Ticks are a pest no one wants, although they aren't as bad as fleas, they can transmit a number of blood related diseases to your dog.
Ticks love to hide in forests, wood areas, and in tall unkempt grass. They will seek out and jump up to warm blooded mammals that so happen to be exploring their territory. Animals such as dears, bears, dogs, cats, raccoons, opossums, cows, and other mammals all can be viewed as a victim in the eyes of a tick.
Ticks will not let go of their host until they are full. It greatly depends on the species of tick, but they can typically suck the blood out of their host for several hours to days on end.
When dogs walk by, the ticks will crawl on them and attach themselves to a place that has little to no hair. This usually means near the base of their toes, near their ears, the floppy skin near their thighs and stomach, and other skin folds.
Check your dog daily to see if they have any ticks wandering around on them, or worse, already embedded. They like to climb to the highest point, where it's warm, so look also on the nape of the neck under the collar, and on ears.
The other truly horrible part of a ticks life cycle is that they then drop off, to lay their eggs. This could be outdoors, but it could also be inside your house. They are hard to get rid of, as they hide in cracks and in the trim around your windows.
There are three main families of ticks. The nuttalliellidae contains a signal species called the nutttalliella namaqua. The other two families are ixodidae, which contain a hard shell, and the argasidae, which contain a softer shell. Soft tick shells are no where as common as hard tick shells and the likeliness of finding them on your pet is extremely rare.
Some common ixodidae ticks are:
Amblyomma is a Lone Star tick. The females have a white dot, otherwise known as a 'lone star', on their backs. The adult males however, have white dots along with white streaks at the side of their bodies. These ones typically affect humans and can transmit an illness called 'Southern Tick Associate Rash Illness' also known as (STARI).
The American dog tick, also known as Dermacentor variabilis, is one of the better known hard ticks. These are more common on dogs and are not known to carry Lyme Disease. They do carry a disease called Rocky Mountain spotted fever that can affect both dogs and humans. Typically signs will show up after 2-14 days of being bitten.
Ixodes pacificus, also known as the Western black-legged tick, is known to cause Lyme disease along with Rocky Mountain spotted fever. When the tick is fully grown, it tends to prefer livestock such as cows as its host. They mostly live in the western part of North America.
The deer tick or black-legged tick, and its official name being Ixodes scapularis, is known to spread only Lyme disease. These live along the Eastern part of North America.
Mowing your lawn and keeping plants neatly trimmed in your yard will greatly help prevent ticks. You might also want to use pesticides, however make sure these chemicals are pet friendly.
The best Dog First Aid is to use products that kill ticks the moment they bite. Typically you can apply these products on your dog monthly and he will be free from ticks.
There are also tick collars for dogs that might be allergic to those monthly products. Now you know why ticks are bad for your dog.