Ticks are flat insects that are more or less the size of a small kernel of corn. Although they are small at first, ticks actually expand to many times their normal size right after a good meal. Dog ticks can live from anywhere between ten and twenty three weeks, depending on their ability to find a victim on which they would prey on.
Ticks usually attach themselves around the areas of the head, chest, belly, and front legs. The female tick needs to suck on blood not only for feeding but also for mating. Once the female tick finds a host, it fastens its legs to a hair shaft and then buries its mouths through the skin.
When the female tick is firmly locked with the host, it is then ready to feed and to mate with a male tick. A female tick significantly swells up after feeding, about fifty times more than its regular size.
After the female tick has mated, it will begin laying eggs. Female ticks lay an enormous number of eggs, usually up to 5,000 of them. These massive numbers of eggs are able to incubate in cracks and crevices all around the house. With enough warm climates, ticks can breed at any time, all year round.
Ticks are very dangerous parasites. They pose a threat not only to dogs and other animals but also to people that they come in contact with. They are responsible for transmitting certain types of illness to humans such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Lyme disease, encephalitis, and tularemia.
In addition to causing skin irritation and itching, ticks can do severe damage to a dog. There are certain types of dog ticks that emit a poisonous substance that can actually paralyze their hosts. Among these types are the scrub ticks and the bush ticks.
Once the tick problem becomes more than just a skin irritation and turns into Lyme disease, symptoms of this illness include fever, listlessness, and sudden start of lameness along with pain, warmth and swelling in one or more joints. Also, a circular area or skin inflammation around the tick bite may be visible, although it may be hard to detect because of the dog's coat.
To prevent tick exposure, use a flea and tick spray that is recommended by your vet before taking your dog into an area containing thick vegetation. Also keep your grass and plants well trimmed. This decreases the amount of ticks you and your dog may run into.
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