Ticks are potentially dangerous parasites that can spread a number of serious diseases to people and pets. Today, our Benicia vets explain how these external parasites survive, including the signs to watch for, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and family.
Ticks, Pets & People
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.
Why You Should Be Concerned About Ticks
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.
Ticks in Benicia?
The Western black-legged tick (also called the deer tick) is one of the most common ticks found in Benicia and is the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease and anaplasmosis in this state. Other ticks in California include the Pacific Coast Tick, known to transmit spotted fever and tularemia, the American dog tick that can transmit Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia, and the Brown dog tick which is a known carrier of the parasites that cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
How To Check Your 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.
Preventing & Removing Ticks
You can use a number of different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on small pets and dogs. Your options include 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.