Ticks are an external parasite capable of spreading a wide range of diseases and are therefore dangerous to both pets and people. Here, our Stockton vets explain the ways these parasites thrive, including signs of them you should beware of and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites which feed on the blood of humans and animals, including our pets. They rely on they hosts for transportation since they aren't able to fly or jump like other external parasites. Once ticks have made their way onto your property or in your area, you pets will often become hosts and bring them 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 Stockton?
Western blacklegged ticks (Ixodes pacificus) are one of the most common tick species found in Stockton and has the unfortunate distinction of being responsible for many of the cases of Lyme disease in California. It's joined by the lone star tick, American dog tick, groundhog tick and brown dog tick.
The western blacklegged tick is found in wooded, brushy 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 mouthparts you can see clearly from above. Though tick exposure may occur year-round, they are most active during warmer months.
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 variety of different methods for getting rid of ticks and preventing them from using your pets as hosts. These range from spot treatments to tick collars, medicinal shampoos, or oral medications, many of which will kill a tick on contact with your companion animal. Speak with your vet to determine the right option for you and your pet.
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.