Species Spotlight: Brown Dog Tick

As a tick control company, we at Mosquito Authority make it a priority to educate our customers on these pests. Ticks, apart from being a nuisance in your backyard, pose many potential health risks to you and your family– including the furry ones. There are a variety of tick species that inhabit the United States, and it is important to understand the differences between them in order to practice proper tick control.

Last week we told you about the lone star tick, which tends to inhabit the eastern half of the United States and is responsible for transmitting diseases such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Heartland virus disease. In this week’s Species Spotlight, we will be talking about the Rhipicephalus sanguineus, commonly referred to as the brown dog tick. Read on to learn more about where brown dog ticks live, what diseases they spread, and more:

Where do they live?

Unlike other tick species that are only found in a specific region, brown dog ticks can be found worldwide. While these ticks inhabit areas all throughout the United States, they are particularly common in the southern states. Brown dog ticks tend to infest areas where there is a lot of human activity, especially homes

How long do they live and what is their life cycle?

Unlike other species, brown dog ticks can spend their entire lives indoors and can sometimes complete their life cycles in just three months. Another thing that differentiates these ticks from other species is that they prefer to feed on one host throughout their entire life cycle. Brown dog ticks can also carry different diseases at different stages of their lives.

Are they dangerous to humans?

Although their name might suggest otherwise, brown dog ticks do in fact feed on humans in rare cases. When they cannot find an animal to bite, these ticks will resort to getting blood meals from human hosts. Brown dog ticks do not typically transmit diseases to humans, but they can infect humans with Rocky Mountain spotted fever on rare occasions.

Are they dangerous to animals?

Ticks of this species are particularly dangerous to dogs. As their name suggests, brown dog ticks can transmit a variety of diseases to dogs such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, canine ehrlichiosis, and canine babesiosis. These types of ticks transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever in all stages of life, whereas they can only infect dogs with canine ehrlichiosis and canine babesiosis during the nymph and adult life stages. 

When are they active?

Brown dog ticks are active throughout the year during all stages of life, so it is important to practice proper tick control at all times.

What do they look like?

Nymph and adult brown dog ticks are reddish-brown in color. These ticks do not have any unique markings on their bodies.

How can I protect myself and my pets from brown dog ticks?

Here are just a few common tick control methods that can help protect you and your dogs from brown dog ticks:

  • Check your dogs for ticks every time they come back into your house
  • Remove leaf litter from your yard
  • Remove ticks right away if you find one on your pet 
  • Mow your lawn often
  • Hire a local tick control company

The more you know about ticks, the better you can prevent them from invading your yard. While there are preventative measures you can take to avoid ticks, the best thing you can do is hire a professional. To find your local tick control company, click here.