Although we encourage dog owners to install a dog fence for complete dog health, there are medical concerns that all pet owners must be aware of such as the risk of dog ticks. Ticks are usually not found indoors, but in outdoor settings like backyards, trails, and wooded areas. Here is what we know about American Dog Ticks:
Male Ticks usually die once they mate with a female; but female American Dog Ticks lives in grassy areas with little tree coverage. They can live up to two years if a host is not located. As with other types of ticks, they do not fly or jump, but instead crawl from the ground up. They feed on a variety of warm-blooded hosts including deer and humans and even domestic dogs. They are predominately brown in color with white "veins" on their back (shield).
Adult American dog ticks commonly feed on humans; but they do not transmit Lyme Disease; however, they can transmit other pathogens including the Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia - similar to Lone Star Ticks. Adult male and female dog ticks are active from April-early August and can be found in grassland, bushes or under leaves.
After outdoor activity, be sure to do a thorough tick-check on your pets. If your active dog becomes lethargic, unable to eat or sleep, there is the possibility that your dog was bitten by a dog tick. If you think your dog was bit, remove the tick immediately with a tick removal tool. Be sure to reach for the head and not the body, as the head may remain stuck in the skin. (Do not burn the area!) Once the task is complete, clean the area with rubbing alcohol and take the tick to the vet for identification.
Spot-on treatments are available to prevent and kill dog ticks including medicated dog shampoos, tick collars and tick dips. Talk to your vet about these types of dog tick prevention tools.
American Dog Ticks are a concern for both humans and pets. Know what to look for and be aware of the signs.