How Long Does A Tick Live?
Ticks are one of the most common ectoparasites that can affect the health of our dogs, especially if our furry friends enjoy the outdoors and nature. Ticks are hematophagous, which means that feed attached to a host (living being) on blood. It is during this exchange in which ticks can transmit various diseases.
Therefore it is very important to know how long a tick lives both with and without a host. This is why, in this AnimalWised article, we will be discussing how long a tick lives. We will also be including how to prevent their appearance and how you can properly disinfect your home.
How do ticks live?
There are different species of ticks, all with the ability to bite both dogs and humans. Ticks are incredibly dangerous as they are able to transfer dangerous diseases such as babesiosis, Lyme disease or ehrlichiosis. In addition, major tick infestations can result in anemia and lack of iron, which can be extremely detrimental to a dog’s health.
When a tick attaches to an animal, it inserts its head into the animal’s skin and begins to feed, remaining there. Because of the way a tick attaches to the skin, removing them can prove to be slightly complicated. When removing a tick, one needs to make sure they remove the entire tick and not just its body, leaving its head (which can result in the appearance of an infection).
When a tick acts as a vector of any disease, it needs to be in contact with a dog for a certain number of hours before the animal can become infected. Therefore, it is important, in addition to prevention through deworming, to check your dog for ticks after outdoor walks. Locating ticks and their immediate extraction will prevent the transmission of diseases such as those previously mentioned. Knowing how long a tick lives and its life cycle will also help in efficiently deworming your dog.
A tick’s life cycle
There are many different tick species. For this example, we will be discussing the life cycle of aIxodes ricinus tick. Females that are attached to a dog can feed from a few days to several weeks. They then return to the environment where they lay eggs and die.
These baby ticks, once hatched, will find a small animal (such as a rodent) to feed on for 2-3 days. After this blood intake, they will return to the environment to become nymphs, already with 8 legs, which feed for 4-6 days on animals like rabbits. They finally return to the environment where they transform into adult ticks. Females can feed from 5 to 14 days on dogs, cats or cattle, before restarting and repeating the cycle.
Therefore, it takes a tick about two weeks before it is completely filled with blood. A full tick can grow up to four times its original size.
How do ticks reproduce?
In general, adult ticks mate on the same host, once they have fed enough. Once the mating has elapsed, the female deposits the eggs, which hatch 20-60 days after they have been laid and the cycle begins again.
Where do ticks lay eggs?
In general, ticks prefer to lay their eggs in areas with vegetation. Ticks do sometimes opt for cracks formed in the ground, especially if they are near the resting place of an animal. In this way, if at home we have a space mirroring such conditions, such as a garden: we must carry out proper measures of prevention. If we do not carry out such measures, once the eggs hatch, our home and animals can suffer from an infestation. It should also be noted that both larvae and adult ticks also find humans an ideal host to feed on, therefore, not only pets can be harmed by such parasites.
How many eggs does a tick lay?
A tick can lay from three thousand to seven thousand eggs, which is a sufficiently alarming number.
How long does it take for ticks to live without a host?
The time in which a tick can live without a host depends on the stage of its life cycle. Larvae can live in the environment without receiving any type of food for about 8 months. Nymphs and adult ticks have the ability to survive without a host for up to a year and a half. In total, the life cycle of a tick, taking into account how long a tick lives without eating, can take up to 4 years.
Methods of tick control
As we have seen, a large part of the life cycle of ticks takes place in the environment in which they are able to withstand several months. Controlling the environment is somewhat impossible, however, products such a repellents and/or following your dog’s deworming schedule, can prevent the transmission of tick-borne diseases.
To establish the most appropriate deworming program, we recommend consulting your veterinarian. In addition, make sure that you administer the product correctly. For example, if you opt for pipettes or sprays you cannot let your dog get wet 48 hours before or after its use, as it can lose its effectiveness. However, more and more experts recommend opting for double monthly deworming, which consists of protecting the animal from both external and internal parasites. Therefore, we recommend consulting your veterinarian about this anti-parasitic method and about how to deworm your pet.
It is incredibly important that you constantly check your dog for ticks. If you do notice any ticks present on your animal, eliminate and remove them immediately. Follow these tips on preventing a dog from ticks:
- Avoid areas or environment where there might be a concentration of ticks. These areas can include: cracks, sheds and wooded areas.
- Maintain your dog’s deworming schedule and apply it correctly. This is especially important during hotter months.
- Always check your dog for ticks after walks.
- To extract ticks, there are special tools on the market that can be purchased. The products are made to produce a traction that pulls out the head. You should never tear the ticks off with your hands.
- Disinfect and properly fumigate your home.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How Long Does A Tick Live?, we recommend you visit our De-worming category.