Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases and, therefore, are dangerous both to people and their pets. In this post, our South Lebanon veterinary team explains how these external parasites thrive, including what signs to beware of and how to prevent them from infecting your family and pets.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of humans and animals alike. They don't jump or fly, so they generally rely on their hosts—usually wild animals—for transportation from place to place. Once ticks are in your area, pets will often become hosts and then bring the parasites into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Since ticks spread a wide variety of diseases, they can be dangerous to both pets and people. People may get serious conditions like Lyme disease when the saliva of a tick—and its germs and bacteria—makes its way into your pet's bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in South Lebanon?
The deer tick—also called the black-legged tick—is one of the most common tick species found in South Lebanon. It also bears the dubious distinction of being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in Ohio. It's joined by the American dog tick and the Lone star tick.
The black-legged tick is found in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While female deer ticks' bodies are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown colored abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host), male deer ticks are roughly 1/16" and reddish-brown overall. They are longer than they are wide, and have sharply pointed, toothed mouthparts you can see clearly from above. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active during warmer months (April to September).
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 variety of methods to get rid of and prevent ticks in small poets like dogs. Your options range from oral medications and tick collars to spot-on treatments and medicinal shampoos that kill ticks on contact with your pet. Ask your vet what the right preventive options for your pet are.
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.