Ticks are capable of spreading a number of serious diseases and, therefore, are dangerous to both pets and their owners. Here, our Douglasville vet team explains how these external parasites thrive, including what signs you should beware of and how to keep ticks away from your pets and family members.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of both people and animals. Since ticks aren't able to jump or fly, they rely on their hosts (usually wild animals) for transportation. Once they are on your property, our pets frequently become hosts and the parasites may then be 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 Douglasville?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Douglasville and has the dubious distinction of being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It's joined by the lone star tick and the American dog tick.
The black-legged tick is found in wooded, bushy 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 mouth parts 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 number of different methods for eliminating and preventing ticks on your pets. These options range from spot-on treatments, tick collars, oral medications, or shampoos containing medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Ask your vet to suggest appropriate options for your companion.
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.