Ticks are very dangerous to both people and pets because they are responsible for spreading many dangerous diseases. Here, our Fairfield, NJ vets share with you the signs of ticks you need to beware of, as well as how you can protect your pets and family from these external parasites.
What are ticks?
Ticks are a type of external parasite that feasts on the blood of humans and animals. They can't fly or jump, so they need to use a host (generally, wild animals are the ones responsible for bringing ticks into your yard) for transportation. When the ticks are on your property, your pets are usually the ones to bring them into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks are dangerous to both pets and humans because they transmit a handful of serious diseases. People can get dangerous illnesses such as Lyme disease when the tick's saliva—which contains bacteria and germs—enters the bloodstream.
What do Fairfield, NJ ticks look like?
The black-legged tick (also called the deer tick) is one of the most commonly found species of tick in Fairfield, NJ and it's the species that is most responsible for spreading Lyme disease in our state. It's joined by the lone star tick, American dog tick, groundhog tick, and brown dog tick.
The black-legged tick can be spotted in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. 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. Even though you can be exposed to ticks all year, they are most active during warmer months (April to September).
How can I tell if my pet has ticks?
You should always be checking your dog for ticks even if you were only out for a short walk through bush and grass. Remember to look deep within your companion's fur, behind and inside their ears, between their legs, around their neck, and between their toes.
How can I prevent or get rid of ticks?
There are many methods you can use to get rid of and prevent ticks on small pets and dogs. Your options include spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or shampoos that contain medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Talk to your vet who will be able to tell you the best options for you and your pet.
To help keep ticks out of your yard, keep your lawn well-trimmed. This gives ticks less space to live and breed, reducing the chances of ticks being around. When tick season is at its peak, you might want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outside.