It's Tick Season in San Diego!

Is your dog at risk for ticks? If he/she has outdoor access—especially to grassy or wooded areas—the answer is yes!

Ticks are blood-feeding external parasites that can attach to both animals and humans and spread illnesses like Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Learn more about these pesky parasites and how to prevent them here.

  • Ticks cannot jump like fleas can; instead, many ticks seek hosts through a behavior called “questing.” Questing ticks perch on leaves or blades of grass with their front legs extended, waiting to climb onto a host that brushes past. They can easily grab a hold of your pet’s fur as he/she travels through particularly grassy, bushy or wooded areas. The tick then burrows down through the hair where it attaches to the skin. The tick injects its head and jaw into the skin and usually stays attached for four to five days before falling off into the environment.

  • Female ticks become engorged with blood and their bodies swell up to more than twice their original size. While feeding, ticks can transmit numerous bacterial diseases to your pet and your family.

  • Be sure to check your pet (and yourself!) for ticks after returning from a hike.  You can do this by feeling for small bumps or ridges on your pet’s coat. Do not forget to examine your pet’s skin folds, ears, feet and armpits as well.

  • If you see a tick on your pet, remove it as soon as possible to prevent disease. When removing a tick from your pet, be sure to use tweezers and grab all the way down toward the head. Pull straight up and ensure that the head and mouth parts are still attached to the body of the tick. If you are unable to remove the tick, please see your veterinarian for assistance. At The Drake Center, we use a product called a Tick Twister to safely and easily remove ticks without leaving the parasite’s mouth parts lodged in the skin.

  • There are several products available to prevent ticks from attaching to your pet. The Preventic collar, worn around the dog’s neck, aids in detaching existing ticks and prevents ticks for up to three months. Topical products such as Activyl Tick PlusVectra 3DFrontlineAdvantix and Revolution are also labeled for tick control.

Want more? Check out dogsandticks.com and capcvet.org.

Blog Category: