Brown Dog Ticks

Fats, Identification & Control


Brown dog ticks are red-brown in color and are slightly longer than other tick species.

Life Cycle

The brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineuls) is unique in its ability to complete the entire life cycle indoors. The brown dog tick is the species that is most often found in homes. As a result, brown dog tick populations can be found throughout the world, including areas with frigidly cold outdoor temperatures.

The life cycle of the brown dog tick is similar to that of other tick species in the family Ixodidae: beginning as eggs, they develop through larval and nymphal stages prior to maturing into adults. Brown dog ticks are three-host ticks, meaning that they drop off the host after the meal before each of their developmental stages. However, if necessary, a brown dog tick can remain with one host throughout its life. Unlike tick species that require plants or soil for egg laying, female brown dog ticks are capable of laying thousands of eggs on any surface available to them.

As their name implies, brown dog ticks prefer to feed on the blood of canines. They are also known to bite and feed upon humans and other animal hosts.


Brown dog ticks tend to enter indoor habitats on the fur or hair of infested pets. Because they nest deep within the hair of animals, these ticks are not immediately apparent. Pet owners typically do not notice an infestation until populations grow considerably large and ticks are visible crawling across floors or walls.

Range / Distribution
Brown dog ticks can be found throughout the eastern U.S. as well as areas of the West Coast. However, they are more likely to inhabit warm environments and are prolific in the southern areas of the United States. They can be found in particularly high concentrations in Florida.


They are potential carriers of disease, most notably Rocky Mountain spotted fever. However, these ticks are not known to carry or transmit Lyme disease.

Infestation or Control

In the event of an infestation severe enough to require pesticides, homeowners are advised to contact their local pest control professionals. In order to reduce or control indoor brown dog tick infestations, the affected home must be thoroughly cleaned. Special shampoos and medications may also be used on the affected pet’s fur. Contact your veterinarian to discuss any such treatments. Severe infestations often require the services of pest management professionals.


In homes, all areas frequented by house pets should be kept clean.

Brown dog ticks are often mistaken for deer ticks, which are known carriers of Lyme disease. However, brown dog ticks instead transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever. If there are medical concerns regarding a tick bite, consult a medical professional.