD. It is the first external anti-parasite product presented as an oral chew. One chew provides broad-spectrum and long-lasting protection that starts to eradicate fleas within 2 hours. In addition, it controls the four common tick species in Northern America. Bravecto requires a prescription from your veterinarian.

Bravecto

bravecto

>>> Get it at 1-800-PetMeds <<<

Your veterinarian will help you to keep your dog parasites free. He can give you some advice about the choice of the more suitable parasite preventative for your Boxer.