The brown dog tick is the most common tick found in our neck of the woods. It is usually a
dark red-brown in color when not engorged. The male is 1/8 inch long with eight legs and tiny
pits scattered over it's back. The female resembles the male until she begins to feed,
however, as she consumes blood from a host dog, she enlarges to eventually become 1/2
inch long, 1/8 inch thick and 1/4 inch wide. The legs, mouth parts and shield remain red-
brown but the enlarged area becomes olive-gray.
Mating occurs while the adults are on the body of the host animal. The engorged female will
seek a quiet location to lay her eggs and has a tendency to move upward toward the cracks
and crevices near the ceiling or roof of kennels. She will lay as many as 1,200 to 3,000 eggs
and then die soon after. The eggs will hatch into six-legged larvae in 19 to 60 days. The larvae
will then move down the wall and attach to a dog as soon as possible and the cycle will start
over again. The entire life cycle can be completed in approximately two months.
The Brown Dog Tick is almost exclusively a parasite of dogs but has been known to attach to
humans on rare occasions.
Once a Brown Dog Tick has attached to a dog, it will fill with blood in three to six days. They
can cause a host of problems for dogs including causing "tick fever." Symptoms of "tick
fever" include; loss of appetite, depression, fever, painful joints, bloody nose, and pale gums,
however the dog doesn't have to have the symptoms to have the disease.
The flea and tick season generally lasts from early Spring to late fall. However, living in a
warm climate such as West Texas, it's possible that you could see them all year round.
Successful brown dog tick control requries a three step program consisting of:
2) Tick control on the premises with pesticides
3) Tick control on the dogs
The infested home or kennel should be thoroughly cleaned to eliminate as many of the ticks as possible. When you have
carpet as a floor covering, you need to vacuum throughly and dispose of the vaccuum cleaner bag. Pet bedding and
resting areas should be given special attention. The infested dog should be treated by a veterinarian on the same day the
premises are treated. The premises occupied by the pet must also be thoroughly treated to control ticks that have
dropped off the dog and are residing in harborage areas. Residual sprays should be applied carefully to all potential tick