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Protecting Your Pet (And Your Family) From Ticks

Protecting Your Pet (And Your Family) From Ticks

Ticks are dangerous to both people and pets as they can spread many serious diseases. Here, our vets in Novato explain how these external parasites thrive, which symptoms to watch for, and how to keep your pets and family safe from ticks. 

What are ticks?

Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of both humans and animals. They do not jump or fly, but rely on hosts (wild animals are usually responsible for bringing ticks onto your property) for transportation. Once on your property, they often latch onto pets and get 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 Novato?

Ticks in California are most active during June and July. During these months, California residents are most at risk for Lyme disease. 

The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Novato and has the dubious distinction as being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It's joined by the American dog tick, Rocky Mountain Wood tick and brown dog tick.

The black-legged 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 (April to September).

How can I check my pet for ticks?

Even after a short stroll through grass and bush, carefully check your dog for ticks. Make sure to check deep within your pet's fur, inside and behind the ears, between the legs, around the neck and between the toes. 

How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?

Parasite prevention is critical to keep harmful conditions spread by ticks at bay. You can use a number of different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on small pets and dogs. Your options include spot-on treatments, oral medications, tick collars, or even using a shampoo containing medicated ingredients to bathe your pet and kill ticks on contact. 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.

Do you think your pet may have ticks? Our vets have experience in diagnosing and treating many common conditions and illnesses. Book an appointment at Bel Marin Animal Hospital today.

New Patients Welcome

Bel Marin Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Novato companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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