Protecting Your Pet (And Your Family) From Ticks

Ticks can transmit a variety of serious diseases, making them dangerous to both humans and pets. Our Union City veterinarians explain how these external parasites thrive in this post, as well as the warning signs to look for and how to keep ticks away from your pets and family.

What are ticks?

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, wild animals 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.

Are ticks dangerous?

Ticks are dangerous to both people and pets because they spread a variety of serious diseases. When the tick's saliva, which contains germs and bacteria, enters the bloodstream, it can cause serious illnesses like Lyme disease.

What do ticks look like in Union City?

The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species in Union City and is the species responsible for the majority of Lyme disease cases in our state. The lone star tick, American dog tick, winter tick, and brown dog tick are also ones you should watch out for.

Males and females of the black-legged tick have flat, oval bodies and live in wooded, bushy areas. Male deer ticks are roughly 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 have sharply pointed, toothed mouthparts that can be seen clearly from above and are longer than they are wide. Ticks are most active during the summer months, though they can be found all year (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. Deep within your pet's fur, behind and inside the ears, between the legs, around the neck, and between the toes are all places to look.

How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?

Ticks on small pets and dogs can be eliminated and prevented using a variety of techniques. Spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, and even bathing your pet with shampoo containing medicated ingredients to kill ticks on contact are all options. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best course of action for you and your pet.

It's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed to keep ticks out of your yard. Ticks will have fewer places to live and breed as a result, reducing the risk of ticks being present. You'll also want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outside during tick season.

Do you suspect your pet has ticks? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at Reelfoot Animal Hospital today.