Ticks are able to spread numerous serious diseases and are therefore dangerous to both people and pets. Here, our Ceres vets describe how these external parasites thrive and discuss which signs you should be aware of. Also, tips on how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They do not fly or jump and so rely on hosts (usually, it's wild animals that are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property) for transportation. Once they are on your property, pets frequently become hosts and the parasites are then brought into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Because ticks spread a number of serious diseases, they are dangerous to both people and pets. People can get serious conditions such as Lyme disease when the tick's saliva—which contains germs and bacteria—makes its way into the bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Ceres?
The western black-legged tick is one of the most common and most widely distributed of the 48 tick species in California. It's joined by the Pacific Coast tick. Western black-legged ticks are about 3 mm in length. Adult females have a red abdomen with black legs, head and scutum. Nymphs are colored in a simiilar manner, but are approximately half the size of adults. This species can be found in open grasslands, high brush and deciduous forests. They are present year-round. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active during warmer months in late spring to summer.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after a short walk through bush and grass, check your dog carefully for ticks. Be sure to check deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck and between the toes.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
You can use a number of different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on small pets and dogs. Your options include parasite prevention products, spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or even using a shampoo containing medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Speak with your vet to determine the right option for you and your pet.
To help keep ticks away from your yard, it's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will give ticks fewer areas to live and breed, reducing the risk of ticks being around. At the height of tick season, you'll also want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outside.