Ticks are ectoparasites or external parasites that belong to the class Arachnida and live by feasting on the blood of the host organisms. Their hosts can be any domestic animals like dogs or birds, mammals, and even humans.
They are mostly found in hot and humid climates around the world because this is the temperature the flourish the most in.
All the ticks around the world can be classified into two major families, Ixodidae and Agrasidae. Ixodidae are the hard ticks that are difficult to crush whereas the Agrasidae are the soft ticks.
Their bodies with eight legs are pear-shaped with that become inflated when they drink blood. There is a difference between the mouthparts of hard and soft ticks which makes them different from other each other. Hard ticks have a beak-like structure in place of their mouth that makes them difficult to crush; soft ticks, on the other hand, have their mouthparts beneath their bodies.
Ticks are ectoparasites, that is, they survive by feeding on the blood of other hosts. Also, they are obligate hematophages; means that they drink blood not only as their food but they also need it to move from one life stage to another. However, they can survive without blood for long period of time but they will eventually die if they can’t find a host.
Some of the ticks can attach to any kind of skin they find, while some others look for thinner skins, like the skin of your dog’s ears.
Their feeding time also depends on the stage of life they are at. Some ticks take a few minutes to drink blood while some others can take a few hours as well. They feed by grasping the area of the skin, they cut the skin and then start sucking the blood from there, using their hypostome. Ticks also release an anticoagulant in the blood of your dog due to which the blood of your dog never coagulates while they are feeding.
Now, well if you are wondering how they exactly locate their hosts or your dog, well it is simple. They find their next meal by detecting the body odor and breathe of your dog. They can also sense moisture, heat, and vibrations.
And while they are incapable of flying or jumping so they wait. This process is known as questing in which they cling to the leaves or grasses by using their third and fourth pair of legs. And during all this time, their first pair of legs are outstretched, so that they can cling to your dog as soon as they can.
Now the place where they are questing will also depend on the life stage they are at. We have already mentioned that tick needs blood at every stage of their lives. So, the nymphs of these species tend to hide close the ground. Basically, it is about their size. Even the adult, whose size is not very large will also hide close to the ground. The bigger species or the adults of with considerable body size climb to the higher vegetation, where they can find larger hosts and hence more blood.
So, it depends on the size of your dog as to where it encountered the tick from. If your dog is larger than the probability is that it acquired the tick, hence infection, from a larger plat, or perhaps, trees.
Then some species of tick are hunters by nature, they hide at the resting place of your dog and then attack.
These practices are usually done by the hard ticks or the Ixodidae. Soft ticks or Argasidae on the other hand, find the hosts by directly attacking the nests or burrows or, in some special cases, in the caves of the animals. This practice is called nidicolous. They too, use the olfactory and other stimuli to find their hosts.
Soft ticks, generally infect birds, or in some rare cases, mammals. So, it will be one of the rarest cases that you will find your dog being infected by a soft tick.
Habits of soft ticks are different from their hard counterparts, as they can be removed easily by the host, so they don’t take their sweet time in drinking blood. They finish their diet in merely a few minutes. However, their bites are quite painful.
The hard ticks tend to stay on your dog until they are completely satisfied. After feeding, their weight is 200 to 600 times more than their previous weight. This increase in weight is accommodated by rapid cell division, which makes their cuticle grow large in size. And then the ticks make themselves comfortable on your dog’s skin, staying for a few weeks longer, depending on its life stage.
So, after reading this entire if you are thinking that you won’t allow your precious canine to go out of your house, then you need to know that even if you are not letting it out, all it needs is just a little slip.
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I have mentioned five causes below, which is enough for tick infestation, four causes that you can stop and at the same time, you can’t.
What Causes Ticks on Your Dogs?
Okay, so even if you have decided not to let your dog slip past your watchful eyes, then what about other animals? Your yard isn’t an island, you know that right? Of course, you do. So, you should know this too, that your yard is home to many different kinds of animals. Right?
Squirrels, feral cats, raccoons, and other rodents, these animals are pretty fine carriers of ticks inside your house and eventually to your dog. They tick ridden, and soon you will find that your dog is tick ridden too. These animals are one of the reasons why your dog is tick-ridden.
How to stop this? You can’t prevent entry of other guest animals in your yard completely, but at least you can stop inviting them. Seeds, corns, and nuts work as perfect invitation cards.
So, congratulations! You have successfully prevented the entry of other tick ridden animals inside your house. Good, now come back inside the home and make sure that you are not tick-ridden. And those guests you have invited for dinner tonight, make sure that they are not carrying ticks with them.
Even humans make perfect carriers of ticks, another way of the dreaded tick infection.
This is another reason why your dog is tick infected. It is important to realize that you cannot stop your dogs to rush out of the house. And even if you can then that simple visit to the vet is enough for ticks to infect your canine.
There are some plants that are natural tick repellents. Planting these can prove to be an efficient way to not allow ticks to make your yard plant, a hiding place. However, their absence is another cause of the tick infection.
The best way to actually prevent tick infection is that you inspect your dog daily. Wet its fur, part them and check for any sign of tick infection. Causes are many, and at times, even the tick repellent products can fail too, so regular inspection is the key to a tick-free dog.