Ticks can transmit a variety of serious diseases and are thus dangerous to humans and pets. Our Beacon vets explain how these external parasites thrive in this post, including warning signs to look for and how to keep ticks away from your pets and family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They don't fly or jump, so they rely on hosts (usually wild animals) for transportation. Once they make it onto your property, pets frequently become hosts, which then brings them into the home too. These tiny creatures can cause some serious health issues if left unchecked
Are ticks dangerous?
But simply, yes, ticks are dangerous. The germs and bacteria in their saliva can cause serious conditions, such as Lyme disease, when it makes its way into your or your pet's bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Beacon?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common species found in Beacon and has an unfortunate distinction for being responsible for many cases of Lyme disease here. It's joined by other such pests like lone star ticks, American dog ticks, and the groundhog tick. Another variant called the Brown Dog Ticks can also be dangerous.
The black-legged tick is found in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While female deer ticks' body size can be about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on their host), male deer ticks are roughly 1/16th of an inch long with sharply pointed teeth you can see clearly from above.
Tick exposure can happen year-round, but ticks are most active from April to September when it's warmer.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Make sure to check your dog for ticks after a short walk through bush and grass. Be careful not to just check around their ears, but also deep within the fur on each side of its face as well as inside their nose where there are often few hairs that can act like little hooks into an animal's skin causing disease-carrying ticks to gran hold of.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
Ticks on small pets and dogs can be removed and prevented using a variety of methods. Spot treatments, oral medications, tick collars, and even using a shampoo containing medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact are all options. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best option for you and your pet.
It's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed to keep ticks away. Ticks will have fewer places to live and breed as a result, lowering the risk of them being present. During tick season, you should also limit the amount of time your pet spends outside in very bushy or grassy areas.