Ticks are external parasites that are dangerous to both pets and people because they can carry many serious diseases. Here, our Scottsdale vets share how ticks thrive, how to keep them away from your family and pets and what signs to be wary of.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites. They feed on the blood of humans and animals. Ticks don't jump or fly like other external parasites, so they rely on their hosts to transport them.
Usually, when ticks are on your property, their hosts are wild animals which have passed through your area, Once ticks are on your property, pets will often become hosts in turn and potentially bring them into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks are dangerous because they spread many different kinds of diseases which can affect people and their pets. In particular, ticks are responsible for spreading Lyme disease when they bite people or animals and their bacteria-carrying saliva mingles with their host's bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Scottsdale?
The brown dog tick (also known as the kennel tick or pantropical dog tick is one of the most common species found in Scottsdale and has the distinction as being responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It is joined by the rocky mountain wood tick and the Ornithodorus genus of soft-bodied ticks.
The brown dog tick is most often found in areas of heavy vegetation or long grass. Adults are reddish-brown with elongated bodies. Adult brown dog ticks are usually around 1/10" long and females and males are difficult to distinguish from one another. However, female ticks grow to the size of a raisin after feeding while males do not. Brown dog ticks are noticeably longer than they are wide and have sharp toothed mouths you can often see from above.
While tick-exposure can occur year-round, ticks are most often active during warmer seasons.
How do I check my pet for ticks?
After walking through bush or tall grass even if it was just for a short time, you should check your dog for ticks. Be sure to check behind and beside their ears, between their legs, deep into their fur, and between their toes.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
There are many methods for getting rid of ticks or preventing them altogether on small pets and dogs. There are spot treatments, oral medication, anti-tic shampoos, and oral medications. Ask your vet for their recommendation for preventative tick products for your pet.
It's a good idea to keep your lawn well-trimmed to help keep ticks out of your yard. This will give them fewer area to live, reducing the risk of them being around your property. At the height of tick season, ti would be wise to limit the amount of time your pet spend outside.