Ticks are an external parasite that can spread a variety of serious disease and, therefore, can be dangerous both to people and their pets. Here, our South Plainfield veterinary team describe where and how these parasites thrive, what to keep an eye out for, and how to keep ticks away from your family and pets.
What are ticks?
Ticks are external parasites that get their sustenance from the blood of humans and animals. They don't jump or fly and so, they rely on hosts, generally wild animals, for transportation. Once ticks have made their way on to your property, your pets will often become hosts and bring these parasites 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 South Plainfield?
The deer tick (also known as the black legged tick) is the most common tick species found in South Plainfield, and it has the unfortunate distinction of also being responsible for the most cases of Lyme disease in New Jersey. It's joined by the American dog tick, woodchuck tick and the lone star 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 do I check my pet for ticks?
Even after just a short walk through long grass or brush, make sure to check your pet carefully for ticks. Look deep inside their fur, inside and behind their ears, around their neck and between their legs and toes.
How do I get rid of or prevent ticks?
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.