How Long Can a Tick Live on a Dog?


Ticks can pose a serious threat to your dog’s health, so it is important to learn about how they affect your pet.

If you are going to take your dog into the woods or through tall grass, exposure to ticks is always a concern.

How Does a Dog get Ticks?

It is a lot easier for a dog to get ticks than you might think. This usually occurs in areas with lots of trees. Ticks hang out in leaves and branches, waiting for animals to come by. A tick can jump on your dog very quickly. They can jump pretty far, making it easy to attach themselves to their host.

You should make a point of checking your dog for ticks after taking it through dense woods or a field with tall grass. Both of these environments could be rife with ticks, so it is important to check your pet when you get home.

Ticks are extremely small and can be difficult to see with the naked eye. Run a fine tooth comb through your dog’s coat to ensure that you don’t miss anything.

Life Cycle of the Tick

Ticks go through four different stages in their life, including:

  • Laying eggs: First a tick will lay anywhere from three to four thousand eggs at once. After a female tick has gorged itself on a host, it will fall off and begin laying its eggs.
  • Egg legged nymph: When the tick’s eggs hatch, they produce eight-legged nymphs. These little ticks come out craving blood and need it to survive. They cannot make it to the next phase of the life cycle without find a host.
  • Adult: The adult tick must also keep finding a new host to gorge on. Some ticks can go a weeks or even months without feeding.
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tick on dog

Types of Ticks

There are a number of different types of ticks throughout the country. Some areas of the U.S. have more a tick variety than others.

Seed ticks only feed for a total of five days before they fall off the host and begin maturing into adults.

An adult tick could spend up to three years on your dog before it falls off, depending on the type. The average tick only lives on its host for about a week or two.

The American Dog Tick

The American dog tick is found almost exclusively outdoors, as it does not tend to infest residences. These ticks feed on just about any animal, as long as they can get blood from it. These ticks even jump onto cattle, feasting on their blood for up to months at a time. This makes for one long and delicious meal for these ticks.

These ticks are actually attracted to certain animals’ scents, including dogs. They can be found near forest paths and roads, lying in wait for their next unsuspecting victim. Female dog ticks lay upwards of 6,000 eggs at a time. A standard nymph can go without food for over a year, which is pretty impressive to say the least.

Adult dog ticks almost always look for big animals to feed on so they can get as much blood from them as possible. They will, however, jump onto smaller dogs if given the opportunity. Once a tick has climbed onto a dog, they will start feeding right away.

tick dog

Protecting Your Dog from Ticks

While it can be rather difficult to protect your dog from ticks when going outside, there are a few tips that you should keep in mind.

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Getting Rid of Ticks Around Your Home

If you know that you have a problem with ticks around your home, it is important to get it under control as soon as possible. There are numerous products that you can spray around to minimize their presence, but you should do your research. Make sure that you do not inadvertently put your dog’s health at risk by doing this.

Maintain Your Property

Keeping your law mowed and maintained is another good way to prevent ticks from jumping onto your pet. Ticks thrive in areas with tall grass, as they seek the higher ground and spring onto their hosts when the opportunity arises. By keeping your law short, you won’t provide them with the chance to do this.

Be Aware of Tick Populations

You should try to stay current on tick populations that have been identified in certain areas that you go with your dog. While it is impossible to always know which areas have ticks and what types are present, this can help. The more of this information you get, the easier it will be to protect your canine companion.

Dangers of Ticks on Dogs

There are a number of potentially serious things that ticks can pass on to both humans and dogs, including Lyme disease. If it is not treated soon, it can cause permanent damage in a number of ways.

Some of the common signs of Lyme disease in dogs include:

  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Stiff walking
  • Struggling to breathe normally
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
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  • Ticks go through three stages in their life cycle-Adult, Nymph, and Eggs.
  • The average tick can lay thousands of eggs at once.
  • Your dog is just as susceptible to ticks as you are, especially when in a dense forest or tall grass field.
  • Make sure that you check your dog for ticks after you get back from a hike in an environment where ticks thrive.
  • There are numerous types of ticks, some of which can stay on your dog for over a year before falling off.
  • The average tick will stay on your dog for just one to three weeks.
  • If you have ticks around your home, you should consider spraying the area to minimize this issue and protect your pet.
  • Maintaining your lawn/property is another good way to keep ticks from getting onto your dog.
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