The number of tickborne diseases is at an all-time high, with a 22 percent increase from 2016. Virginia is ranked fifth in the U.S. for the number of ticks affecting dogs and cats.

It’s important to educate yourself and understand different types of ticks. Let’s take a look at the American dog tick.

What Does the American Dog Tick Look Like?

American dog ticks are dark reddish-brown and have whitish-gray markings. They around a quarter inch in size. Their shape is oval and flat, and they have a hard outer shell.

Where Does It Live?

American dog ticks live in most states east of the Rocky Mountains. They typically reside in wooded areas and fields. You can also find them around buildings and homes in rural or secluded areas.

This tick is also known as a wood tick because they thrive in wooded or grassy areas. They are also popular where livestock and domestic animals are found.

The American dog tick chooses a habitat to find potential hosts. They prefer domestic dogs and can potentially be brought in a home and transferred to humans.

Ticks can also come out in the winter. They can burrow in the ground and still live when temperatures fall.

Are They Dangerous?

American dog tick bites can cause serious reactions. These tick also carry and can transmit diseases like Tularemia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. People can also experience tick bite paralysis.

If you develop any spotty rashes on your feet, hands, arms, or legs and also have flu-like symptoms and arthritis-type pain, you should see a doctor immediately. Tell your doctor if you have been bitten by a tick or if you have been out in the woods recently.

Tips to Prevent Bites

Ticks are very difficult to control. If you have ticks on your property, you may want an experienced professional to treat and remove these ticks.

The best way to avoid tick bites is to avoid tick-infested areas, but that’s not always easy. Follow these steps when walking or working in areas inhabited by ticks:

  • Secure the bottom of your pants inside socks 
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants
  • Choose light colors so you can spot ticks easier
  • Wear a hat
  • Use tick repellent on your clothes
  • Tuck long hair under a hat
  • Wash your clothes in warm water immediately
  • Protect your pets with tick treatment products
  • Inspect your dog or your skin immediately after being outside


If you find a tick on your skin, do not grab it by the abdomen and pull it. This can get its fluids into your skin and still cause an infection. Use find-tipped tweezers and grab the tick by the head and slowly pull backward.

You should not use hot objects on the tick’s abdomen or use petroleum jelly on the tick. This can cause the tick to release quickly and still get those fluids in your body.

Be sure to work slowly so the tick can withdraw its mouth. After removing the tick, disinfect the area with antibiotic cream or alcohol.

Final Thoughts on Removal

You should always use caution when being outdoors. Be sure to check your clothing and your dog for any signs of an American dog tick. 

Ticks are hard to control, so if you have issues with ticks, you should contact us today for tick repellent services along with guidance on how you can avoid other tick-related issues.

If you live in Southern Maryland, or Northern Virginia and need help please call us now or visit our website here.