Fleas are not the only parasite to be on watch for this time of year. Ticks can also be looking to prey on your pet. Ticks although closely related to insects, are a type of mite that feed on the blood of animals and people by attaching their mouth parts. There are many different species of ticks, which vary in size and colour, but the average adult female is about 3-5mm before feeding, and can be up to the size of a grape after a feeding. Ticks can be found in a variety of places, but prefer densely vegetated areas. However, this is not to say that your own backyard or local park can’t be a hot spot for ticks. Tick population tend to surge in the spring and fall making April/May and September/October the months of highest concern.
Ticks are a concern for people and pets because they can be carriers for several diseases. In this area, the main concerns are Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. In order to pass along a disease, the tick must be attached (feeding) for at least 24 hours. Therefore, if you are out in wooded or highly populated tick areas it is important to check yourself and your pet at the end of the day for any ticks that may have attached. Lyme disease is an incurable disease that can affect you or your pet, so care should be taken to prevent ticks from attaching. You may be thinking “how am I going to spot a small tick under your dogs fur?” You are right, simply checking your pet over for ticks can help minimize the risk of disease, however it is not a fool proof method. There are several products that, when applied correctly, can prevent ticks from attaching. Combining tick prevention products and checking your pet will be the best method for preventing any unwanted diseases. Talk to you veterinarian for more information on tick prevention products.