American Dog Tick

Actual Size: Approximately 3.5 – 5mm

Characteristics: Oval shape, with brown to reddish-brown and/or white-gray markings.

Legs: 8

Antennae: No

Habitat: Most commonly found in areas with high grass or shrubs. Alongside trails.


  • Also known as Wood Ticks.
  • Elevated risk of bites during spring and summer.
  • Known to transmit diseases including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia.

American Dog Ticks in Mid-South TN

As its name suggests, the American dog tick is distributed throughout much of North America and are most commonly found on dogs. They will also gladly attach themselves to other animals like mice, deer, cattle, horses, and even humans. Pets and humans can contract diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Tularemia from a single tick bite.

American Dog Tick Habitat

Found predominantly in areas with little tree cover, American dog ticks like to hang around along walkways and trails looking for hosts. Residential areas with overgrown shrubs, weeds, grass, and clutter can attract rodents that bring immature ticks. Adult ticks climb onto  grass blades or other low vegetation, clinging it with their legs. When a potential host approaches, they get ready, and as the host brushes against the vegetation, the tick will grab onto the passing animal or human.

American Dog Tick Behaviors, Threats, or Dangers

Spring and summer are when American dog tick risk is the highest. Adult females are most likely to bite humans. To avoid getting bit, we recommend wearing long sleeve shirts and pants when you go into nature. Also, consider using an EPA-registered insect repellent with DEET or picaridin. Tucking your pants into socks can provide some extra protection. Also, wearing light colors can make it easier to spot ticks.

If you are dealing with a tick problem, contact your local tick control experts for assistance.