Protecting Your Pet (And Your Family) From Ticks

Ticks can spread a number of different and dangerous diseases to both pets and people. Here, our Riverbank vets explain how these parasite thrive, what signs you should look for, how to avoid them, and how to protect your family from ticks.

Ticks can spread a number of serious diseases and are therefore dangerous to people and pets. In this post, our Riverbank vets explain how these external parasites thrive, including which signs to beware of, and how to keep ticks away from your pets and your family.  

What are ticks?

Ticks are external parasites that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They do not fly or jump and so rely on hosts (usually, it's wild animals that are responsible for bringing ticks onto your property) for transportation. Once they are on your property, pets frequently become hosts and the parasites are then brought into your home.

Are ticks dangerous?

Since ticks spread a variety of diseases, they can be dangerous to both people and pets. . People can catch serious diseases like Lyme disease from the saliva of a tick as it makes its way into you or your pet's bloodstream.

What do ticks look like in Riverbank?

Ixodes pacificus (also known as the Western black-legged tick) is one of the most common species of ticks in Calfornia and bear the unfortunate distinction of being the species most responsible for the spread of Lyme disease in our state. It's joined by the lone star tick, American dog tick, groundhog tick and brown dog tick.

The Western black-legged tick is found in wooded, brushy areas and both males and females have flat, oval bodies. While females' bodies are about 1/8" in size and orangish-brown (with a reddish-brown colored abdomen that becomes darker after feeding on a host), males 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 many different methods for getting rid of and preventing ticks on your small pet or dog. They range from oral medications and spot treatments to tick collars and medicinal shampoo which kills ticks on contact. Ask your vet about which of these options is right for 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 suspect your pet has ticks? Our vets are experienced in diagnosing and treating many common illnesses and conditions. Book an appointment at River Oak Veterinary Hospital today.