In this post, our Torrance vets explain how ticks 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. Pets commonly become hosts for parasites once they are on your property, and the parasites are then carried into your house.
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 Torrance?
The black-legged tick (also known as the deer tick) is one of the most common tick species found in Torrance and has the dubious distinction of being the species responsible for most cases of Lyme disease in our state. It is joined by the lone star tick, American dog tick, groundhog tick, and brown dog tick.
The male and female black-legged ticks have flat, oval bodies and are prevalent in forested, bushy environments.
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 mouth-parts 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?
Check your dog for ticks after even a brief stroll through the bush and grass. Examine your pet's fur deeply, 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 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.
It is a good idea to maintain your lawn well-trimmed to prevent ticks away from your yard. Ticks will have fewer places to dwell and breed as a result, lowering the chance of ticks being present. During tick season, you should also restrict the amount of time your pet spends outside.