Ticks lay their eggs in various places, but not on the host. Usually, they are laid and hatched in the environment. Female ticks can lay up to 22,000 eggs in a single egg-laying event.
After ticks hatch, they seek a host, feed for several days, then drop off and become nymphal ticks, which repeat the same process to become adult ticks. Adults also seek a host, feed and drop off, laying their eggs in the environment to complete their life cycle.
Ticks that are already out and about are the visible adult, sesame-sized ones, noted Kristen Nordlund of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Once ticks find a host, they securely attach themselves by imbedding their mouth parts as holdfasts into the pet's skin, and begin feeding off of its blood. If a tick is carelessly pulled off, the head often remains in the skin. As the tick continues to feed, ticks become engorged with the pet's blood and their size can increase by several times.
Ticks pose a health threat to both pets and people. Ticks transmit disease-causing agents, several of which have risen to epidemic proportions. Some of the most common tick-borne diseases are Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis.
Since 1992, the cases of Lyme disease have doubled, according to the CDC, and more than 21,000 cases are reported every year.