Ticks can transmit a variety of serious diseases and are thus dangerous to humans and pets. Our Laguna Beach vets explain how these external parasites thrive in this post, including warning signs to look for and how to keep ticks away from your pets and family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They cannot fly or jump, so they must rely on hosts for transportation (usually, wild animals are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property). Pets frequently become hosts for parasites once they are on your property, and the parasites are then brought into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks are dangerous to both humans and pets because they spread a variety of serious diseases. When a tick's saliva, which contains germs and bacteria, enters the bloodstream, it can cause serious conditions such as Lyme disease.
What do ticks look like in Laguna Beach?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species in Laguna Beach and is responsible for the majority of Lyme disease cases in our state. The lone star tick, American dog tick, groundhog tick, and brown dog tick are also present.
The male and female black-legged ticks have flat, oval bodies and are found in wooded, bushy areas. Male deer ticks are about 1/16" in size and reddish-brown overall, whereas female deer ticks are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown colored abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host). They are longer than they are wide, with sharply pointed, toothed mouthparts visible from above. Though ticks can be found all year, they are most active during the warmer months (April to September).
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Check your dog for ticks after even a short walk through the bush and grass. Examine your pet's fur deeply, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck, and between the toes.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
Ticks on small pets and dogs can be removed and prevented using a variety of methods. Spot treatments, oral medications, tick collars, and even using a shampoo containing medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact are all options. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best option for you and your pet.
It's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed to keep ticks away from your yard. Ticks will have fewer places to live and breed as a result, lowering the risk of ticks being present. During tick season, you should also limit the amount of time your pet spends outside.