It is common to find dried dead ticks on dogs. If you see a dead tick on your dog, make sure you remove it properly. Sometimes its mouthpiece can remain attached to the skin. Dead ticks on dogs are common if your dog wears an antiparasitic collar or has a spot-on pipette applied.
Who doesn’t like to walk with their dog in the park or forest? But these walks come with a downside. Besides coming home with rocks and sticks, dogs can also bring back ticks.
Ticks feed on blood and drop off the host to move to the next evolutionary stage. But they can also die stuck in your dog’s skin. Why is this happening?
Knowing what to do when you find a dead dried tick or any other tick on your dog and how to prevent ticks from climbing on your pet is key to proper care.
In this article, you will find out what a dead dried tick looks like, why ticks die still attached to your dog’s skin, how to remove them, and what to do after.
Ticks are mites that can parasitize dogs and other species. They suck blood until they become full, also known as engorged. They fall off after feeding to molt or find a mate for reproducing. Sometimes they can die stuck in your pet’s skin or remain loose in its fur.
A tick is an external parasite that feeds on its host, including dogs. They have four stages (egg, larva, nymph, and adult). Only the last three feed on blood.
After they have fed and become engorged, ticks drop off their host and search for the right place to molt and evolve into the next stage (for larvae and nymphs) or mate, lay eggs and die (for adult females).
Some species of ticks release a cement-like substance when they attach to the host’s skin that helps them stay firmly in place. Others have hook-like barbs on their feeding tube.
From the nymph stage, ticks differentiate sexually and become males or females. Male ticks do not feed, only the females. Their role is to mate with the females, after which they die.
Male ticks can climb on the host along with the females, reproduce, and die into the pet’s fur, while the female ticks can die while “cemented” or “hooked” into the dog’s skin.
Why You Should Remove Ticks from Dogs ASAP
Even if the dead tick you found on your dog died as a result of tick medication or a tick-repellant collar, it is a good idea to remove the tick as soon as possible to prevent additional skin irritation from occurring and to further eradicate the risk of your dog contracting a tick-borne disease.
A dog’s risk of getting a disease from a tick increases the longer the tick feeds and in scenarios in which the tick vomits blood back into the dog (such as when it is suffocated or maimed). Unfortunately, a dead tick can actually cause more pain or irritation to the dog’s skin because it is not injecting the dog with its painkilling saliva. On top of the risk for disease, this is another reason to remove the tick as soon as possible.
Once the tick has been removed, it is important to regularly check the bitten spot, keeping an eye out for worsening skin irritation. While tick bites may initially result in bumps, these should not last long-term.
If your dog’s skin does not appear to be healing properly, it would be a good idea to take them to a vet to make sure that they do not have an infection or other adverse reaction.
What does a Dead Tick look like?
Here’s how you can tell if the tick is actually dead and what a dead tick looks like.
1. Check to see if the tick’s legs are moving
Once you’ve parted your dog’s fur and identified the tick, take a closer look at it for a good minute or two. Check to see if the legs are moving. If the tick’s legs are moving, then the tick is in fact alive and feeding on your pooch.
However, it’s important to note that there are ticks that may still be alive even if their legs aren’t moving.
So here’s another way to identify whether the tick is dead or alive:
2. Check to see how the tick’s legs are placed
When a tick is alive, its legs are usually stuck out to its sides. When the tick is dead, its body and legs tend to dry up, shrink, and shrivel. As a result, the tick’s legs will naturally curl up and appear to look very stiff.
Keep in mind that a dark bump on your dog’s skin may not always be a tick. If the dark bump on your dog’s skin, belly, and head isn’t moving, it may well be a skin tag, mole so always double-check before assuming that your dog has ticks.
Do Dried Dead Ticks Fall Off by Themselves?
Usually, unattached dried dead ticks fall off by themselves.
Dead dried flat ticks are lighter than medium-fed or engorged ticks, which means they will fall off easily.
Medium-fed and engorged ticks, being heavier, are more likely to remain in the dog’s fur. But if the dog scratches itself or shakes its fur, ticks will fall off.
Do not smash an engorged tick even if it’s dead. Properly dispose of it.
Will a dead tick fall off a dog?
What if tick is embedded and dead?