Ticks are capable of spreading many serious diseases and are therefore dangerous to people and pets. Our Albany vets explain how these external parasites thrive, signs to beware of, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.
What are ticks?
These external parasites consume the blood of animals and humans. Because they do not fly, they rely on hosts for transportation. Typically, wild animals are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property. Once they reach your property, pets can become hosts and bring the parasites into your home.
Are ticks dangerous?
Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases, so they are dangerous to both people and pets. Humans can contract serious conditions — including Lyme disease — when the tick's saliva that contains bacteria and germs enters the bloodstream.
What do ticks look like in Albany?
The American dog tick is found mostly in areas with little to no tree cover such as grassy fields and scrubland, in addition to trails and walkways. They can survive for up to to years at any given stage, even if no host is found. These ticks are oval and flat in shape, and are brown with whitish to grey markings.
The black-legged tick (also referred to as the deer tick) can be found in brushy, wooded areas. Both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While female deer ticks' bodies measure 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. Longer than they are wide, these ticks have sharply pointed, toothed mouthparts that can be seen clearly from above. Though tick exposure can occur year-round, they are most active during the warmer months (from April through September).
How do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after taking a short walk through grass and bush, check your dog carefully for ticks. Look deep within your pet's fur, inside and behind the ears, between the legs and toes, and around the neck.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
Multiple methods can be used for eliminating and preventing ticks on dogs and small pets. Options include oral medications, tick collars, spot-on treatments, or even shampoo with medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. Ask your vet to find out what the best option is for you and your pet.
To help prevent ticks from entering your yard, keep your lawn well-trimmed. This will allow ticks fewer areas to live and breed, and reduce the risk of them lurking. During the height of tick season, you'll also want to limit the amount of time your pet spends outdoors.