Common Types of Ticks That Could Be on Your Dog

Posted by Mosquito Squad

May 16, 2024

Author: Emma Grace Crumbley, Entomologist 

Nothing ticks off our furry friends quite like… well, ticks! Below are a few common ticks that could be on your dog.

Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

Brown dog ticks are some of the most problematic ticks that animal owners face. These ticks are found worldwide and thrive in both outdoor and indoor environments. As their name suggests, brown dog ticks feed primarily on dogs, and infestations spread in crowded canine areas such as groomers, kennels, training centers, dog parks, and veterinary clinics. Brown Dog Ticks can spread pathogens for both human and canine diseases. 


  • Adult ticks are 1.15mm to 1.30mm long.
  • Every life stage is solid brown. 
  • The body is elongated and narrow, except when the tick becomes swollen after feeding.
  • Fully fed ticks reach the size of a raisin.

American Dog Tick (Dermacentor variabilis)

The American Dog Tick, or the Wood Tick, is found throughout the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. This tick is usually found in adult form in dogs, as nymphs tend to feed on smaller mammals like rodents. American Dog Ticks are the drivers of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, a bacterial disease transmitted from the bites of infected ticks. Both people and pets can contract this disease. 


  • Adult ticks are 3.6 mm to 5 mm long.
  • Nymphs are pale brown or white with six to eight legs.
  • Adults are primarily brown with white speckled patterns across the body (male) or forming a crown near the head (female).
  • Fully fed ticks can reach almost the length of a dime. 

Lone Star Tick (Amblyomma Americanum)

Possibly the most iconic tick in the United States, the Lone Star tick is commonly found on dogs throughout the eastern United States. Lone star ticks are hardy, and adults can survive eight months to two years without food. Though these ticks are known to spread a number of diseases, thankfully, the reports are very low for domestic animals. Ehrlichiosis is the biggest concern for dogs bitten by infected lone star ticks; however, cases spread from this tick remain low.


  • Adult ticks are 3mm to 4mm long.
  • Nymphs are pale brown or white with six to eight legs.
  • Adult females are brown with a single white dot on their back.
  • Adult males are entirely brown and resemble Brown Dog ticks.

Black-Legged (Deer) Tick (Ixodes scapularis)

This tick is a significant vector of Lyme disease for humans, with nearly 30,000 cases reported annually. Though dogs can also contract Lyme disease from deer ticks, the cases are lower, with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimated numbers in the thousands worldwide. 


  • Adult ticks are 1mm to 3mm long.
  • Nymphs are pale brown or white with six to eight legs.
  • Adults are dark brown to black.

What To Do If You Find A Tick On Your Dog?

Finding parasites on your pets is never fun. But don't panic! The Humane Society has a checklist of things to do:

  1. Check your dog for ticks, especially after coming in from outdoors. Ticks hide in crevices, so inspect behind the ears, leg joints, tail, and paws.
  2. Make sure that the bump you found is actually a tick, not a mole or bug bite. Verification may require up-close inspection.
  3. If you feel comfortable, remove the tick with tweezers and gloves. The Humane Society recommends pulling the tick out slowly to remove the mouth and head as best you can. 
  4. Disinfect the area and check in on your furry friend. Wash your hands and clean the bite area to prevent infection and discomfort. 

If you're concerned about tick-borne illnesses, you can save the removed tick and bring it, along with your dog, into a veterinarian's office for inspection. At the very least, monitor your dog's behavior the following days to check for signs of distress, discomfort, or illness.  

Ticked Off? Call Us!

Mosquito Squad is here for your tick control needs. Call us today for a free quote and to learn more about our tick control services.