Ticks are external parasites that spread a number of different and serious diseases. They can be dangerous to pets and to people. In this post, our Gilbert vets explain how these external parasites thrive, including which signs to beware of, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on animals and human blood. They don't jump or fly, and instead rely on their hosts for transportation. Most often, if ticks have appeared on your property, it is because wild animals have brought them. Once they are on your property, pets frequently become hosts and the parasites are then brought into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Since ticks spread a number of serious diseases, they can be dangerous to pets and people. Conditions like Lyme diseases are transmitted when an infected tick's saliva makes its way into the bloodstream of its host.
What do ticks look like in Gilbert?
The brown dog tick (also known as the kennel tick or pantropical dog tick is one of the most common species found in Gilbert and has the distinction as being responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It is joined by the rocky mountain wood tick and the Ornithodorus genus of soft-bodied ticks.
The brown dog tick is most often found in areas of heavy vegetation or long grass. Adults are reddish-brown with elongated bodies. Adult brown dog ticks are usually around 1/10" long and females and males are difficult to distinguish from one another. However, female ticks grow to the size of a raisin after feeding while males do not. Brown dog ticks are noticeably longer than they are wide and have sharp toothed mouths you can often see from above.
While tick-exposure can occur year-round, ticks are most often active during warmer seasons.
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 wide variety of different methods for getting rid of or preventing ticks in your pets. These include spot treatments, tick collars, oral medications and even medicinal shampoos. 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.